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Question:

Critically review the different approaches to risk that could be present in a commercial food premises, considering both food safety risk to customers and health and safety risk to staff?

 

Answer:

Food safety is a crucial operation in the commercial food premises, as in food premises, a number of health hazards incorporate health risk to the consumers as well as service providers. Therefore, the organizations should include appropriate and efficient risk approaches. In this context, it can be said that people need to be aware of different kinds of hazards, i.e. the hazard groups (Hillstrom 2012). There are mainly three hazard groups that can affect the health of both consumers as well as the service providers. These include biological hazards, chemical hazards and physical hazards. Therefore, the first step of the risk approach in the commercial food premises is the identification of potential risks in the premises.

At first, different types of health hazards would be identified in the workplace. The biological hazards include the risk of microorganisms which spoils food and due to lack of hazard analysis or risk approach; there relies on a high risk of illness to the consumers after consuming these toxic food substances. Due to the lack of proper monitoring or storing system, sometimes, Clostridium botulinum and Salmonella spp. are found in packaged food, including severe health consequences of the consumers. Sometimes the raw materials are not stored and processed before using in cooking, thereby enhancing health risk (Hse.gov.uk 2016). Another biological hazard is the cross-contamination that is the process of contamination of ready to eat foods by the microorganisms present in raw food materials including meat, vegetables, poultry and meat.

Another class of hazards is the chemical hazards that mainly include the food additives, preservatives and the chemicals used for cleaning utensils and floors. Chemical hazards mainly occur due to the inadequate storage of chemicals in the food premises. It can have severe consequences both for staffs and consumers. Chemicals also take part in food contamination due to the adequate handling of toxic chemicals (Lawley et al. 2012). Chemicals generally have a range of use in food businesses. Sometimes, the raw food materials are found with poisonous chemicals, like wild mushrooms, red kidney beans, green potatoes, these are toxic for human consumptions, sometimes these are brought into food storage room with other products due to lack of monitoring. Sometimes, suppliers treat raw food materials with toxic pesticides and the organization omit the adequate cleaning and food hygiene process before cooking, thereby enhancing the risk of food poison. Sometimes, food becomes contamined through unhygenic equipment used for processing, storage, cleaning or cooking. Sometimes, use of wrong cleaning chemical food contamination occurs. Inadequate storage and handling of chemicals can also be a major health hazard of the staffs.

Physical hazards include inadequate handling of equipment, food, inadequate disposal of wastage toxic materials; inadequate handling of the sharp knife, floor cleaners, stone, hair, non-reviewed sewage system and poisonous food can enhance the risk of health hazards. Sometimes, food are kept open and knifes are thrown here and there and it lead to accidents of staffs as well as consumers sometimes (Lee 2012).

Another type of hazard is the allergens that can lead to fatal consequences to the consumers having allergies or hypersentivity toward some cereals, gluten, nut, milk, mustard or some kind of fish or meat. Therefore, it should also be monitored.

Most of the physical hazards are categorized as occupational health hazards. The occupational health hazards can harm both consumers and staffs. Keeping knifes unsafely, keeping the toxic floor cleaner in a place accessible to staffs, lack of fire extinguishing system etc are major occupational health hazards in commercial food premises. Keeping sharp knife in open area can injure staffs; keeping floor cleaner in accessible areas can make include hazards like slip and strip. For eliminating these kinds of occupational hazards, appropriate monitoring system should be implemented in the workplace for safety of both staffs and customers.

After identifying the potential hazards in the workplace, assessment of these hazards would be discussed and implemented for assessing the risks present in the commercial food premises at the current period.

 

The risk assessment process would have some steps based on the type of the risk assessment process and the status of the workplace where the analysis is being done. At first, the control of microbiological hazards will be done. At this step, the critical control point or CPP is an important aspect; CPP is the critical point for any food staff which is the last chance to get rid of related hazards (Lima and Vianello 2012). Therefore, assessment should involve analysis of CPP for each food staff. The CPP varies according to the nature of food. In the case of high-risk food products, the cold storage temperature will be the CPP. These kinds of food support the growth of bacteria in adequate temperature, so temperature control is the key aspect for these products. Control of microbiological hazards will be done by buying good quality products from reputable suppliers, thereby avoiding the food contamination through raw materials and pesticides. The cold/frozen condition should be monitored for perishable products; the temperature of the cold storage should be 2-8°C. Another major aspect is the prevention of cross-contamination from the raw materials to the ready to eat products (Merino 2012). For this proper monitoring system is required.  Staffs should get adequate training for understanding the risk assessment and prevention procedures including cold storage, hot holding, sterilization, thawing, handling equipment etc.

Another aspect of food safety is personal safety and hygiene measures. Personal hygiene is a major aspect for people working in health and food and safety workplaces. Monitoring hand hygiene, cleanliness and other hygiene measures should be done in the appropriate manner.

Another major aspect of the risk approach is monitoring. Each and every step in the process should be monitored through a well-established system. Monitoring temperature of storage room, monitoring sterilization and proper cleaning of equipment is important. Additionally, there should be a proper system of monitoring storage room entry. The storage room should have the proper design for avoiding contamination. Staffs should use gloves, aprons while handling toxic chemicals (Rbkc.gov.uk 2016). The waste disposal is an important concern of the risk assessment and hazard analysis process, as inadequately disposed wastes can contaminate food or can disperse infection towards staffs and consumers.

Finally, a record keeping process should be incorporated into the regular review. Staffs should be adequately trained to maintain daily cleaning checklist, temperature charts, delivery of high-risk foods, entry into the storage room, flow charts of daily works for monitoring any kind of changes (Kickbusch and Gleicher 2012). Any kind of mistakes or hazardous substances should be reported to the authority. Implementing changes in the organization would follow the innovative technologies, especially while implementing monitoring and review systems as well as the documenting system.

For communicating these control measures, the organization should regularly update their food safety measures in their personal website and communicate with other stakeholders via meetings. All the control measures, hygiene and food safety activities would be consulted with all the stakeholders before implementing as well as their consents will be collected. All the measures would be implemented following the Regulation (EC) 852/2004 of European Parliament on Hygiene of Foodstuffs, Health and Safety at Work 1974 and Food Safety Act 1990.

 

Reference List

Hillstrom, K., 2012. Food regulation and safety. Detroit, MI: Lucent Books.

Hse.gov.uk, 2016. Health and safety in catering and hospitality. [online] Available at: <https://www.hse.gov.uk/catering/index.htm> [Accessed 4 Mar. 2016].

Kickbusch, I. and Gleicher, D., 2012. Governance for health in the 21st century. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.

Lawley, R., Curtis, L. and Davis, J., 2012. The food safety hazard guidebook. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry.

Lee, S., 2012. Food safety. North Mankato, Minn.: Capstone Press.

Lima, G. and Vianello, F., 2012. Food quality, safety and technology.

Merino, N., 2012. Food safety. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press.

Rbkc.gov.uk, 2016. Catering and food premises safety. [online] Available at: <https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/business-and-enterprise/regulation/health-and-safety/safety-work/catering-and-food-premises-safety> [Accessed 4 Mar. 2016].

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