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View the documentKeeping chemicals out of your food
View the documentFood safety practices

Food safety practices

Food is a basic human need. However, through carelessness and ignorance, food can also be a source of contamination which can cause diseases or, sometimes, death.

Advancements in science have improved the levels of food safety. Food preservation, causes of spoilage and reasons why food can cause illness were learned from studies.

The objectives of food safety practices are:

· to insure primarily the consumption of safe and wholesome food;
· to protect humans from illness and to promote their health and well-being;
· to prevent consumers from buying inferior and low-quality food; and,
· to cut down spoilage and wastage of food.

Buying food safety

Food sources

· Procure food and food materials only from approved sources to prevent food infection or food intoxication (e.g., markets, supermarkets, groceries, bakeries and stores; meat, poultry, grain, egg, fish and shellfish shops; and, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and rootcrop stalls.)

· Avoid buying food that show signs of deterioration, adulteration or damages, even when sold at bargain prices. Canned goods with leaks, swells and bulges can be poisonous.

· Buying junk food is discouraged. Junk food may have less nutritional value and may be inferior in quality.

· Never buy shellfish when your area is affected by Red Tide. Get the latest news updates from your local radio station, newspaper or other reliable sources of information.

· Avoid buying food from ambulant food vendors, particularly those that are not wearing their Health Certificate IDs. Food from these vendors are not guaranteed safe.

· Patronize only food establishments bearing the SSRS (Sanitation Standard Rating Stickers). You can be sure that food establishments bearing the SSRS are operating legally, are frequently inspected by health authorities and have complied to minimum sanitary requirements on health and sanitation. With SSRS, the potential risk of transmitting communicable disease is minimized. The SSRS are usually posted at the doors of food establishments with the following color codes: green for an excellent rating (90% - 100%), yellow for very satisfactory (70% -89%) and red for satisfactory (50% - 69%).

Junk food

· Use your senses when buying food. Consult and/or report to the proper authorities when you are in doubt of the food quality. Remember, it is your money and health that is at stake.


Food containers and transport

· Make sure that the food containers you are using are clean and can easily be cleaned and disinfected.

· Packed lunches or snacks for school children and other members of the family should be placed in clean, sanitized and covered containers (e.g., lunch boxes and juice/water jugs). These should be consumed within the day. Use only clean paper wrapper for sandwiches, bread, cookies, etc.

· It is highly recommended that containers be solely for the carriage or delivery of one class of food.

· Prevent food deterioration during transportation. It should be stored at proper temperature (below 7°C or 60°C) to prevent microbial growth.

· Consult the Department of Health (DOH) for further information on the approved design and construction of containers and transport vehicles.

Food containers and transport

Food Handling and Preparation

· Use only safe and wholesome food materials.

Use only safe and wholesome food materials

· Thoroughly wash food materials with safe water.

· Equipment and utensils should always be cleaned and sanitized before using. Consult the DOH Sanitary Inspectors in the sanitization activities.

· Prepare, process and cook food in a sanitary manner. Food contact surfaces (e.g., tables, cutting/chopping boards) should be free from cracks and crevices and should be cleaned before and after preparing food.

· Avoid eating food with bare hands. Where eating utensils are not available, wash hands with soap and water before eating. If soap is unavailable, use ash.

· Avoid eating raw food. Adequate cooking of food (beef, pork, shellfish, fish, shrimps, squids, poultry, vegetables, etc.) will prevent bacterial infection and intoxication, viral infection and parasitic infestation. Pasteurization of milk and milk products is required before consumption.

Adequate cooking

· Re-heating, warmed-over food and serving leftover food are discouraged. Prepare food enough for your consumption.

· Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and, if possible, with a nail brush before preparing food, after each visit to the toilet and after handling soiled or contaminated equipment and utensils.

Wash your hands

· Always observe personal hygiene and personal habits while handling food. Do not scratch your head, pick your nose or wipe your mouth with your fingers while preparing food. Sneezing or coughing is not only a bad manner but also unsanitary.

· Do not be involved in food preparation if you have diarrhea, dripping nose, sore throats, colds, skin diseases, infected wounds, boils, cuts or pimples. Human discharge can contaminate food and can produce toxins.

Food storage

· Always separate storage for wet and dry food and for non-food items, particularly detergents, chemicals and pesticides.

· Separate storage by the type and kind of food.

· Apply the principle of FIFO (First In - First Out) in storing food.

· Food should be stored away from floors and walls. Place them in pallets, platforms, shelves or food cabinets.

· Protect food from insect and rodent infestation and from other contaminants.

· Store food in refrigerators, if available.

· All food should be stored at proper temperatures.

Separate food and non-food items

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992