For the majority of individuals who cook on a regular basis, the basic knowledge of how to safely prepare foods is seemingly commonsensical. However, there are likely few kitchens that constantly meet health and safety standards that are otherwise enforced on restaurants and other food establishments. The only way to maintain this level of safety in the preparation and treatment of food is to ensure that staff is fully knowledgeable and accountable to their customers. With the completion of a food handling course, every individual who works in the service industry can ensure that no harm will come to consumers through their own mistreatment of food products.
Foodborne illness (or more commonly ‘food poisoning’) is caused by the consumption of food products that have been contaminated with harmful microorganisms. These microorganisms can range from bacteria, to parasites and viruses. Some of the most well-known causes of food contamination are salmonella and E-coli bacteria, which can cause very damaging short term and long term consequences. The beating that one's immune system takes when exposed to a dangerous food-borne contaminant is one that could make an individual far more susceptible to other illness in the long term. Persons that have experienced food borne illness are shown to be more likely to develop high blood pressure, kidney failure, arthritis, and even heart attack and stroke. Some of these effects will be seen within weeks, but other don’t show themselves for years after contamination exposure. Although there are some that dispute the correlational nature of the studies that show this relationship, the strong correlation should not be ignored. A proper food handling course will teach those working with food products that these are very real and very scary consequences of mistreatment of food.
Some of the most damaging bacteria is found on undercooked meat and mishandled dairy products; E-coli poisoning most commonly from undercooked beef, and salmonella most commonly found on eggs, meat and milk products. For this reason, the proper handling of these products is of utmost importance; keeping meat and dairy products at the proper temperature and not having raw meat next to cooked meat in storage are all important steps that should be taken. In addition to proper storage, all staff working with food products must wash their hands frequently and wear protective gloves when working directly with meat products in particular. Surfaces that food products are prepared on must be maintained to prevent cracks and cuts; small spaces are breeding grounds for bacteria and can easily result in cross contamination (as many cleaners cannot reach inside these spaces). With the proper food handling course training, staff should be well aware as to what attire they must wear and how to go about properly preparing food products for consumption.
Contaminated food products should never be served to any individual, as they have damaging short term and long-term health consequences. Bacteria and other microorganisms can easily accumulate on unclean surfaces and mistreated food products when the proper food handling steps are not taken. This can have anywhere from mild to very serious repercussions. For the safety of all individuals, staff that work with food for the public should be trained using the proper food handling course, such as the ones found here at CFTQLD (http://www.cftqld.com.au/).