E coli O157:H7. How to detect hygiene issues and increase food safety

Essay 2005 8 Pages

Hotel Industry / Catering



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Show what potential food safety and hygiene issues there are with the dishes and how you would remove/lower the risks and How the Food Safety and Hygiene Issues Change by Considering Other Environments

There is potential food safety and hygiene issues with a variety of different foods, in this essay specific foods from a four week cycle at Pilgrims café will be discussed. Firstly Escherichia coliO157:H7 which is a member of the family Enterobacteriaceae (Hobbs et al. 1987, p106) this is currently becoming an increasing cause of food poisoning in the UK. Symptoms can include bloody diarrhoea and in addition kidney failure in the more extreme cases. These symptoms become more severe in young children and elderly people and especially those who are already ill (E. Coli Infection. 2005). A common case of E coli is eating under cooked, contaminated ground beef. In addition transmission can occur from person to person, such as in families and schools. Another form of contamination is from raw milk which has not been pre pasteurised, dairy products, raw vegetables, unpasteurised apple juice or drinking sewage-contaminated water (About – E. coli: Escherichia coli. 2005). These symptoms usually become apparent from 12hours to 3days. (Hobbs et al, 1987, p28) Prevention can be through cooking ground beef thoroughly, not drinking raw milk, and washing hands thoroughly. E coli originates from the intestines of healthy cattle. (Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases: Escherichia coli O157:H. 2005). Also it can be killed by temperatures above 55ºC/131ºF (Hobbs et al 1987, p106). E coli is a pathogen, this particular pathogen E coli 0157:H7 is only one specific stand from millions from the bacterium Escherichia coli. The majority of these stands are harmless and live inside healthy humans and animals such as cattle’s intestines. This particular stand gives off powerful toxins similar to those of Shigella dysenteriae type 1. These toxins are very sever and cause extreme illness and in some cases death. Two other dangerous strands of E coli are coli O111:H8 and E. coli O26:H11. (Verotoxin producing E. coli (VTEC) 2005) Specific letters and numbers given to these strands of E coli are in reference to the specific markers found on its surface and distinguish it from other types ofE. coli. The dishes at risk from this pathogen include: roast beef, gingered pork, lamb and Cumberland sausages, cabbage, carrots, spinach, mushrooms, Greek salad, potatoes, egg and vegetable fried rice, and the aubergine.

The next foodborne pathogen which could be found in the dishes is Salmonella which is similar to E-coli in that it is also part of the Enterobacteriaceae family and that they can be killed by temperatures above 55ºC/131ºF. Salmonella is not just caused by poultry products but also from calves and veal, pigs and pork, sausage meat, canned ham, eggs and confectionary (Hobbs et al 1987, p81-89). Salmonella are Gram-negative bacilli, they can grow both aerobically and anaerobically, there optimum temperature for growth is 37ºC, which is body temperature (Hobbs et al, 1987, p80). The main source of infection is from animals, although additionally it can be spread from person to person. Infection can cause sever illness and even death in the extreme cases, this is more common in elderly people (Cooke 1991 p.17). There are different levels of symptoms, acute symptoms range from the sudden onset of nausea to abdominal cramping, and bloody diarrhoea with mucous. More sever symptoms consist of dehydration. The onset of symptoms usually is between 6 to 72 hours. Generally the symptoms only last roughly 7days (Hobbs et al 1987 p. 34). It has been discovered that healthy eggs can become contaminated by chicken faeces containing the bacteria touching the shells during the laying process (Roberts 1991 p32). Another source of Salmonella can be from fish and shell fish. This can be the cause due to their initial environment they were harvested from may be contaminated for example if the water has had sewage pollution or even the environment during processing may be contaminated. To prevent the risk of illness the shell fish need to be cooked thoroughly above temperatures of 55ºC and also they can go through a depuration process this consists of the shell fish’s gills and bodies being washed out with clean water so that all bacteria is rinsed away (Roberts 1991 p.33-34). Fruit, vegetables and cereals can also be a cause of Salmonella this due to the contamination of the soil or the water may be sewage water. Fruits growing high above ground are at less risk of contamination than those with direct contact with the soil. The risk of contamination can be reduced by the fruits and vegetables being washed and rinsed thoroughly with a sanitising agent (Roberts 1991 p.34). The dishes on the pilgrims menu which are at risk of Salmonella are; vegetable Napolitano, homemade salmon fishcakes with lemon mayonnaise, spaghetti carbonara, chicken chasseur, fish en papillote, macaroni cheese, cod mornay, cannelloni Verdi, cod in tomato sauce, spinach and mushroom frittata, seared tuna steaks with roast plum tomatoes, chicken balti, egg and vegetable rice, goan fish curry, mixed grill, chicken leg, aubergine, salmon teriyaki and the skewered chicken.

Another foodborne pathogen is Staphylococcus aureus, it is generally associated with skin infections however it is also a cause of food poisoning or toxin mediated illnesses (Cooke 1991 p.22). The symptoms of this bacterium include severe vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and cramps. Onset of these symptoms are usually very prompt in that vomiting can occur after the ingesting of the food (Cooke 1991 p.22) this can be anything from 2 to 6 hours (Tranter 1991 p.97), although the symptoms seem to pass within 24hours (Hobbs et al 1987 p.24). In the rare cases among young children and the elderly the symptoms are fatal (Varnam et al 1996 p.241). Staphylococcus aureus is a member of the Micrococcaceae family, which are Gram-positive cocci (Hobbs et al 1987 p.90) they are generally round and bunched together in small groups, they are proactive rather than reactive (Varnam et al 1996 p.241). The major cause of contamination is through person to person, such as from the nose, skin including infected cuts and boils, and also in faeces. Further more the bacteria is found in unpasteurised milk and from cross contamination from raw and cooked meats and dairy products (Tranter 1991 p.98). prevention of this bacteria can be made by ensuring thorough personal hygiene this includes washing hands thoroughly with disinfectant and warm water after everything such as after being to the toilet, handling raw foods or cooked foods, touching skin – nose, mouth, ears, or anywhere else. It is essential that all whites are kept clean to reduce the risk of contamination of the bacteria; therefore they should be washed thoroughly with detergent after every use (Roberts 1991 p.35). In addition equipment should not be reused, for example if raw meats have been chopped on a board then the board can not be used immediately after for vegetables. Different coloured boards need to be assigned for the different types of food, these are usually red for raw meats, yellow for cooked foods, blue for fish and white for vegetables, therefore reducing the risks of cross contamination. In addition all cuts and large boils should be covered with blue plasters so that blood can not contaminate the food and also if the plaster falls off it can easily be seen in the food at it must be thrown away immediately (Varnam et al 1996 p.241). the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria can be killed by cooking foods above 55ºC although the toxins are not always killed at these temperatures and can continue to multiply, therefore food need to be food thoroughly at high temperature to ensure the risks of illness are removed. The foods on the Pilgrims menu which could cause these toxins from multiplying are the chicken leg, skewered chicken, roast beef, chicken chasseur, gingered pork, Singapore noodles, Chinese noodles, all pasta dishes, chicken balti, lamb and the Cumberland sausages.

When considering other environments such as a retirement home food safety and hygiene issues need to be at a much higher standard as elderly people are more prone to disease and becoming fatally ill. Elderly people are very susceptible to Bacillus cereus; it is a serious form of food poisoning (Varnam et al 1996 p.241). A major cause is from the reheating of rice therefore special precautions need to be taken these consist of washing the rice before cooking, always use clean disinfected equipment, ensure cooked and uncooked rice is kept in separate containers, in addition one must never use hands their hands to break up large clumps of rice due to the risk of Staphylococcus aureus being spread, also rice should be cooked in small quantities as near as possible to the time of serving, rice should always be served hot above 63 ºC and not be aloud to cool slowly due to the spores germinating and producing more bacteria. When ever rice is to be stored it must be cool quickly this can be done by running cold water over the rice and letting it drain thoroughly before it is put in the fridge and must be stored below 5ºC. Any uncooked rice must be kept clean and dry to ensure bacteria can not develop. Once the rice has been cooled it must not be reheated (Hobbs et al 1987 p.104). The serving of the food to the elderly must be vacuum packed to ensure the risk of the spread of bacteria is scarce. The hygiene of the chiefs in an elderly people home must be immaculate due to the high risks of spreading Staphylococcus aureus from the nose, skin – boils and cuts, therefore blue plasters must be worn at all times and depending on the level of the cut it if it extremely sever then they should not be handling or preparing food. Also staff need to ensure they have thoroughly washed there hands and wrists with disinfectant. In addition staff who are serving the meals to the elderly should never touch any food product to reduce the risk of contamination of foods from one to another (Varnam et al 1996 p.241). Furthermore all kitchen equipment needs to be cleaned and sanitised on a regular basis to reduce the spread of bacteria. None of the utensils or plates used in serving food to the elderly should be reused everything should be able to be thrown away in case bacteria develops within the fibres of the utensils and cutlery, and is not killed by high temperatures when it is cleaned. As a result it stops the risk of any bacteria spreading among the elderly. Special requirements need to be taken when feeding the elderly because they are more susceptible to disease due to their immunity or tolerance levels being excessively lower than the middle aged or teenagers (Varnam et al 1996 p.241).

Overall care needs to be taken when ever handling any food products to reduce the risks of bacteria spreading among the general public, as many diseases can be caught from person to person as well as from the consumption of contaminated food products. Moreover the handling and preparation of food is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly.


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Title: E coli O157:H7. How to detect hygiene issues and increase food safety