Sources Of Food Contamination And Ways To Control And Prevent The Sources

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Question :

College: Mont Rose College of management and sciences
Unit Title and Number: Food Safety Management (Unit 31) F/601/1822

Discuss the following question:
1.1 Discussing the controls required to prevent physical and chemical contamination of food.
1.2 Comparing the characteristics of food poisoning and food borne infections.
1.3 Discussing the ways to control food borne illness.
2.1 Categorising the food spoilage agents that affect food.
2.2 Discussing methods of food and preservation.
2.3 Evaluating the effectiveness of food preservation methods.
3.1 Discussing key steps in a temperature control system.
3.2 Summarising methods for safe storage of food.
3.3 Evaluating the importance of personal hygiene.
3.4 Evaluating cleaning and disinfection as a process.
3.5 Assessing the problems of pest control.
3.6 Justifying the need for hygienic design.
3.7 Justifying the importance of training.
4.1 Producing a food hazard risk assessment.
4.2 Completing a food safety control system.
4.3 Devising a food safety guide.

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Answer :


The assignment highlights the importance of consuming healthy food and the ways one can preserve food from being contaminated and infected. The assignment categorises the agents responsible for the contamination of food. Attention is given to the need for personal hygiene in food and the cleaning and disinfection process undertaken by restaurants is analysed. The assignment takes the example of Saffron, a contemporary Indian and Nepalese cuisine restaurant situated in Liverpool. Saffron is a restaurant situated in Waterloo, Liverpool. The restaurant is one of the few places in the county to serve contemporary Asian dishes. The assignment assesses the food safety risk involved in the restaurant and produces an HACCP plan in order to control the hazards in the restaurant.

1.1 Discussing the controls required to prevent physical and chemical contamination of food

In order to prevent contamination of food, every person needs to ensure healthy practices. This involves removal of jewellery, fixing loose buttons, trimming hair and fingernails. All these are agents that can cause contamination in food. As stated by Kafetzopoulos et al. (2013, p.505), wearing excessive jewellery such as rings creates chances of becoming loose and mixing with the food. It becomes difficult for people wearing rings to wash their hands while touching the food. As a result, contamination of food can easily occur due to this. Hair and fingernails of a person contain the maximum number of germs. These are exposed part in a human body which can be effected instantly. A hair or a fingernail in a food item can cause infection to a person. 

Thus, it is important to trim the fingernails and long hairs on a regular basis. Apart from this, a cook needs to wear plastics of their heads in order to prevent hair fall in the food. It is the responsibility of the restaurant owners to check in all types of jewellery, cigarette packets and gum packets before allowing the cooks entry into the kitchen (Escanciano et al. 2015, p.50). The owners of the restaurant need to maintain a proper storeroom for storing the chemicals. These rooms need to be marked with proper symbols in order to avoid mixing up the clean food with the chemicals. In the case of growing crops and breeding the, restaurant owners need to use proper fertilisers in order to ensure that the food does not get destroyed due to the excess use of contaminated fertilisers.    

1.2 Comparing the characteristics of food poisoning and food borne infections

Food poisoning and food borne infections are two types of ways that can cause a hazardous impact on an individual. These two terms are completely different from one another, but the effectiveness of these two terms on an individual is severe. According to Kirezieva et al. (2015, p.85), food poisoning occurs when food is not cooked properly due to the existence of harmful pathogens in the food. The poisonous pathogens enter the human body and multiply by releasing toxins. The cause of food poisoning is the existence of bacteria, mould, chemical, poisonous fishes. A person suffering from food poisoning suffers from nausea, vomiting and stomach cramps. However, food poisoning lasts for about 12 hours or for a few days. Proper intake of medications and healthy food can help a person recover from food poisoning in quick time.

On the other hand, in the case of food borne infection, harmful pathogens are present in the food, which causes the undercooking of food. Tzamalis et al. (2016, p.179) stated that food borne diseases are caused due to the existence of bacteria, viruses and parasites. These agents enter the human body from the undercooked food and cause symptoms that are similar to that of food poisoning. Unlike food poisoning, the seriousness of food borne infections is severe. A person suffering from this infection is prone to suffer for more than a day. Kirezieva et al. (2016, p.199) stated that in some cases, the food borne infection can last for a year.

1.3 Discussing the ways to control food borne illness

HACCP plan- According to Milios et al. (2014, p.74), HACCP plan is a way of outlining the methods used for the prevention and control of hazardous food. The plan consists of a series of markings that help in the identification of the critical points that may cause the contamination of food. This is an effective way of maintaining control of food borne infections due to the quick and easy identification of harmful substances.

Training- The most important duty of the owners of restaurants and senior chefs is to provide training regarding the identification of contamination (Lahou et al. 2015, p.75). The training of the new employees is needed in order to make them aware of the importance of hygiene and the ways by which they can dispose of the contaminated food items. This is an effective way of preventing the occurrence of diseases.

Storage temperature control- It is important to store the food items in a balanced temperature. This is because excessive heat or cold diminishes the nutritional value of the food. This can cause the occurrence of diseases such as bacteria or virus. Thus, the chefs and owners of the restaurant need to adjust the temperature that suits the food products.

Cooking temperature control- Grover et al. (2016, p.241) stated that excessive or low heat while cooking a substance can cause the occurrence of food-related diseases. Every food needs to be cooked with the proper temperature required for the item. Food borne infections mainly occur due to the under preparation of food. As a result, experienced chefs are required to monitor the temperature of cooking a food.

Cleaning- One of the most important aspects of the kitchen is its cleanliness. An unclean kitchen is normally the breeding ground for bacteria, viruses and parasites. Hence, cleaning is an effective way of ensuring the prevention of the diseases. The cleaning of the kitchen needs to be done regularly after the preparation of every meal. The cleaning of the utensils needs to be done with the use of proper and hygienic soaps and mops.

Personal hygiene- Nychas et al. (2016, p.13) stated that personal hygiene is an important rule for every restaurant. An employee needs to maintain personal hygiene by practising clean habits like washing hands, washing the fruits and vegetables, submitting any jewellery or loss ended buttons. They even need to trim their hair and fingernails so that none of the food is contaminated.

2.1 Categorising the food spoilage agents that affect food

Bacteria- According to Green and Kane (2014, p.257), bacteria arises due to the undercooked nature of food items. Bacteria is one of the main agents that exists in food and causes the spoiling of food. Bacteria even cause the loss of nutritional values in food, resulting in diseases such as e-Coli and listeria.

Yeast- Yeast is a type of fungus that exists in bread or cakes. The cause of yeast is due to the exposure of bread in open air for too long. Properly cooked yeast can have nutritional values that help the prevention of breads getting stale. However, in most occasions, they possess poisonous characteristics that affect the food. 

Mould- Fernando et al. (2014, p.69) stated that mould normally occurs in mushrooms and other wheat foods. This is also a type of fungus, which diminishes the nutritional qualities of food. Mould occurs due to the stalling of food.

Enzymes- The presence of enzymes in the food is mainly due to the presence of contaminated pathogens. These harmful pathogens extract poisonous enzymes in the food and increase the possibility of food poisoning. In addition, these agents cause food borne infections in a human body.

2.2 Discussing methods of food and preservation

Low temperature- It is important to keep food at a temperature below the freezing point. Less temperature of storage can destroy the nutritional value of the food items and create chances for its contamination. Thus, the food stored need to be done by balancing the temperature. The temperature of the food needs to be adjusted based on the condition of the food. 

Heat treatment- Charalambous et al. (2105, p.70) stated that the food purchased from the market and stores need to be sterilised before use. This ensures that the existing pathogens in the food are destroyed. The heat treatment also involves pasteurisation which is normally used for killing the bacteria that exists in milk. This process ensures the additional of nutritional values in the food items.

Chemical- The chemicals that are used for preservation of food consists of salt, sugar, nitrate and antibiotics. These prevent the occurrence of any fungus and parasites in the food. Salting of food before storing diminishes the chances of a food item being spoiled. The introduction of antibiotics also helps in ensuring its preservation.

Physical- Sawe et al. (2014, p.335) observed that vacuumed food do not fall prey to any type of contamination. Apart from this, food that is fried or smoked also resists the attack of the harmful pathogens. This is mainly because excessive heat is an excellent technique in getting rid of the pathogens that exist in the food. 

2.3 Evaluating the effectiveness of food preservation methods

The effectiveness of the food preservation methods can be understood by the way it helps in the preservation of food. Gogolides et al. (2015, p.67) stated that the cold storage with the application of chemicals preserves the nutritional qualities. As a result, it helps in retaining the taste of the food. From a managerial point of view, stale food or contaminated food causes the loss for a restaurant. Dissatisfaction of the customers causes a restaurant to lose its reputation. Hence, these preservation methods help in minimising the financial damage also.

On the other hand, the methods have certain limitations. Vacuumed products cannot be pre-checked. As a result, the existence of harmful pathogens in the packets can cause damage to the food. It is necessary to employ experienced staffs in the kitchen in order to ensure that the foods are kept and cooked at a proper temperature. Hence, the preservation methods have a fair share of advantages as well as disadvantages.  

3.1 Discussing key steps in a temperature control system

In order to maintain the proper quality of food and prevent the food from being contaminated, it is necessary for restaurant owners to maintain the temperature from start to finish (Lao et al. p.2532). The temperature of the food needs to be consistent from the time of storing the food until it is being served to the customers. For example, in the preparation of soufflé, a restaurant needs to store the essential ingredients such as eggs, sugar, flour and milk in a storage room with the proper temperature. The ingredients require a different temperature of storage so it needs to be placed in different storerooms. The freezer temperature for storing the milk and eggs need to be kept at 8-degree Celsius. During the cooking, the temperature needs to rise in order to keep the item hot. Pre-heating this item is not necessary as the item is a dessert and needs to be served immediately after cooking is complete. This method can control the occurrence of yeast or any other fungi in the food. However, the technique of heating or cooling a food item varies with the change of menu.   

3.2 Summarising methods for safe storage of food

The food purchased from the market or the suppliers need to be stored in proper facilities. These facilities need to be safe from any type of contamination. The levels of ingredients in the food items and the temperature that are required to keep them fresh vary with the ingredient. Van Boxstael et al. (2013, p.190) stated that stock rotation is an important method for preserving the food items. In this way, the stale materials can be identified and replaced with the fresh products. While purchasing canned food or packaged food, it is important for the restaurant owners to take a note of the manufacturing dates and the expiration dates. This can help them to identify the stale products easily and prevent any health related issue. The storage temperature needs to adjust with the change in climate and room temperature. Aung and Chang (2014, p.172) observed that most food items require immediate consumption. As a result, these food items need to be kept in a storage facility that can be accessed quickly on a daily basis.

3.3 Evaluating the importance of personal hygiene

Osés et al. (2012, p. 493) stated that it is the duty of every individual to pay attention to personal hygiene factors before involving themselves with food. This is a legal requirement in every restaurant in order to prevent contamination from the people. HACCP plan indicates the importance of personal hygiene in every restaurant. Every person involved in cooking activities need to ensure that they decontaminate their hands and feet with the use of soap before entering the kitchen. Plastics need to be put on the head in order to reduce the chances of hair fall. These create a good impression of the restaurant and increases their brand image in front of the customers as well the HACCP. Personal hygiene also helps to maintain the discipline of an individual. By implementing proper clean habits, an individual can lead a healthy life. 

3.4 Evaluating cleaning and disinfection as a process

Cleaning and disinfection are other important processes in the HACCP plan. Apart from personal hygiene and proper storage of foods, it is important to clean the utensils and the kitchen using utensils and floor scrubbers. Lahou et al. (2012, p.706) stated that while cleaning the floors and walls of the kitchen it is necessary for every restaurant to cover the utensils or store them inside cabinets. This is because the dust from these places contains harmful pathogens that may cause cross-contamination of the foods. An unhygienic place may cause the breeding of bacteria. Hence, it is important to clean every corner of the kitchen to avoid the storage of germs. Defective equipment may also cause the contamination of food. For example, a crack in any of the utensils may be the reason for the existence of bacteria. Apart from this, the disinfection of the utensils needs to be done by properly mixing the chemicals together. The wrong concentration of chemicals may cause stains in the utensils, which may be the breeding ground for fungus. 

3.5 Assessing the problems of pest control

According to Bosona and Gebresenbet (2013, p.32), the existence of pest can cause the heavy loss for a restaurant. This is because the pests and other infectious pathogens cause the loss of food ingredients. Once an ingredient is contaminated, using it is not legal for the health and safety of the people. The cost of purchasing the food and the cost of wastage often adds to the worry of the owners of restaurants.  This is because wastage of food can result in the loss of business for the restaurant. It is the legal duty of every restaurant owner to maintain the cleanliness of a place and ensure that the place is pest free. Apart from cost factors, the sense of trust and brand image is also tainted with the existence of pest in the restaurant. Customers tend to avoid places that serve unhealthy food despite the reputation they possess. The existence of pests can even lead to the loss of the contract with suppliers and dealers. Hence, pest control is another important element for running a successful restaurant. 

3.6 Justifying the need for hygienic design

According to Jia and Jukes (2013, p.236), in order to prevent any external pathogens from entering the kitchen, it is important to construct the restaurant in a safe area. The kitchen needs to be covered and proper windows and doors need to exist in order to access the outside world in case of emergencies. The ceiling needs to be at a proper distance so that in the case of any loose item, the people can identify it and take precautions. The floors need to be constructed using concrete cement instead of being polished. This is required to avoid slippery floors. The floors and walls need to be constructed in a way that it is to clean them and disinfect them.  The restaurant needs to be designed in a place free from the existence of any burial ground, excess traffic and factories. This place emits smokes, which are bad for the customers as well, the people working in it. The presence of any medical laboratories also needs to be avoided as such a place conducts experiments with the main agents of food contamination.

3.7 Justifying the importance of training

Milios et al. (2013, p.1381) stated that every restaurant owner needs to provide training to the employees about the importance of hygiene and cleanliness within the restaurant. This is a legal requirement for every restaurant as it imparts knowledge to the employees. Training helps in eliminating the bad habits like wearing unclean clothes, not cleaning hands, not storing the food items as per requirements and keeping an unclean environment. These can be solved with the implementation of proper training to the employees. Training also helps to fight cross-contamination as it creates awareness among the people to maintain a clean environment. The use of refreshers can help in eliminating any fumes that arise after cooking a meal. These fumes can cause a contagious disease to the lungs and heart of the individuals. Hence, the use of refreshers is important in the restaurants. However, it is to be kept in mind that the refreshers need to be sprayed away from the food items.   


4.1 Producing a food hazard risk assessment

(Refer to Risk Assessment template)

4.2 Completing a food safety control system

(Refer to HACCP template)

4.3 Devising a food safety guide

There are certain legislations that protect and provide guidelines relating to the food and safety. The Food Safety Act 1990 defines the food safety requirements and puts a ban on the sale of foods that is not ordered by the purchaser (Thomson et al. 2013, p.507). The Food Regulations Act, 2006 defines the power and roles of a health inspector. A health inspector can put a notice of closure to any restaurant if it does not abide by the health and safety rules defined by the act. The members of each restaurant follow the provisions of this act.

The Food Labelling Regulations Act of 1996 states that packaged foods need to provide every detail regarding the ways to use the item, manufacturing date, storage requirements and expiry dates. These are important information that every person needs to have knowledge about in order to prevent the contamination of food.  The Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the hygiene of food items defines that every owner needs to register the restaurant with a competent authority in order to ensure routine checking of the restaurants from pests. The restaurants need to oblige with the HACCP plan and provide the necessary training required for the efficiency of the employees.


Thus, it can be concluded that food safety is one of the most important aspects that every restaurant owner need to consider. Without the safety of the food, restaurants cannot attract customers and gain their satisfaction. It is important to take proper precautions in cleaning the kitchen and the disinfecting the utensils after the end of the day. A hygienic restaurant with low-quality food attracts more customers than an unhygienic restaurant with a good quality food. Thus, the restaurant owners need to assess all the health and hazard factors that are involved with the running of a restaurant. The owner of Saffron need comply with the food legislation laws in order to control the potential hazards that can arise in the restaurant.