6 Steps to Process Food and Eliminate Foodborne Pathogens

Fresh vegetables in a bucket11.07.2014

Written by: Selective Micro Technologies

The FDA has been at war with foodborne pathogens. They estimate that there are at least 48 million cases of food poisoning annually, nearly 3,000 resulting in death. The culprits of many of these illnesses are undercooked food, improperly stored food, and contaminated food. At one point along the way from being harvested to the consumer’s plate, the food that ultimately caused the person’s illness was mishandled.

There needs to be a better system instituted at every step in the process from farm to table in order to prevent these illnesses from occurring. Most, if not all, of the deaths that occur from food illness are preventable; therefore, it is vitally important for people in positions such as food safety and food quality supervisors to make it a higher priority to eliminate the possibility of contamination and other kinds of inappropriate handling of food.

6 Steps to Process Food and Eliminate Foodborne Pathogens

  1. Follow the guidelines set by the FDA, EPA, and FSIS in order to stay in compliance, ensuring the safety of your consumers.
  2. Try to avoid cross-contamination during the processing, transportation, packaging, and delivery to the consumers (i.e. contaminated surfaces/equipment or spoiled/undercooked food).
  3. Always store food that is being processed in appropriate temperature settings.
  4. Be sure that all employees are compliant with hygiene standards and hand washing.
  5. Ensure that all food to be processed is coming from sites that are safe and also compliant with governmental standards.
  6. Hire quality food safety personnel who make it a priority to ensure no food is improperly handled while trying to prevent contamination.   

The monitoring of all food processes from farm to table needs to be increased. Quality standards should always be enforced to the highest degree, as well as the level of standard put forth by government agencies. When these contaminations occur, the person/people to blame are typically the manufacturers or processors.

How Contamination Happens

The reason that contaminations occur is because people are not following the guidelines set forth by the FDA in order to reduce and eliminate microbial threat issues. Having well-informed and quality personnel working at these food processing facilities is one of the most important safety measures companies might employ. This is because quality workers will follow the rules and guidelines and take the extra care to not let the food be contaminated, typically illustrated when mishandled. It also is imperative to consider proper sanitization and decontamination techniques, especially during stages linked to food processing.  

Contamination happens because foodborne pathogens are picked up somewhere along the journey the food has taken: farm, food processing facility, local grocery, dinner table. It is not possible to detect and kill every pathogen food may encounter from your processing plant to the dinner table, but as long as proper processing techniques, sanitization, and FDA guidelines are followed, one can feel confident ensuring food products are as safe as possible for the consumer. View our food safety page to learn more how pure chlorine dioxide can help keep your food safe from contamination.

5 rules to consider for food satety

Germs (and some foods) responsible for most foodborne illness:

Here's a nice infographic from the CDC about keeping food safe:

How to keep food safe from the farm to the table

Sources:

Info sheet about Foodborne Illness Surveillance Systems:

http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/PDFs/FACTSHEET_G_SURVEILLANCE.pdf