Food and beverages is a common term when it comes under hospitality industry. However, employees working under this sector of the hospitality industry tend to overlook a very important aspect in this industry, safety and hygiene as they continue to impress their superior or guests with their work efficiency. Safety and hygiene which both have often been neglected caused various problems and conflicts involving employers, employees and even the guests or customers of the industry. In some cases, the negligence of safety and hygiene had cause a loss in business, reputation and also legal implications to companies in this industry. Often there are cases whereby a highly reputable food and beverage outlet have lost their reputation and business due to negligence in their food preparation.
Safety and hygiene is so vital that we cannot ignore the importance of it, especially in the food and beverage industry. Good and hygienic food attracts crowd. You will come across a scenario whereby people queue up just to be served in a food outlet compared to another outlet serving the same food a few doors away. The main reason behind this scene is that, the outlet serves quality and hygienic food.
What draws the meaning of safety and hygienic food? It all comes about the implication of food contamination and the negligence in the preparation. Stale food cause by poor preservation and expired foodstuff are the examples which caused food contamination. Occasionally, we discover foreign objects in our food and this is due to negligence and carelessness in food preparation.
Physical contamination of food
Food contamination falls into three main classes of definition, and they are physical contamination, chemical contamination and also biological contamination of food. Physical contamination of food is defined as any foreign objects that falls into our food during the manufacturing or preparation process. During the manufacturing of food, carelessness plays a very important role in the contamination of food. Often we come across packed food with inedible foreign objects in it. This is caused by the carelessness and negligence of workers in the process of preparing the food.
1.1 The wear and tear of machinery’s parts accidentally got mixed into the food. Lubricants that are used to grease food processing machineries are also one of the physical contaminants that got into food. There are some food processors that do not comply with FDA requirements to use only stainless steel in food preparation.
1.2 Human parts such as hair, fingernails, jewelries and clothing parts are some of the contaminants that fall into food. Employees working in the food preparation sector are not aware of the importance of proper dress code while preparing food. This negligence greatly affects the safety and hygiene of food preparation.
1.3 Storage of food is so important that many outlets do not pay much attention to it. Foods prepared are not immediately served to customers. This requires good handling such as covering of food to prevent moving objects from contaminating the food. Insects are prone to swarm around aromatic food and may cause food contamination. There are so many factors related to physical contamination of food that it is impossible to describe each and every detail herewith. Thus we will continue with some other factors such as chemical contamination of food.
2) Chemical contamination of food
Chemical contamination of food is defined as food being contaminated by other chemicals accidentally. What are those hazardous chemicals?
2.1 One of the critical chemical that contaminates our food is pollution. Pollution can be classified in to the pollution of air, water and soil.
2.1.1 Pollution of air occurs when pesticide sprays are being used too near to foodstuff causing the air covering the food stuff to be full of hazardous pesticide sprays. In farms, pollution of air occurs when a large amount of pesticides spray are being used on to the plantations causing the food to be chemically contaminated
2.1.2 Pollution of water happens when untreated water is used in food preparation. Water which is not properly stored in containers might have been exposed to contaminants. Iron pipes which are used to deliver water might contain undesirable elements which might react with food which is hazardous to health.
2.1.3 Pollution of soil happens in plantations where our vegetables are being planted. Often farmers over-use animal drugs and agrochemicals which result in the contamination of soil. Soil may even consist of toxic metals from toxic waste being disposed at the area of plantation. These chemicals when consumed or ingested are extremely hazardous to health.
2.2 Food additives are often added to food to enhance the taste or to extend the shelf life of the food. However, these additives are subjected to defined exposure levels and international food safety standards. Food over exposed to food additives might result in a chemical change and will be hazardous to health. For instance, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized a few chemicals such as Bisphenol A, Melamine and Acrylamide to be a health issue when there are overly being added into food.
3) Biological contamination of food
Biological contamination is defined as food containing natural occurring substances which are poisonous or hazardous when consumed.
3.1 Employees always neglect hygiene in food preparation. We have come across cases where employees work in food and beverage sector do not wash their hands after using the toilet. Employees should understand that millions of germs stick on to their hands after they use the toilet. Other than that, things that we touch everyday such as money, staircase railing or shopping carts are full of germs invisible to our naked eyes.
3.2 In food preparation industry, proper dress code should be implemented. This happens when workers tend to sneeze and cough when they are working. This causes a lot of bacteria or germs to land on the food, causing it to be biologically contaminated.
3.3 Food also can be contaminated biologically when raw food is being processed on contaminated surfaces. There are cases where financially poor countries attempting to make bigger profit by neglecting safety and hygiene. Raw food which is processed on surfaces contaminated with virus, bacteria, germs dirt and dust, will be extremely dangerous to health when consumed.
This concludes the three contaminants that affect the safety and hygiene of food.
Question 1 (b): What is the definition of portable water, explain its uses.
Water is the most vital resource to life on earth. Water covers 70.9 percent of the earth’s surface and even 60 percent of our human body consists of water. Without food, human can live up to 49 days, however without water human being can only live up to 7 days. Clean water is extremely essential to human and other life forms.
1.1 Portable water is defined as water with total dissolved solid contents at about 150ppm which is suitable for drinking and sanitary purposes.
1.2The earth we are staying in is full of water sources. However, not all of this water is fit for consumption and sanitary purposes. In order to produce portable water, different water from different sources is treated with different ways and methods in order to produce portable water.
1.2.1Sea water undergoes desalination process by distillation. Then the water will be treated with flash ejectors. The desalinated water will then be remineralised to achieve the desired solid content level.
1.2.2Water which has been used for sanitary purposes can also be treated in order to obtain portable water. The sanitary water will undergo aerobic decomposition to remove all unwanted residues to obtain clear water. Then this water will be treated with coagulators and chlorine dosing.
1.2.3 Water from river or lakes can also be treated to obtain portable water which is fit for consumption and sanitary purposes. River or lake water will be treated with coagulator and later on chlorine dosed to obtain portable water.
1.3 Nowadays, portable water is used widely in all fields of food and beverage industry. Portable is used to ensure the safety and hygiene of the water used. We might not know the quality of water flowing from our tap but we do see packed portable water as an assurance of safety and hygiene.
1.3.1 Portable water is developed to prevent any unwanted pathogens, diseases vectors or waterborne diseases that are commonly found in water. It also prevents consumption of contaminants found to exist in popes delivering water source.
1.3.2In food and beverage industry, portable water is used widely as drinking water or in food preparation. Portable water is specially treated in order for it to be fit for consumption. Portable water may not be of only packed mineral water or drinking water. Portable water may also be referred to as filtered water by aftermarket filters attached to our water pipes. These stand alone water filters filter water to a desirable solid content and cleanliness level so that it is fit for consumption.
1.3.3Portable water is also used for sanitary purposes. As said earlier, water may contain of waterborne diseases and pathogens may be harmful to humans. Portable water is used in bathing or cleaning process so as to avoid any diseases or sickness to human being.
In conclusion, safety and hygiene is a very important aspect not only in hospitality industry but also our everyday life. Good safety and hygiene must always be practiced so in order to achieve better living. Good safety and hygiene must not only be practiced in food preparation, but also the food we eat. Always use portable water which is free of all waterborne diseases, pathogens and virus vectors for consumption and sanitary purposes. In food preparation, always practice good safety and hygiene so as to avoid any contaminants from contaminating the food in any of the means.
Question 2 (a). What should the manager do about and employee who reports to work with the following symptoms: fever, coughing and a sore throat?
Hospitality industry is an industry which consists of food and beverage, tourism and lodging establishment. Most of the time, employees of the hospitality industry have to service and serve guests or customers. That is why employees have to practice good safety and hygiene at all times.
Food preparation is one of the fields in hospitality industry. This field requires very good practice of safety and hygiene. Employees must be in proper dress code all the time and must disinfect their hands to avoid any germs on their hands before preparing food for customers. This is very important as customers might be infected if germs appear on food-stuff.
In hotels and lodging establishments, front office personnel have to face a lot of customers daily. Employees have to practice good safety and hygiene to their own grooming in order to leave a good impression to customers as the front office gives customers an impression of the whole lodging establishment.
2a. 1 If an employee reports to work with symptoms of fever, coughing and a sore throat, the manager should attend to this employee immediately. The manager must identify the seriousness of the employee’s illness. If the employee have serious signs of sickness and may be contagious, the employee should be stopped from work immediately.
2a.1.1 Worker with contagious sickness should not be allowed to work, especially in the hospitality industry as the hospitality industry. This is because workers often have to be in contact with customers. If employees are down with contagious sickness, customers will also be infected.
2a.2 The respective worker should be immediately stopped from work. No matter how serious the sickness symptoms are, employees shouldn’t be allowed to be in contact with guests or customers. If guests are infected by employees or workers, the restaurant or hotel will lose their reputation. In some cases, restaurants even got involved in legal implications just because of customers who are infected with sickness because of employees.
2a.3 The worker or employee that reported to work with sickness symptoms like fever, coughing and sore throat should be quarantined from other workers. As said earlier, these symptoms are contagious. We certainly do not hope that because of one black sheep, all the workers and employees are being infected of any sickness.
2a.4 The manager in charge should immediately send the respective worker to the panel doctor. The employee should be given medication to suppress his or her sickness.
2a.4.1 The worker should then be given medical-leave which respect to the seriousness of his or her illness. The worker should be advised not to come back to work unless that he or she does not have anymore of sickness symptoms.
2a.5 The manager and supervisor in charge should then check all the pieces of work that the sick employees have been in contact with. The pieces of work that the employee has been in contact with should be disinfected immediately to avoid any germs from infecting other workers.
2a.5.1 The manager should also check all other workers and employees who have been in close contact with the sick workers. They should all be sent to the panel doctor for diagnostic. If they are found to be sick, they should be given medical-leave as well.
2a.6 Managers and supervisors hold a very important responsibility in monitoring employees and workers. They should be aware of the conditions of workers and employees at all times. Workers and employees have to be dismissed from work if they are found to be sick or having any discomfort.
2a.7 Finally, the manager in charge should advise and warn all workers and employees to not report to work when they are having sickness symptoms. This takes into account of the safety and hygiene of the hospitality industry where employees and workers have to be in contact with customers directly or indirectly.
Sickness symptoms like fever, coughing and sore throat are signs that lead to other contagious diseases. The fatal H1N1 and SARS are examples of contagious sickness or diseases that originates from fever, coughing and sore throat symptoms. Managers and supervisor must be alert and aware of the employees’ condition at all times to avoid any untoward happenings.
Question 2(b) Why is hand washing so important?
Safety and hygiene as one of the most important aspect in hospitality industry and must be practiced at all times. In hospitality industry, employees are required to have close contact regardless of direct or indirect with customers. That is why, safety and hygiene is very vital in this field. In hospitality industry, we always want the best for customers, the safest and even the cleanest.
In food preparation segment of hospitality industry, employees must bear in minds that although they might look clean but they are not free from all sorts of germs and microorganism. Employees must at all times disinfect or clean their hand before proceeding in food preparation process.
In many other segments of the hospitality industry, most of the employees have to deal with customers. Most of the time, employees have to shake hands with customers as a sign of a deal or a sign of friendship. However, not all of the employees are aware of how much transfer germs or microorganisms are involved in this hand shake.
In order to practice good safety and hygiene at all times, all employees of the hospitality industry must be advised of the importance of washing their hands.
2b.1 Washing hand is define as the act of cleansing one’s hands with or without the use of water or other forms of liquids, at times with the use of soap. Since we know what is washing hands but why is it so important? Why must employees of the hospitality industry wash their every now and then?
2b.2 Washing hand disinfects our hands. Washing hand is actually the best defense against all diseases. Our hands contact hundreds of foreign objects daily. All these objects contain millions of pathogens and most of them are harmful to health. These germs stick to our hands like gums to the bottom of your shoes. Since food preparation is one of the field in the hospitality industry, what happens when these pathogen are being transferred from employees’ hands to the food they are preparing?
2b.3 Our hands are capable of carrying millions if germs causing illness like colds, flu and diarrhea. We have come across cases where we claim that we have consumed unclean food. However most if the time, these “unclean food” that we are referring to, are contaminated food by germs transferred from employee’s hands. At times, we even do not wash hands before consuming food claiming that we did not touch anything dirty. We must be aware that no matter what we touch, we are prone to being infected by germs.
2b.4 Employees of the hospitality industry must also be enlightened of the importance of drying their hand after washing hands. It is proven that damp hands spread 1000 times more germs than dry hands. Employers play a very important role in preparing the appropriate sanitizers and hand dryers for employees’ use.
2b.5 Washing hand also prevents Staph infection. Staph is MRSA (Methycillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureu), a kind of flesh eating bacteria lurking in sweaty areas. As we all might have known, kitchen is a very hot place. Kitchen attendants must beware of the infection of these bacteria. These bacteria are known to lurk around areas where there is sweat. Kitchen attendant work long hours in the kitchen causes them to sweat a lot. However, washing hands with proper soap or sanitizer totally removes these bacteria.
2b.6 Research shows that there are millions of germs hiding under our watches, bracelets and rings. Employees of the hospitality industry must be aware of this. Whenever employees wash their hands, they must also clean of disinfect these jewelries. However, in some field of hospitality industry, employees are not allowed to wear any piece of jewelries in order to prevent their hand from infected by germs and transferred to customers.
2b.7 Employees must also remember to wash their hands after using the toilet. The toilet is one of the spots with the highest number of bacteria and germs lurking around. Statistics shows that the number of germs on our hand doubles after we use the toilet. This is extremely dangerous as we may bring germs of various diseases with us on our hands and may be transferred or infected to customers at any time.
Washing hands is the most basic step in safety and hygiene in hospitality industry. Employers play an important role in ensuring the employees to wash their hands whenever necessary. The importance of washing hand does not apply only to employees of the hospitality industry but also to all of us. As said earlier, washing hands is the best defenses against all kinds of diseases as our hands are use for a lot of purposes including food consumption. In order for a disease free healthy living, always bear in mind the importance of hand washing and always practice good safety and hygiene starting from hand washing.