Importance of food sanitation while eating in houses

In this resource, I am explaining about the importance of food sanitation in various institutions such as restaurants, coffee shops etc. The main points are the minimum requirements of cleanliness and sanitation in eating houses, important points regarding personal hygiene of food handlers, problem in food sanitation are due to food handling etc.

Food hygiene in public eating and drinking places are complex due to ever increasing number of establishments which require some supervision. At one time practice of eating outside was limited but today due to urbanization the eating pattern of population has changed radically. The pattern such as growths of metropolitan cities, distance from home to workplace, school or colleges, employment of women, all contributed to mushrooming of eating houses. It is therefore necessary to exercise control over these establishments in a community so that food which is going to be served is safe, sound, wholesome and fit for human consumption. In these establishments major problem is related to food handling rather than the quality of food itself.

The minimum requirements of cleanliness and sanitation in eating houses required to be observed are given below

1) to avoid manual contact with food as far as possible
2) to keep food at appropriate temperature
3) to keep food protected from personal contacts and contaminating insects, dust and animals
4) discard all food articles and or food products which are apparently not found to be fit
5) clean and disinfect all the utensils and equipments that comes in direct contact with food
6) keep the premises presentable and in a sanitary manner at all times
7) Prepare only required quantity of food. For commencement of the trade of eating house it requires the approval of public health department, and the same can only be given if it complies with the standards of health safety and hygiene. The main points for approval license is design of the place, that is provision of service room, kitchen room and store room of adequate dimensions, use of proper equipments, proper cleaning methods, maintenance of general cleanliness, proper light and ventilation, proper drainage facilities, provision of potable drinking water, periodic treatment of premises with insecticides, observance of norms of fire-safety and healthy environment.
8) From the health safety point of view the kitchen is the most important area which needs to be reviewed periodically. Kitchen area must be adequate to provide for effective, safe and easy to clean work area. The area requirements are stipulated by public health department taking into consideration health safety norms. The operations which are generally carried out in the kitchen are preparation and cooking of food, storage of cooked food, cleaning of soiled dishes or utensils. The cooking area in the kitchen should be suitably located with stoves, burners; oven preparation area must be away from cooking area since garbage is produced in these operations. There should be a dustbin with properly fitting lid for storage and disposal of garbage. The food handlers working in the kitchen should be medically examined periodically in order to ensure that they do not carry or suffer from any of the infectious diseases. Utmost care should be taken to see that the workers involved in serving food do not enter the kitchen, but they should be able to take food articles from receiving platform.

The health education or awareness can best be carried out by sanitary inspectors. The following important points regarding personal hygiene are required to be impressed upon food handlers there are,

1) The hands should be kept clean at all times by frequent washing of the same. Hands should be thoroughly scrubbed and washed with soap and water immediately after visiting the lavatory

Finger nails should be kept trimmed and free from dirt

Head covering should be provided to prevent the falling of hair and entering into food stuffs.

The food handlers should wear clean white clothes and they should be instructed not to cough or sneeze in the vicinity of food.

Smoking on food premises should be avoided

Even though main problem in food sanitation is due to food handling it is absolutely necessary that food establishments should periodically or on suspicion be inspected by sanitary inspector as it is essential for the protection and maintenance of community health. In this sanitary inspector has to see whether all conditions and measures that are necessary during the production, processing, storage distribution and preparation of food are observed. In case the conditions are not observed the owner can be prosecuted or activity can be closed down depending on severity of problem.

The food samples are also drawn from the establishment by food inspector and subjected to laboratory analysis. If the samples are found to be unfit legal action can be initiated, under prevention of food adulteration act. Continuous surveillance in food establishments is absolutely necessary as this can avoid the outbreak of food borne diseases.

As has already been mentioned above the main problem lies in food handling, hence it is absolutely necessary that food handlers are fully made aware about the maintenance of personal hygiene, and clean habits, food handling. Dish and utensil washing, insect and rodent control etc. so that food borne disease like diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid, paratyphoid, enter virus infections, viral hepatitis, protozoal infections, and some of the bacterial infections will not be transmitted to the consumers.

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