There are a few factors that contribute to the growth of harmful microorganisms on food. If we can counter and prevent these factors, we are able to fight our enemies.
Many microorganisms grow on food rich in protein (poultry, fish, dairy, eggs) and carbohydrates (cooked rice, pasta). These foods have a high 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, eggs) are considered potentially hazardous.
Action: Cook food at high temperature. Check expiry dates. Look out for dents, bulges, leaks or rust in low-acid canned food (luncheon meat, 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 (e.g. rice and starchy foods). Store foods at the correct temperature.
After 4 hours, the microorganisms on the food may produce toxins that make the food 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 (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. Click here for other tips and tricks to further improve your overall food hygiene levels in the kitchen.