The level of hygiene at the workplace is very important in the hospitality industry especially when preparing food. A high standard of hygiene is emphasized in order to prevent food contamination or poisoning. The food handlers should also be physically well. This means that they should not handle food if they are sick since this can lead to food contamination. This paper focuses on the significance of hygiene in regard to food preparation (chicken).
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The Preparation Process
Chicken is generally considered to be a hazardous food because it usually carries the salmonella bacteria. This type of bacteria is one of the major causes of food poisoning. Thus if the chicken is not properly cooked or stored the bacteria in it can survive and cause food poisoning. Chicken is also hazardous because it contains a lot of proteins. Proteins usually provide a fertile ground for the multiplication of bacteria. Thus if chicken is not stored according to the time and temperature regulations, it can easily be contaminated.
Cross contamination may have occurred at the following stages of the food preparation process. The cooks cleaned the chicken using unwashed hands. Besides, they did not clean the knife and the chopping board that was used in the process. Thus the chickens were contaminated by the germs or bacteria that were in the hands of the cooks. The germs or bacteria further contaminated the stuffing since the same board was used to prepare them. The sick cook also contaminated the chicken when he stopped to blow his nose.
The chicken were left on the bench overnight and found to have fully thawed the following morning. Thus the bacteria in the chicken got the opportunity to grow during the thawing process as the temperature became favorable for their growth.
The sandwich had the potential of causing food poisoning due to the following reasons. First, the cooked chicken used to fill them was not covered in the fridge. Since they were also stored on the bottom shelf, the liquid from the thawing items that were stored in the upper shelves could have possibly contaminated them. Second, the lettuce, tomatoes and carrots that were served with the sandwich were raw. Thus if they were not properly cleaned, the germs or bacteria in them could have possibly caused food poisoning.
The micro-organisms that cause food poisoning include bacteria and viruses. The common types of bacteria that cause food posing include the salmonella that is common in chicken.
Avoiding Food Poisoning
Food poisoning could have been avoided by the following techniques. First, the cooks should have maintained high standards of hygiene by washing their hands and the utensils they used to prepare the food. Besides, the sick cook should not have been allowed to handle the food in order to prevent cross contamination. Second, proper storage could have helped to manage the situation. This involves storing the food at controlled temperature as well as covering it to avoid contamination.
Third, testing if cooked helps to ensure that the food is fully cooked. The bacteria that cause food poisoning are only destroyed if the food is properly cooked. The thawing process should not take too long since it gives the bacteria an opportunity to grow. Finally, the correct cooking procedure in terms of setting the right temperature and time can help in preventing food poisoning. This is because it leads to the destruction of the micro-organisms that cause the poisoning.