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Workplace hygiene in a childcare setting

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Had the chicken meat salad been put in the refrigerator until it was ready to be spread on the bread and served immediately, then yes, it could safely be served to the children. However, the fact that it was already made way before consumption and left at room temperature wrapped in plastic may have given microorganisms to spread and contaminate the sandwiches which makes it unfit for consumption.
Salmonella, which often originates from the intestines of animals and birds and usually contaminates raw meat and Staphylococcus or Golden Staph, which produces a toxin in the food as it grows, are two common food poisoning bacteria.
Salmonella contaminates raw meat, especially chicken. It also can be found on vegetables since they come from the soil. Eggs are also prone to being contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. Staphylococcus contaminates non-acid, moist foods and most likely, dairy products, meat dishes, and egg products.
One type of non-bacterial food poisoning micro-organism is Viral Gastroenteritis which easily spreads to others in close contact with the infected person. Its origin is the human feces, which may unconsciously spread by simply touching contaminated work surfaces, a tap, toilet flush buttons or handles, children’s nappies or even toys; from drinking contaminated water or consuming food grown or washed with water that is contaminated.
Bacteria grow in room temperature, and incorrectly cooled foods. Leaving more than a day between preparation and service of the food at room temperature causes bacteria to spread.
Poor personal hygiene of food handlers who are infected with the bacteria
Inadequate cooking or reheating to kill the bacteria, if present
Dirty premises, appliances and equipment
Whereas bacteria can already be dangerous when it contaminates food, with mould, it becomes toxic when it produces substances called mycotoxins which can cause a lot more damage to the human body. If bacteria may contaminate foods upon contact, moulds grow in foods stored in warm and even room temperature.
Detergents help remove dirt and micro-organisms from a surface when used with water, as it suspends such substances in the wash water while sanitizers go deeper into the cleansing process by further reducing the number of micro-organisms left after using detergents by killing the with various methods such as steaming or using hot water in washing utensils, using chemicals like chlorine, quaternary ammonium compounds, alcohol.
Cockroaches are pesky insects that bring a whole lot of germs and are potential carriers of diseases so they must be eliminated. Methods to use can be:
Ensuring good hygiene and sanitation covering every nook and cranny
Spraying insecticide around possible shelters of cockroaches.
Using dust (insect chalk) penetrates through insect shelters.
Employment of pest controllers for regular fumigation as part of the regular maintenance of the centre.
Preparing chicken fingers is such an easy process and children like it very much. However, it might be tricky to prepare considering the ingredients used are prone to contamination. A critical control point will be the dipping of the raw chicken in egg, because the time it is left marinated in egg until the time it is cooked may be the critical point when the salmonella bacteria may creep in and contaminate the chicken. The control measure is to cook it right away in oil after the chicken is seasoned, dipped in egg and bread crumbs to prevent contamination and the critical limit applicable is to fry it until it is golden brown to ensure that the chicken is cooked all the way inside the bread crumbs.
The Center Based and Mobile Child Care Services Regulation 1996 indicates in its Part 3 the requirements for Administrative Procedures for the cooking staff. Specifically, it states that the cooking staff
Need to be thoroughly trained in food safety and nutrition
Are responsible for the preparation of meals and cleaning of the area of the premises used to prepare the meals.
Part 4 of this act is about the food preparation facility and states that
The premises should have a designated area for food preparation and storage, should be safe and hygienic
Must be well-equipped with kitchen appliances, furnishings, utilities and water supply
Areas for food preparation and storage facilities must be separate from nappy changing facilities or others that may be possible sources of germs and bacteria that may contaminate food in the food preparation and storage area.
The NSW Food Act 2003 is the main legislation relating to the safe handling of food and ensures that food consumed must be nutritious, clean and safe, prepared with the utmost care, proper hygiene and sanitation.
Food handlers suffering from food-borne diseases must be prevented from handling food.
The Food Safety Standards state that cooling hazardous food within two hours from 60 degrees Celsius to 21 degrees Celsius and within a further four hours from 21 degrees Celsius to 5 degrees Celsius.
Food handlers must be consistent in their hand washing to prevent contaminate food. They should wash hands before working with food, after visiting the toilet, after smoking, sneezing, coughing, wiping their noses with handkerchief, etc. Handwashing should be done in the handwashing area with potable, warm running water, soap and clean towels.
Hot food must be cooled enough before storing it in the refrigerator to prevent bacteria from breeding and the food from spoiling.
HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. It is a food safety program that critically examines and evaluates food safety in the child centre to ensure that every step in the manufacture and preparation of food is safe and that food served to the children is nutritious, clean and safe for consumption. This will prevent children from getting sick from the food served in the child care centre and ensure their health and safety.

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