The main hazards likely to occur during preparation are cross-contamination, the multiplication of bacteria and the formation of toxins due to food being left a ambient temperatures for too long. The observance of good hygiene practices during food preparation is an essential element in preventing food poisoning. Raw food and ready-to-eat food should be prepared in different areas, with separate, clean equipment, including slicing machines, mincers and vacuum packers, as low dose pathogens such as E.coli O157 and Campylobacter may contaminate the surfaces of the equipment after contact with raw food and may not be removed when it is cleaned and disinfected. Separate temperature probes are recommended for raw and ready-to-eat food. Raw vegetables should be washed thoroughly in a separate sink, which is not used for washing utensils ect. and is positioned to avoid cross-contamination of high-risk food or clean utensils/equipment. Disposable wiping cloths should be used.
The handling of food should be minimised and food must not be left in a warm, humid atmosphere. The minimum amount of food should be prepared and then returned to refrigeration. Many schools and hospitals prepare food just prior to consumption, as required, as an additional safeguard. Food handlers should work in a logical, planned manner ensuring that working surfaces are kept as tidy as possible. Spillages and waste food should be cleared away promptly. Once again, staff training is essential.
The use of colour-coded utensils and chopping boards, e.g. red for raw food, will cut down the risk of cross-contamination. Only drinking water should be used in food preparation activities. Any ice in contact with food should be made from drinking water to prevent risk of contamination.
ADD PHOTO OF A CHEF PREPARING FOOD