You may have heard of microorganisms and the harm that they can cause to your diners. But how much do you really know about them, and the factors that contribute to their growth on food? More importantly, how can you prevent this from happening? Read on to find out.
Many microorganisms grow on food that’s rich in protein (such as poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs), and carbohydrates (like cooked rice and pasta). These foods have a higher chance of contamination and may give rise to foodborne illnesses.
Action: Pay more attention to these categories of food.
Low acid food – poultry, fish, dairy and eggs for example – are considered potentially hazardous.
Action: Cook food at the right temperature. Check expiry dates. Look out for dents, bulging, leaks or rust in low-acid canned food like luncheon meat and baked beans.
Microorganisms grow fastest in the Temperature Danger Zone (TDZ) of 5°C to 56.7°C. This TDZ range includes room temperature as well.
Action: Do not leave food at room temperature for too long. Always store food at their correct temperatures.
After 4 hours, the microorganisms in food may produce toxins that will make it unsafe for consumption.
Action: Food should not be kept at the TDZ for more than 4 hours.
Microorganisms require oxygen to grow.
Action: Cover food at all times.
Microorganisms grow faster in food with high water content (such as fresh poultry, meat, fish and raw eggs).
Action: Ensure these foods are stored at the proper temperatures with reduced moisture.
By understanding your enemies and what you can do to prevent them, you’ll keep your food and diners safe.
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