Food safety is about stopping stuff getting in the food and stopping what is already in it from growing – in other words contamination / cross – contamination controls and temperature control.
Bacteria is one of the main reasons we need food safety. These bacteria are so small that we need microscopes to see them and they can kill, depending upon the person, the product, the process and the pathogen itself.
One of the main things we do in food businesses is stopping bacteria and the other micro-organisms from getting into the food or onto food contact surfaces – this is about contamination and cross-contamination.
Two of the most important controls to prevent contamination and cross-contamination are handwashing and cleaning.
These should be standard practice within all food business and by all food handlers, as we work to prevent food poisoning. We should not only know how and when to wash our hands properly but be doing it regularly. It must be just routine.
It should be no surprise to anyone that handwashing and cleaning are also vital controls for preventing infection in and between humans. In hospitals we see the handwashing sinks and the antibacterial solutions and the many signs reminding staff and the public to use them. They are not just there to look good.
It is not just in food business and hospitals where handwashing should have been happening. It should be something we all do as part of our daily lives.
It is now being publicised everywhere as one of the most important things we can and should all be doing to slow the sprtead of this virus. But it should have been standard practice for us all already.
Even simple soap is essential as it reacts with the fat on the outside of the virus and effectively destroys it. Just rinsing your hands under water, regardless of it’s temperature, is just not enough. Remember that soap which is antibacterial may not kill this virus but is still necessary in food businesses.
There will be changes happening in our society as a result of this COVID-19 outbreak and some of those are going to be frightening. We are going to lose people close to us, see people not working as food business either shut down or go slow and the massive impact that is going to have on our economy and the country as a whole, there will be a need to self isolate and hopefully discover how to live like that again, and there will be a need to work together to get through this.
There will most likely be long term changes as well and we will just have to see what happens. As long as we learn from it and put what is needed in place to protect against it, and other viral or bacterial outbreaks – and they will happen again, in the future.
There is a quote often used “this too will pass”, but the one thing that absolutely will not change is that we should always wash our hands often and properly, whether in a food business or not.