The World Health Organisation (WHO) created ten rules for safe food practice in the 1990s, which can be used by food businesses as a guide on how to produce food safely. The WHO created these rules to reduce and prevent the number of people suffering foodborne diseases and illnesses, which occur after consuming contaminated food. Therefore, the WHO's ten rules are a useful guide for food businesses to follow.
The WHO's ten rules for safe food practices:
1) Choose Foods Processed for Safety
There are certain types of foods which are safe in their natural form, such as fruit and vegetables, which only normally require a thorough wash with clean water.
However, certain types of food are not safe until they have been processed in a particular way. A good example is milk. Pasteurised milk is far better for us and safer to consume than raw milk. Therefore, always consider when foods have been processed for safety and how this can improve the safety of the food.
2) Cook Food Thoroughly
It is particularly important for raw foods, such as meat, to be cooked thoroughly to ensure that all bacteria, viruses and germs are completely killed.
3) Eat Cooked Food Immediately
Cooked food, which is left out on the side at room temperature, has germs on it which can multiply at room temperature. Therefore, cooked food should not be left out on the side for more than 2 hours. If it is left out on the side for more than 2 hours, it must be thrown away.
4) Store Cooked Foods Carefully
If you are going to store cooked food, you must do so in cool conditions, such as in the refrigerator. Refrigerated foods should be kept between the temperature of 0°C and 5°C, therefore refrigerators should be set at 3°C or 4°C.
It is important not to store a huge portion of cooked food in one refrigerator, as large portions prevent the food from cooling to the core as quickly as it should. The food must be cooled to the core. If the food is not cooled to the core, the bacteria will be able to multiply and contaminate the food. Therefore, it is only safe to eat cooked foods if they have been stored correctly.
5) Reheat Cooked Foods Thoroughly
Reheating cooked food must be done thoroughly, to ensure the food is piping hot throughout to kill any bacteria which has managed to grow. Therefore, food must be heated and reach the core temperature of 75 °C.
6) Avoid Contact Between Raw Foods and Cooked Foods
Cooked food should not come into contact with raw food. For example, using a chopping board to cut raw meat and then using the same chopping board to prepare cooked food, will allow bacteria from raw meat to transfer to the cooked food, resulting in cross-contamination. This can be very dangerous.
7) Wash Hands Repeatedly
It is important to wash hands prior to cooking, in-between cooking tasks and after cooking, to reduce the opportunity for bacteria from the hands to be transferred to the food.
Hand sanitizer can be useful to wash hands, but it is not as effective as soap and hot water. Ensure you are washing your hands properly and thoroughly.
8) Keep All Kitchen Surfaces Clean
All surfaces, equipment, utensils and areas which food comes into contact with, must be thoroughly cleaned to ensure cross-contamination between foods cannot occur, and to ensure germs from the surrounding area cannot contaminate the food.
9) Protect Foods from Insects, Rodents, and other Animals
Ensure your workplace does not allow insects, rodents or animals to enter the premises. Food must be stored in areas where no insects or other animals can enter, such as closed containers.
10) Use Safe Water
Safe water is essential. Water is needed when preparing food, from washing fruit and vegetables to boiling foods.
Therefore, understanding the WHO's ten rules can help food businesses to conduct food practices safely and hygienically.