Tag Archive for 'Dangerous Food'

FSANZ warns against consuming raw apricot kernels.

On the 4th November 2011 Food Standards Australia New Zealand, the Government body responsible for Food Safety guidelines and legislation issued warnings against consuming raw apricot kernels. The raw kernels are often used as a cancer treatment or preventative cancer supplement.

The following information has been reproduced with permission of FSANZ:

“Food Standards Australia New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Steve McCutcheon today warned consumers against eating raw apricot kernels following the discovery of high levels of a naturally occurring toxin in some products available in Australia.

There are different types of apricot kernels, some of which contain high levels of the toxin that can release cyanide into the body when eaten. Adults eating as few as four of these kernels a day could become very ill – children should not eat any.

Testing of a number of raw apricot kernels by state and territory health authorities found they contained high levels of the toxin that can release hydrocyanic acid, a cyanide compound, in the gut. These products are currently being investigated and a recall is occurring. The products have been sold nationally on-line and at some health food stores.

While some raw apricot kernels are promoted as an alternative therapy for cancer treatment, the Cancer Council of Australia has published a position statement that cautions consumers about using alternative therapies, including laetrile (apricot kernels).

If you have recently purchased the recalled raw apricot kernels you are advised not to eat them. Return the product to point of sale for a refund or dispose of it safely out of the reach of children and pets. More information (including individual state health authorities) about this recall is available on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website.

Anyone who has eaten these products and is concerned about their health should seek medical advice.

Apricot Kernels are also sometimes used to assist jams to thicken, however FSANZ has indicated that fresh and dried apricots, apricot juice and jam are not affected.

The Science Behind Food Safety

Words like, ‘food poisoning’, ‘foodborne illness’ and ‘kitchen accidents’ are very common when talking about food safety in general. What isn’t talked about as much is the science behind all of it.

Since the majority of food safety revolves around foodborne pathogens, scientific research is the foundation of all food safety rules with two main types of research: Laboratory experimentation and investigation.

Because most countries’ governments depend on disease and food surveillance data to regulate their country’s types of foodborne pathogens, different types of testing are required for epidemiology, food microbiology and food technology. All of this falls under laboratory experimentation and provides the types of harmful microorganisms found in food that causes disease along with the level of risk involved.

After this data is discovered and on hand, food safety specialists take on the essential role of investigator to assist the public in awareness and help food businesses keep their industrial kitchens free from foodborne illnesses.

This investigation is extremely important, to say the least, for any well-run food establishment, especially considering there are over 200 known bacterial pathogens that exist in a spore or vegetative cell, viruses, parasites and toxins. That’s a scary number of foodborne pathogens which is why trained professionals are needed to handle this spectrum of the food business!

If not, restaurants may end up doing their own inspections, much like this man:

What Mistakes Does Your Team Make in Food Preparation?

Anyone who owns or runs a restaurant or other food preparation business wants to provide their customers with a safe and quality product.  Unfortunately, there are times when mistakes are made and the end result could be a sick or even dead patron.

Do you know that there are approximately 5.4 million cases of food poisoning a year in Australia?  Of these 120 will end with the loss of someone’s life.  All of these cases of food poisoning could be prevented if proper steps had been taken in the preparation of the food products they ingested.  I am sure that everyone in your kitchen wants and tries to comply with food safety standards, however, mistakes happen.  Or what if those standards are simply not enough?  What if there was more you could do to protect the people who are entrusting you with their well-being?  Would you take the opportunity to learn enough to guarantee your foods safety?

A food safety expert can save your kitchen the embarrassment of causing people to fall ill after eating your food.  With about 5.4 million cases of food poisoning a year, it is only a matter of time before someone gets sick from your kitchen; unless you are willing to do all that it takes to prevent it from happening.  By allowing a food safety expert to assist your staff, they can ensure that no one will get food poisoning from your kitchen.  Wouldn’t you enjoy that piece of mind?

A food safety expert can also make your establishment a more profitable one.  As people begin to talk about the wonderful experience they had dining in your restaurant, more guests will come in to try your menu for themselves.  What pride you would feel knowing you were running a place people loved to come into then told their friends about it.

AGB is the only Australian company owned and operated by an apprentice Chef of the Year.  Gavin Buckett is a food and safety expert and is making it his mission to teach restaurant owners and managers how to better protect their patrons and their businesses.

There are different food safety programs available to suit your individual needs.  For example, they can have their auditors come to your establishment and provide weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual audits depending on your desire.  AGB can also provide your kitchen with management solutions such as; menu writing, cost control, equipment recommendations, event planning, sourcing suppliers, food preparation and handling training, product and recipe development, and allergen controls.  In addition, AGB also has a food safety compliance system.  It is a twelve-month course that only requires 10 minutes of your time each week.  This program teaches you tips, techniques and new teachings, all of which will make your restaurant a success.

When your establishment is run properly; is clean, organised, and putting out delicious quality products, word spreads.  When your restaurant is dirty, disorganised and putting out subpar products, word spreads.  What do you want people to be saying about your kitchen?

The HACCP systems designed by AGB Solutions Pty Ltd are practical and easy to read and each program is specifically designed for each client’s business. As most clients are implementing HACCP for the first time, AGB Solutions have designed an 11 Point Checklist for HACCP Certification Success so that we can provide our Guarantee to your success. Click here to see what we include in our 11 point checklist.

Are your Food Safety Preparation Systems Setting You Up For Disaster?

If you are someone who is in charge of one, or several kitchens in the bustling city of Melbourne, you already know that the sanitation and health of both your workers and your customers needs to be one of your highest priorities.

There are many things to keep in mind when you are looking at making sure that your kitchen meets the food safety standards standards that have been set by the health code, but the truth of the matter is that for even the most conscientious of kitchens, it can be easy to get sloppy.

When you are looking at the sanitation of your kitchen and the good health practices of your staff, there are many things that are at stake.  The goal of many restaurateurs is to ensure that customers have an enjoyable experience and that they associate the restaurant with good times.  This is much harder to do if they get sick.

There is also the fact that if you are careless with your sanitation you can, and most likely will run into legal difficulties. There are many things that you can do to help leave legal matters out of your life, and taking care of your health issues is one of them.  Also keep in mind that it doesn’t take much to ruin the reputation of even an established restaurant.

There are some very basic things that can be done to reduce the chances of a food poisoning outbreak at your restaurant.  First, make certain that your staff are educated on matters of food safety.  Verify that they are aware that spoiled food does not necessarily look or smell different from food that is good, and let them know that food must be kept hot or very cold in order to make sure that bacterium doesn’t grow on it.

Remember that all food should always be covered and that raw and cooked foods should always be kept separate. Take some time to make sure that food is not defrosted in the open air and that hands are washed before and after handling food.

Also take care that the various hot and cold places in your kitchen meet the requirements of the local legislation, and always store meats on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator in order to keep juices from dripping down onto other foods. These are the basics for a commercial kitchen, but remember that as a general rule, the busier the kitchen, the more stringent food safety procedures need to be.

Amidst the calamity that dinner time can bring to commercial kitchens it can be exhausting to keep even the simplest orders in mind, let alone adhering to proper food safety procedures. However the reputation of your restaurant depends on these procedures so it is vital that you take no chances. The more streamlined your procedures are the more likely they are to be followed by your staff. Consultation with a food safety expert is often a worthwhile exercise. These people can evaluate your current procedures and suggest any improvements to strengthen your restaurant’s ability to produce safe, quality food.

Gavin can be contacted at gavin@agbsolutions.com.au or through his website at www.australianfoodsafety.com.au.

Food Poisoning – Is Your Food Safe?

Outbreaks of food poisoning have been in the news a lot as of late. As you know, many of these outbreaks were traced to restaurants. No matter where in the world you are, there are safety regulations which must be followed and Australia is no exception.

In many cases of food poisoning, Salmonella is the culprit. Raw poultry and eggs are generally the source of this bacterium in foods, but this bacterium can also be carried by contamination from faeces as well as pet reptiles.

Salmonella is a bacterium which can affect many types of food items. Usually, raw poultry and eggs are the prime suspects in salmonella related food poisoning cases, but contamination from faeces and pet reptiles can also carry these bacteria. There are two ways to prevent salmonella form causing food poisoning which are guaranteed to be effective: thoroughly cooking food before serving and regular, thorough hand washing before, during and after cooking or eating.

Escherichia coli (or E-coli for short) is a form of bacteria which can cause serious illness or even death. Found naturally inside of the human body and in some foods, some strains can be lethal. E-coli produces harmful, toxic substances and includes unpleasant (to say the least) symptoms including watery and/or bloody diarrhea. A healthy adult can generally weather a case of E-coli food poisoning, but the elderly, the sick and young children are at risk of getting very ill if infected. As with salmonella, the way to prevent E-coli infection is thorough cooking and regular hand washing, along with careful cleaning of all cooking areas. Hand washing should become a thoroughly ingrained habit. You use your hands to pick up everything – even harmful microbes.

With all of the stories about food poisoning in the news, it’s understandable that some people are a little nervous about dining out. To make sure that your establishment keeps your customers safe from the risk of infection, be sure to follow the HACCP principles. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points and is a set of principles designed to make sure that foods prepared for people to eat are safe. Many of these regulations are simply common sense, such as putting milk back into the refrigerator after use or dating items before freezing.

Being in charge of a restaurant means that you have to keep a handle on a lot of things at once – make sure that HACCP principles are at the top of your list. All of the hard work you’ve put into your business could be lost if someone gets ill from your food due to a preventable mistake by an employee unaware of the food safety regulations.

Having a HACCP certified kitchen is very marketable. If you have received stickers or certifications from health officials, be sure to place them where your customers can see them. This way they know that the food which you are serving to them was prepared in a clean kitchen which complies with health and safety regulations and they can dine in without getting anxious.