E. coli (Escherichia coli) are bacteria that are found in the intestines of a variety of animals, including humans. Whilst the majority of this group of bacteria are natural and harmless, some of them are known as pathogenic, which means they have the capability to cause serious illness and can even be fatal.
This pathological E. coli is most commonly transferred through contaminated food or water, which is why it’s so important for everyone who handles food to implement good food safety and hygiene practices. E. coli is particularly dangerous to young children, the elderly and people susceptible to illness. E. coli is a particular threat in the summer months, when warm temperatures encourage rapid bacteria growth.
E. coli and commercial food preparation
It’s a legal requirement that businesses handling food comply with a duty to ensure all food they handle, prepare, serve or sell is safe for human consumption. Your business is classed as committing an offence if, in the words of The General Food Law Regulation, you place food on the market that can be defined as injurious to human health or is unfit for human consumption. If you’re found guilty of this, you will face a fine and possibly imprisonment.
Storing your food in accordance to food safety hygiene legislation, and following national guidelines are some of the best ways you can avoid spreading E. coli to your customers. You should also follow these basic food hygiene steps when preparing food.
- Always wash your hands prior to handling any food. You should also wash your hands in between handling raw and cooked foods and after any contact with animals.
- Ensure all meat is thoroughly cooked. In order to kill harmful E. coli bacteria, all meat should have a core temperature of at least 70oC.
- Don’t serve raw eggs.
- Only use pasteurised juices and dairy products as this process kills off all harmful bacteria.
- In order to prevent cross-contamination, always wash all utensils and work services between uses.
- Always be careful when handling raw meat – especially if you’re handling raw chicken and other poultry. When you’re storing raw poultry, it’s essential to keep it in a sealed container and at the bottom of your fridge.
- You should never cook food before it’s thoroughly defrosted, and you can only reheat food once.
- Always thoroughly wash any fruit or vegetables you’re preparing for consumption.
- Only serve water that’s come from a bottle or a tap. Rainwater hasn’t been filtered or treated, so could be contaminated.
- Ensure all food is stored correctly. If you plan to store freshly made food for later consumption, allow it to cool for up to 90 minutes before placing it in the fridge. Remember not to put hot foods into the fridge straight away.
Ensure your food is kept to industry standard by enquiring about the range of coldrooms, chillers and coldstores we have at Polysec. Call 01905 458 551 or contact us online today.