Food sanitation Community Health Nursing

Food sanitation is a series of rules which are designed to prevent the contamination of food, keeping it safe to eat.The practice of food sanitation is especially important to people in the food industry, at every step of the supply chain from workers in the fields to waiters at restaurants, but home cooks also need to observe the basics of food sanitation for safety.From the moment that food is harvested to the time that it is eaten, it is vulnerable to cross-contamination with bacteria and other harmful substances.

The key to food sanitation is

keeping food safe and clean, with all of the handlers personal hygiene to avoid introducing harmful elements to food,

and  in accordance with food sanitation recommendations concerning safe holding temperatures for food, safe cooking temperatures, sterilization of cutting boards.


At home, common sense precautions like keeping foods frozen or refrigerated before use, washing foods before consumption, washing hands before handling food, cooking or reheating food thoroughly, and using separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables are often sufficient to avoid contamination of food to keep people healthy.

Definition of healthy food 

A healthy food is a plant or animal product that provides essential nutrients and energy to sustain growth, health and life while satiating hunger.


Healthy foods are usually fresh or minimally processed foods, naturally dense in nutrients, that when eaten in moderation and in combination with other foods, sustain growth, repair and maintain vital processes, promote longevity, reduce disease, and strengthen and maintain the body and its functions.



Healthy foods do not contain ingredients that contribute to disease or impede(hinder) recovery when consumed at normal levels.


Food preservation

Food preservation is the process of treating and handling food to stop or slow down spoilage (loss of quality, edibility or nutritional value) and thus allow for longer storage.


Methods of food preservation

Preservation usually involves preventing the growth of bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and other micro-organisms (although some methods work by introducing benign bacteria, or fungi to the food), as well as retarding the oxidation of fats which cause rancidity.

Different methods are used for food preservation.


Drying is one of the most ancient food preservation techniques, which reduces water activity sufficiently to prevent or delay bacterial growth.

Water is considered as the best source for bacterial growth.


Refrigeration: process for drawing heat from substances to lower their temperature, for purposes of preservation.

Refrigeration preserves food by slowing down the growth and reproduction of micro-organisms and the action of enzymes which cause food to rot.

The introduction of commercial and domestic refrigerators drastically improved the diets of many in the Western world by allowing foods such as fresh fruit, salads and dairy products to be stored safely for longer periods, particularly during warm weather.



Freezing is also one of the most commonly used processes commercially and domestically for preserving a very wide range of food including prepared food stuffs which would not have required freezing in their unprepared state.

 For example, potato waffles are stored in the freezer, but potatoes themselves require only a cool dark place to ensure many months' storage.

Vacuum packing  

Vacuum-packing stores food in a vacuum environment, usually in an air-tight bag or bottle.

 The vacuum environment deprives bacteria of oxygen needed for survival, slowing spoiling. Vacuum-packing is commonly used for storing nuts to reduce loss of flavor from oxidation.


Artificial food additives

Preservative food additives can be antimicrobial; which inhibit the growth of bacteria or fungi, including mold,

or antioxidant; such as oxygen absorbers, which inhibit the oxidation of food constituents.

 Common antimicrobial preservatives include calcium propionate, sodium nitrate, sulfites ,  and disodium EDTA.


Pickling is a method of preserving food in an edible anti-microbial liquid.

 Pickling can be broadly categorized as chemical pickling for example, In chemical pickling, the food is placed in an edible liquid that inhibits or kills bacteria and other micro-organisms.

Typical pickling agents include brine (high in salt), vinegar, alcohol, and vegetable oil, especially olive oil but also many other oils.

Example is well mixed vegetables such as pickles.


Canning involves cooking food, sealing it in sterile cans or jars, and boiling the containers to kill or weaken any remaining bacteria as a form of sterilization.

 It was invented by Nicolas Appert. Foods have varying degrees of natural protection against spoilage and may require that the final step occur in a pressure cooker.


Food preserved by canning or bottling is at immediate risk of spoilage once the can or bottle has been opened.

Controlled use of micro-organism

Some foods, such as many cheeses, wines will keep for a long time because their production uses specific micro-organisms that combat spoilage from other less benign organisms.

These micro-organisms keep pathogens in check by creating an environment toxic for themselves and other micro-organisms by producing acid or alcohol.


Micro-organisms, salt , controlled (usually cool) temperatures, controlled (usually low) levels of oxygen and  other methods are used to create the specific controlled conditions that will support the desirable organisms that produce food fit for human consumption.




Biopreservation is the use of natural or controlled microbiota or antimicrobials as a way of preserving food and extending its shelf life(time for which a  stored food remain useable).

 Beneficial bacteria or the fermentation products produced by these bacteria are used in biopreservation to control spoilage . It is a benign ecological approach which is gaining increasing attention.

Of special interest are lactic acid bacteria (LAB).


 LABs metabolites often include active antimicrobials such as lactic and acetic acid,H2O2, and peptide bacteriocins that work as biopreservatives.

Some LABs produce the antimicrobial nisin which is a particularly effective preservative.

These days LAB bacteriocins are used as an integral part of hurdle technology. Using them in combination with other preservative techniques can effectively control spoilage bacteria.


Hurdle technology

Hurdle technology is a method of ensuring that pathogens in food products can be eliminated or controlled. This means the food products will be safe for consumption, and their shelf life will be extended. Hurdle technology usually works by combining more than one approach.

Food handling     

The Provision has a responsibility to maintain acceptable levels of hygiene and health and safety with respect to food.

All employees, paid or voluntary, who handle food, have a responsibility to: Maintain a high standard of personal hygiene;




Refrain from handling food when they or anyone at home are suffering from an infectious disease ,ulcers, cuts or rashes, diarrhoea, eye, ear or throat infection.

Report shortcomings to the appropriate person, e.g. faulty or damaged storage, preparation and service equipment.

Principles of Safely Handling Food

Purchase foods from safe sources 

Cook food adequately 

Hold foods at correct temperatures 

Sanitize all equipment and tools before preparing foods .

Practice proper hygiene 

Prevent cross contamination  

Heat foods and cool foods properly


When cooking food, recipes or packet instructions must always be followed.

 Instructions on the label, if present, should be followed. E.g. Keep it Clean – Keep it Cool – Keep it Covered


Food Borne Diseases

Foodborne illnesses are caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated with bacteria, parasites, or viruses.

Harmful chemicals can also cause foodborne illnesses if they have contaminated food during harvesting or processing.

Foodborne illnesses can cause symptoms that range from an upset stomach to more serious symptoms, including diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and dehydration.


Most foodborne infections are undiagnosed and unreported, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every year about 76 million people in the United States become ill from pathogens, or disease-causing substances, in food. Of these people, about 5,000 die.

Prevention and control  

Refrigerate foods promptly. If prepared food stands at room temperature for more than 2 hours, it may not be safe to eat. Set your refrigerator at 40°F or lower and your freezer at 0°F.

Cook food to the appropriate internal temperature—145°F for roasts, beef, and lamb; 160°F for, ground lamb, and ground beef. 165°F for ground poultry and 180°F for whole poultry. Use a meat thermometer to be sure.


Foods are properly cooked only when they are heated long enough and at a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause illnesses.

Prevent cross-contamination. Bacteria can spread from one food product to another throughout the kitchen and can get onto cutting boards, knives, sponges, and countertops. Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood away from all ready-to-eat foods.



Handle food properly. Always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water before and after handling raw meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, or eggs. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or touching animals.



Wash utensils and surfaces before and after use with hot, soapy water. Better still, sanitize them with diluted bleach—1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 quart of hot water.

Wash sponges and dish towels weekly in hot water in the washing machine.

Keep cold food cold and hot food hot.

Maintain hot cooked food at 140°F or higher.

Reheat cooked food to at least 165°F.



Refrigerate or freeze perishables (subject to rapid decay), prepared food, and leftovers within 2 hours.

Never defrost food on the kitchen counter. Use the refrigerator, cold running water, or the microwave oven.

Never let food store at room temperature—refrigerate it.

Divide large amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers for quick cooling in the refrigerator.


Wash all unpackaged fruits and vegetables, and those packaged and not marked “pre-washed,” under running water just before eating, cutting, or cooking.

Dry all product with a paper towel to further reduce any possible bacteria

Do not pack the refrigerator. Cool air must circulate to keep food safe.



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