The risk of food poisoning is ever-present when dealing with food; these risks can however be minimised if certain precautions are respected and adhered to. Most people associate food poisoning with meat, fish or shellfish produce, and yet, last year’s outbreak of E. coli in Germany demonstrated the risk posed by vegetables too.
Vegetables can carry particles of contaminated soil which can result in food poisoning, and The Food Standards Agency launched a campaign last November in order to raise awareness of the issue. They recommend taking the following precautions when preparing food:
• You should always wash your hands thoroughly both before and after handling raw food, whether you are dealing with meat or vegetables.
• All raw foods should be stored separately from, and should not come into contact with ready-to-eat foodstuffs.
• You must either use different chopping boards and knives etc. for different foodstuffs, or you must thoroughly wash utensils after each food has come into contact with them.
• Some vegetables are now sold ready-washed, so you should pay close attention to the instructions on packaging. If vegetables are not ready-to-use, they must be peeled, washed and cooked properly before being served.
Food safety training provides the knowledge and skills that will equip food handlers to do so safely and minimise the risk of contamination.