I sometimes hear from home-based food business owners who are incensed that they’re told what to do in their kitchens. Recently, a new business owner asked about “those stupid rules” and how strict they are, because “no one keeps a cleaner kitchen” than she does. She sent a couple of photos to prove her point.
I saw: a can of (chemical) bug spray between the faucet and an opened bag of flour; her child’s baseball mitt and bat leaning precariously over the shelf above her work space; ingredients in glass jars; the garbage can lid slightly open with items visible; a scale coated with food residue; and an ashtray. (Really? An ashtray?)
I’m sure she only focused on her neat counter and a stack of clean folded dishtowels. But she was in the middle of production; these things would be significant regulation issues to a health inspector.
Food safety classes can be found in most regions and many agencies offer online classes. There’s also free material on the internet. If you have not had a chance to look at food safety information, this brochure from the National Food Service Management Institute is a good start.
There are three kinds of hazards to beware of in food preparation.
1. Biological hazards: bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms cause 93% of the incidences of foodborne illness.
2. Chemical hazards: toxins, heavy metals, improperly used pesticides, cleaning compounds, and food additives account for 4% of the incidences of foodborne illness.
3. Physical hazards: foreign objects like glass, metal, plastic, and wood that may cause illness or injury if they find their way into food products.
Home-Based Baking at its Best! In our own kitchens we often don’t notice potential health risks that trained inspectors can see. Guidance from professionals should be welcomed. Take notes!