Microchem has a team of Hygiene Inspectors that are able to assist with sampling and basic training at your facility to ensure that the key elements of food hygiene are adhered to. Our food microbiology team has both laboratory and production knowledge, enabling us to understand the pressures that are placed on food producers and manufacturers when it comes to food testing and food factory hygiene.
Microchem has a dedicated pathogen testing laboratory, with a team of vastly experienced microbiologists to perform pathogen testing and determination on a range of food products and ingredients. We use tried and tested culture methods alongside some rapid methodology for pathogen determination. We test for a wide range of food poisoning organisms including the following:
- Bacillus cereus
- Clostridium perfringens
- E. coli
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Pathogenic E. coli 0157
- Salmonella species
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Vibrio parahaemolyticus
The Importance of Hygiene Control in Food Safety
According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 600 million people globally fall ill each year after consuming contaminated food. Causes of foodborne illness include consuming food or water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, chemical substances or parasites. Effective hygiene control is vital to avoid the adverse human health effects of foodborne illnesses. Food manufacturers and processors have a responsibility to ensure that food they produce is safe to consume. A robust food safety management system needs to be implemented and enforced to manage food safety risks and prevent contamination.
Food hygiene is an integral part of food safety. Food hygiene specifically concerns foodborne illnesses, which primarily arise because of microbiological contaminants.
The key elements of food hygiene are:
- Personal hygiene
- Preventing cross-contamination
- Effective cleaning procedures
- Safe storage of food
- Cooking temperatures
Monitoring of Cleaning
Effective cleaning and disinfection of food premises and equipment is of utmost importance and should be carried out throughout the production process. Staff should follow a clear and concise cleaning schedule. Cleaning and cleaning efficacy should be monitored through inspections carried out by management. The findings of monitoring should be used to rectify errors and improve cleaning efficacy. Regular swabbing of food-contact and non-food contact surfaces can verify effectiveness of cleaning procedures in place. As the country is going through the Covid-19 pandemic, food manufacturers are encouraged to closely observe their food safety and food hygiene systems. Although Covid-19 is not directly related to the consumption of food, a strong immune system is required to fight the virus. Part of keeping the immune system strong is by eating food that is healthy and free of pathogenic bacteria and spoilage microorganisms.
Food Safety Training
All food handlers should be provided with basic food safety training and exposed to ongoing hygiene training. This is necessary in order understand their responsibilities and role in food safety, and to maintain their vigilance. Ultimately, this will develop staff that are competent in the production of safe food. It is imperative that food production be supervised at every stage of processing to avoid contamination. Correct storage temperatures of final products and raw materials are also essential in preventing food spoilage. Furthermore, packaging, storage and distribution should all be suitable and hygienic to avoid any further cross-contamination.
Other Service Offered by Microchem
- Hygiene Inspections and Reports
- Microbiological Swabbing
- Routine Food Microbiology Analyses
- Foodborne Pathogen Analyses
- Shelf-Life Analyses
- Water Microbiological Analyses
- Water Chemical Analyses
- Food Chemistry
- Nutritional Analyses
- Trace Elemental and Heavy Metal Analyses
- Vitamin Analyses
- Pesticide Analysis – Multi-Residue Analysis