When we buy food ingredients, it is important that we get them from suppliers who are reputable and well known. They shouldn’t be past the expiration date and stored in an appropriate condition. The serving counters must be spotlessly clean, including tools like knives, slicer and grinder. Chillers, fridges and freezers should have a display that shows the current operating temperature, so food won’t be accidentally stored at warmer temperature. Packaging should be durable and tested, so they can withstand abuse during handling and transportation. We should check that all packaging is perfectly original and it hasn’t been tampered with. If there’s something wrong with the package, then we could suspect that the content may be compromised or not original. It means that the food product could be fraudulent and made by a different company. Under any circumstance, we shouldn’t buy these products. Due to a number of risk factors, these products could potentially threaten our health. Food products must show date of licenses and logos of regulatory authorities, including the registration numbers.
One risk of getting food from untrustworthy sources is that it could be contaminated by bacteria. Food is a nutrient-dense object and bacteria will proliferate very quickly, especially in the right temperature. Bacteria begin to multiply when the temperature reach 5 degree Celsius. Bacteria breaks down food into simpler compounds that they can consume. The food source of bacteria is monosaccharide glucose, which is a very simple form of carbohydrate. It takes less than 20 minutes for the breakdown process to progress exponentially. These microorganisms are designed to be quite durable. Whenever there’s a speck of nutrient on a surface, it’s almost certain that we will find bacteria on it. Bad packaging could be poorly sealed, making holes more likely to appear. Wet food is particularly vulnerable to bacterial contamination. If the food has very high moisture, 1000 bacteria that enter a very small hole could multiply into 1 million bacteria in just 20 minutes. It’s a good practice to cook any canned and packaged food, even if they are already well cooked in the factory.
Cross contamination in the manufacturing plants can be quite dangerous, especially when ingredients have contact with objects that have so many bacteria on their surface. Unclean tools and poor wastage management can make contamination more likely when food is produced. In a professionally managed factory, we should be able to make sure that everything is clean and the risk of contamination is significantly reduces. As an example, if eggs are used as one of the ingredients; they must be thoroughly washed before being used, because the outer shell often has many bacteria. When handling food, we should make sure to wash our hands, arms and elbow and it is also a good idea to wash the can and other packaged products before we open them. It is quite common that the food touches the upper portion of can, which may have plenty of bacteria. By washing the can, the risk of contamination will be reduced.