The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. The FDA recently proposed two major rules for the Act regarding preventive controls in human food and produce safety. While the Act focuses on farms and processors, its benefit filters down to restaurants and supermarkets in the form of potentially improving the safety of meat and other foodstuffs moving through the food chain, says Sarah Klein, senior staff attorney for the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Food Safety Program. Other standards also are being upgraded, including the American National Standard for Bakery Equipment Sanitation Requirements (see sidebar at end of article).
Sanitation in Food
There are three main types of hazards or contaminants that can cause unsafe food: Biological, chemical, and physical. Biological includes microorganisms; chemical includes cleaning solvents and pest control; and physical means hair, dirt, or other matter.
In our research, we’ve come up with five frequently mentioned sanitation tips to prevent foodborne illnesses in food service and retail businesses. They are:
- Proper personal hygiene, including frequent hand and arm washing and covering cuts;
- Proper cleaning and sanitizing of all food contact surfaces and utensils;
- Proper cleaning and sanitizing of food equipment;
- Good basic housekeeping and maintenance; and
- Food storage for the proper time and at safe temperatures.
Proper employee education and training, as well as monitoring and recordkeeping by management of clean and sanitation tasks, also are important, according to Joshua Katz, PhD, new director of the Food Marketing Institute’s Food Safety Programs in Arlington, Va.