Microbiological hazards

Microbiological hazardsĀ 


Bacterial contamination is the most significant as it results n large amounts of spoilt food and unacceptable numbers of food poisoning cases. It is essential that managers are able to provide evidence that cross-contamination controls are effective and are being applied consistently throughout the business and that cross-contamination controls are equally as effective during busy periods as they are in quiet periods. They must also ensure effectiveness when new procedures are brought into service. Food poisoning bacteria may be bought into food premises by the following sources:

  • Food handlers/Visitors
  • Raw food including poultry, milk, eggs, meat, fish and shellfish and water especially when polluted with sewage or animal faeces. Vegetables or fruit may become contaminated from manure or polluted irrigation water;
  • Insects, rodents, animals and birds and;
  • from the environment, including soil and dust.


Mould spores will be present in the atmosphere, on surfaces, especially damp surfaces, and on mouldy foods. Foods should always be covered and mouldy food must be segregated. Furthermore, mould must not be allowed to grow on walls, ceilings and window frames. Mould growth often occurs if food is stored at the wrong temperature, at high humidity and in excess of the recommended shelf life. It may also affect cheese stored in vacuum packs which are pierced. Canned foods which are removed from cases opened with unguarded craft knives may become punctured, or on raw food such as shellfish which have been grown in sewage-polluted waters.

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