{Introduction to Pastry} – Food Hygiene and Safety – Igiena muncii

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Food Hygiene and Personal Hygiene at your Work Place – Pastry Chef

I was going to talk about something else today, but then I realized that any chef course starts with the most basic of the basics – food hygiene and safety and how to avoid contamination of your food. Being a professional chef or pastry chef means having and applying some well established food safety rules, not only for the health of your customers, but also for your ego and reputation. Food safety and safe handling and storage of food is a sign of a real professional chef who works for his customers and less for the money. Moreover, even if you’re a home cook, food hazards still exist and you should take them into account just to make sure your food is safe to eat even if it’s just for family and friends.

The food industry is wide and it covers so many domains. After all, food is something we eat daily and we all buy it from places that are clean and inspire trust, right?! But because food is made for people, the main concern when it comes to food safety is how to avoid getting your customers ill by offering them contaminated food. By contaminated food I mean food that contains harmful substances that weren’t in the original food or recipe. Food can be contaminated by anything, from dish washing soap to various toxins, viruses, bacteria and the list can go on. It is our job as chefs to make sure the food we make would never endanger someone’s life while it tastes good and offers good value for the money people pay.

This may sound like a technical article, but I think it is highly important to know this kind of information if you’re taking pride on your work and are striving to become a professional. So keep reading! I’m sure you knew many of these rules already but a reminder is great from time to time.

The substances or microorganisms that can contaminate food are called hazards and they can be categorized into:

  • Biological
  • Chemical
  • Physical

Biological hazards refers to microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. They can’t usually be seen with a naked eye and often don’t influence the look or taste of the food much. Bacteria is one of the most often encountered food hazards as once in contact with food and a favorable environment, bacteria multiply quickly, sometimes they double in just 15 minutes, how scary does that sound?!

Bacteria prefers food rich in protein, such as poultry, soups, dairy and eggs, but it also requires water in order to consume proteins and multiply. For that reason dry food has fewer chances to be contaminated by bacteria as the lack of water would make it impossible for it to feed. In addition to this, bacteria also needs a certain temperature that makes multiplying so much easier. The perfect temperature for bacteria is between 41F (5C) and 135F (57C) and it is known as the Food Danger Zone. So warm food stored in an improper place or container has bigger chances of developing bacteria than chilled food, especially if it meets any of the other conditions mentioned above. To prevent bacteria from forming and spreading, you need to take away the conditions that encourage them to do that. And in the kitchen, the most effective and handy weapon is the temperature – keep your food below 5C or above  57C – that’s the standard rule and the one you need to always remember! In the food industry, bacteria is killed by processing the food for a short time at 77C for 30 seconds or in various stages. This process is called pasteurizing and it is used for many foods or ingredients like dairy, canned food, fruit purees or any ready-made food you can buy in supermarkets or stores.

But bacteria is not the only biological hazard that can endanger our food – viruses, fungi and parasites are also dangers. Viruses don’t grow in food like bacteria, but once contaminated and ingested, they will spread inside your body and trigger a response from your immune system. So next time you have a cold, don’t sneeze on your food! (gross, right?! But it could happen). Parasites are microorganism that live in food, mostly dairy or fruits and vegetables – so always buy milk from a safe source and wash or peel your fruits and veggies well.

Chemical Hazards

Contaminating food with chemicals can happen and it is called poisoning. This contamination is often caused by not handling or cleaning equipment properly. Even dish washer soap is a chemical, don’t forget that! To avoid contamination, always store chemicals far away from your food – insecticides, cleaning products, polishing compounds, they have no place near your kitchen and should be stored out of children’s reach or away from products that have a similar package, color or smell.

Physical Contamination

This refers to objects that may not be toxic, but can cause injury or discomfort. This includes pieces of broken glass, stones or sand from not washing ingredients properly, metal shavings from a can, hair, insects and the list can go on. None of these are pleasant to find in your food, are they?! So wear a hair net in a professional kitchen and be careful how you wash the food and don’t leave it exposed to insects. Always sift your flour before use to make sure there are no insects or objects that can contaminate your food, be careful when opening up cans, cover your food properly and store it away from any possible contamination.

Personal Hygiene

  1. The first step in preventing food contamination for both professionals and home cooks is a proper personal hygiene! Even if you are healthy, you may still have bacteria on your hands for instance and you can easily contaminate the food you handle, whether it is meat, fruits or vegetables. Here are some things to consider when working with food:
  2. Do not work with food if you have an infection or a disease that can easily spread to your co-workers or even contaminate the food you handle!
  3. Wear clean uniforms and aprons! They’re not fashion items (although sometimes they are quite trendy) – every work day should start with a clean uniform and a clean or new (if you’re using one-time wear) apron.
  4. Keep your hair neat and clean and always wear a hat or hairnet. This applies to mustaches and beards as well.
  5. Don’t wear rings, watches or bracelets at work as they could contaminate your food as well.
  6.  Keep your nails clean and short and don’t use polish. I have to admit that when I worked in a professional kitchen, this was a chore because I love to paint my nails, but rules are rules and I had to comply. When you are at home, this may not be as compulsory, but it’s still something to consider when you are cooking for a large number of people. I personally keep my nails quite short all the time as I find it to be not only better in terms of hygiene, but also more practical in terms of how you handle food and how you get the work done.
  7. Wash your hands and the exposed parts of your hands before work and whenever needed.
  8. Cover your mouth when you’re sneezing or coughing and always wash your hands after.
  9. Don’t smoke during service! Most restaurants or hotels have designated areas for staff smoking and it is done during breaks, not just anytime, anywhere. Always wash your hands after!
  10. Wash your hands at least 20 seconds using enough soap to create a layer over your skin. Make sure you wash your fingers and the area between fingers well then rinse your hands well. Always dry your hands with a single-use towel!
  11. Use gloves if you have cuts or burns or any kind of other wounds.

 

Guidelines to Handling and Preparing Food

  1. Buy milk and dairy from a safe source (usually this means products that have been inspected by the Sanitation Department and they have the needed hygiene approvals)
  2. Handle foods as little as possible with your bare hands – use gloves, tongs, spatulas or other tools when possible.
  3. Use clean and easy to sanitize equipment! In professional kitchens this means using steel tables and tools because they are easier to sanitize. At home, we don’t have the same sanitation expectations, but as a general rule, even at home, use steel bowls or replace the plastic ones from time to time and clean your working surface as you go, thus preventing contamination from one ingredient or product to another.
  4. Clean your working surface as you go! This is very important in a professional kitchen. As high your rank is, no one has to do the cleaning after you. You are responsible for your work place and it is your job to keep it clean and sanitized during work hours. I learnt this from day one of apprenticeship. Although I was the newest there and basically just an apprentice, no one made me wash the dishes or clean the tables. I was given responsibilities like the rest of the team so I had to act like a member of the team. Everyone was nice but hard working and that was truly inspiring.
  5. Wash raw fruits and veggies properly.
  6. Don’t leave food out of the fridge for hours! Bacteria can hardly wait for a favorable environment, trust me!
  7. Keep foods covered to prevent bugs, flies or hair getting in.
  8. To taste the food, don’t stick your fingers in! That may work and be fun at home, but in a professional kitchen this is not allowed. Instead, take out a small amount of food in a tiny dish and taste with a spoon. After tasting, don’t use the dish or spoon again before washing properly.
  9. Don’t mix leftovers with freshly prepared food. This applies in both in a professional kitchen and at home! Leftover food may be already contaminated and mixing it with freshly made food you basically contaminate your entire batch of food.
  10. Don’t put hot foods directly into the fridge. They will lower the temperature in the fridge and endanger the food that is in there already. Instead, use ice-water baths to cool the food before placing it in the fridge. In a professional kitchen, blast chillers are available so use those if possible.

 

In the end, allow me to congratulate you for reaching the end of this article. I know it’s been a long one, but I hope that food hygyiene will be crystal clear for you from now on. Like I said, some of these rules are not compulsory at home, but following them ensures that every food you cook is safe to eat. Take pride in your work and serve proper food to your family or guests! For any questions, don’t hesitate to use the comment section below!


ROMANIAN!!

Igiena Muncii si Igiena Personala la Locul de Munca sau Acasa

Pregatesc postul acesta de ceva vreme, cu toate ca pe cat de important e, pe atat e de vast. De altfel, orice curs, fie de bucatar, fie de cofetar, incepe, sau ar trebui, cu un capitol despre igiena muncii si igiena personala la locul de munca. Pentru ca pana la urma lucram cu mancare ce va fi savurata de oameni care pot avea neplaceri sau se pot imbolnavi de pe urma neatentiei noastre sau a proastei igiene. In plus, e si o chestie de reputatie, atat a ta personala, cat si a localului in care lucrezi. (in cazul in care lucrezi in domeniu)

Industria mancarii e uriasa si joaca poate unul dintre cele mai importante roluri pe planeta pentru ca “ne lovim” de treaba asta zilnic. Si tocmai pentru ca mancarea e facuta de si pentru oameni, cea mai mare grija a unui bucatar/cofetar trebuie sa fie cum sa pastreze mancarea sigura pentru consum astfel incat sa nu-si imbolnaveasca clientii. Sau familia/prietenii pentru cei care gatesc doar acasa, caci regulile de igiena se aplica si acasa, poate nu la fel de strict, dare u una consider ca trebuie respectate chiar daca nu activezi in domeniu.

Substantele sau microrganismele care pot contamina mancarea se impart in trei mari categorii: biologice, chimice si fizice.

Pericole biologice

Pericole biologice se refera la microrganisme precum bacterii, virusi, fungi sau paraziti. De obicei nu pot fi observati cu ochiul liber si nu influenteaza foarte mult gustul mancarii. Bacteriile sunt probabil cele mai raspandite dintre acestea pentru ca o data intrate in contact cu mancarea si un mediu propice, incep a se multiplica foarte repede, dublandu-se  in doar 15 minute adesea! Bacteriile prefera mancarurile bogate in proteine, precum carne, lactate, oua, si necesita apa pentru a se multiplica. De aceea, mancarurile uscate rezista mai mult timp. In plus, bacteriile necesita o anumita temperatura pentru a face posibil procesul de inmultire. Temperature perfecta se situeaza intre 5C si 57C. Sub si peste aceasta temperature, bacteriile raman inactive, iar intervalul de temperatura dintre cele doua extreme este cunoscut si drept Zona de Pericol (Food Danger Zone). Pentru a impiedica inmultirea bacteriilor, trebuie sa inlaturi conditiile favorabile mentionate mai sus, ceea ce nu mereu se dovedeste a fi usor. In fabricile de conserve sau lactate, mancarea este pasteurizata pentru a ucide bacteriile. Acest proces presupune adesea incalzirea pentru 30 de secunde la 77C.

Insa bacteriile nu sunt singurele pericole biologice. Virusii, mucegaiul sau parazitii sunt si ei prezenti. Cu toate ca virusii nu se inmultesc precum bacteriile, o data patrunsi in corpul uman declanseaza sistemul imunitar. Parazitii sunt organisme care traiesc in mancare, precum lapte sau pe fructe si legume. Asadar, cumparati lactate doar din surse sigure si spalati mereu fructele si legumele, nu doar pentru ca ar putea fi contaminate cu paraziti, dar si din cauza pericolului de a fi contaminate cu chimicale.

Pericole Chimice

Contaminarea mancarii cu substante chimice se numeste otravire si este adesea cauzata de folosirea necorespunzatoare a echipamentului din bucatarie. Pana la urma si sapunul de vase e tot chimic, nu uitati asta! Pentru a evita contaminarea chimica, pastrati produsele de curatenie, insecticidele sau alte produse chimice departe de bucatarie sau departe de produse care au un ambalaj, culoare sau miros similar si asigurati-va ca aceste produse chimice nu sunt la indemana copiilor!

Contaminare Fizica

Aceste tip de contaminare se refera la obiecte care nu au ce cauta in mancare, precum muste sau gandaci, fire de par, aschii de metal, bucati de sticla, nisip, pietre si lista poate continua. Sa gasesti asa ceva in mancare, chiar si acasa, e neplacut si iti taie imediat pofta de mancare!

Igiena Personala La Locul De Munca (Sau Acasa)

  1. Primul pas in a te asigura ca mancarea pe care o gatesti, fie ca e ea dulce sau sarata, e sigura pentru consum este sa ai grija de igiena ta personala respectand cateva reguli de baza:
  2. Nu lucra cu mancarea daca ai vreo infectie sau boala care se poate transmite cu usurinta la colegii de munca sau in mancare.
  3. Poarta mereu uniforma de lucru si sortul. Ele nu sunt obiecte de fashion (desi pot fi chiar foarte trendy)  – incepeti ziua cu o uniforma si un sort curat sau nou in cazul in care folosesti sorturi de unica folosinta.
  4. Leaga-ti parul si pastreaza-l curat – poarta o boneta si o plasa speciala pentru par. Firele de par sunt probabil cel mai adesea gasite in mancare si nu e deloc placut. Acest lucru e valabil si pentru barbi sau mustete!
  5. Nu purta cercei, bratari sau inele ori alte accesorii care pot cadea in mancare.
  6. Pastreaza-ti unghiile curate si nu folosi lac de unghii/oja. Trebuie sa recunosc ca atunci cand am pasit intr-o bucatarie profesionala pentru prima data aveam unghiile, desi scurte, lacuite, mov daca imi amintesc bine, si bineinteles ca mi s-a atras atentia ca data viitoare sa le curat, ceea ce am si facut, oricat de mult imi place sa le accesorizez din cand in cand. Acasa, evident, fiecare isi pastreaza unghiile cum vrea, dar la locul de munca e necesar sa fie cat mai simple pentru ca in acest fel si spalarea si dezinfectarea mainilor se face mai bine.
  7. Spala-ti mainile si bratele (partea expusa) foarte bine cu apa si sapun ori de cate ori este nevoie. O spalare de maini perfecta dureaza cel putin 20 de secunde. Se acopera mainili cu sapun si se spala cu grija degetele si spatiul dintre degete, apoi partile expuse ale bratelor. Se clatesc mainile foarte bine si se sterg cu un prosop de unica folosinta.
  8. Acopera-ti gura cand stranuti sau tusesti si spala-ti mainile dupa aceea.
  9. Nu fuma in timpul serviciului! Cele mai multe restaurante sau hoteluri au loc special de fumat pentru personal si fumatul se face in timpul pauzelor, nu oricand, oriunde.
  10. Foloseste manusi pentru a acoperi taieturi sau arsuri ori alte rani de orice fel.
  11. Curata-ti suprafata de lucru in timp ce lucrezi si nu astepta ca altcineva sa o faca pentru tine. Curatand pe masura ce lucrezi te asiguri nu doar ca mancarea nu este contaminata, dar si ca vei avea mai putin de lucru la final.

Prepararea mancarii:

  1. Cumpara lapte si lactate din surse sigure.
  2. Atinge mancarea cu mainile cat mai putin posibil. Foloseste manusi, clesti sau spatule cand este posibil.
  3. Foloseste doar echipament curat si dezinfectat. In bucatariile profesionale acest lucru inseamna mese de lucru si echipamente din otel inoxidabil. Acasa insa acest lucru nu prea este posibil insa chiar si asa cateva mici trucuri te vor ajuta sa pastrezi igiena. De exemplu, foloseste boluri din metal sau sticla ori schimba-le pe cele de plastic din timp in timp caci tind sa retina mirosuri ori gusturi.
  4. Curata suprafata de lucru pe masura ce lucrezi. Un lucru pe care l-am observat in bucatariile profesionale este faptul ca nimeni, indiferent de rank sau importanta in ierarhie, nu lasa suprafata de lucru murdara ori asteapta ca altcineva sa i-o curete. De la cofetarul sef pana la cel mai mic in ierarhie, toti fac curat ori spala vase daca e nevoie.
  5. Spala fructele si legumele foarte bine inainte de a le folosi.
  6. Nu lasa mancarea la intamplare pe masa de lucru! Cel mai sigur e sa o pui in frigider.
  7. Acopera bolurile ori vasele cu mancare pentru a preveni contaminarea cu muste, fire de par etc.
  8. Cand gusti mancarea, nu-ti baga degetele in oala cu mancare! Oricat de amuzant e sa faci asta acasa, la locul de munca acest lucru se face luand putina mancare deoparte intr-un vas mai mic.
  9. Nu amesteca mancarea proaspata cu resturi din zilele precedente! Cel mai probabil resturile au deja bacterii si risti astfel sa contaminez intregul lot de mancare.
  10. Nu pune mancarea fierbinte direct in frigider. Temperatura inalta a mancarii faca ce temperatura din frigider sa scada si risti sa contaminezi ceea ce aveai in frigider. Aminteste-ti de cate ori nu ti-a spus mama sau bunica sa nu pui mancare fierbinte in frigider – eu sigur imi amintesc si mereu m-am intrebat care o fi explicatia. Foloseste bai cu gheata pentru a raci mancarea mai repede sau, in cazul bucatariilor profesionale, foloseste congelatoarele rapide.

Intr-un final as vrea sa va multumesc pentru ca ati ajuns pana aici cu cititul. Stiu ca e un articol lung, dar am avut cateva experiente nu prea pozitive cu diverse localuri si chiar si diverse emisiuni culinare la TV si mi-am zis ca ar bine ca aceste reguli sa fie cunoscute nu doar de cei care lucreaza in domeniu, ci si de bucatarii amatori ori de cei care gatesc doar pentru familie/prieteni. Nu toate regulile pot fi aplicate acasa, dar cele de baza in mod cert pot fi si chiar ar trebui luate in calcul. Pentru intrebari ori nelamuriri, nu ezitati sa folositi sectiunea de comentarii de mai jos!

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