Summer’s here & it appears even the bugs like a party!
Food safety & hot weather – not a good combination
Food safety is just so vital and with the hotter weather, food businesses must be vigilant in ensuring that their systems are up to scratch and able to cope with the heat.
Fridges will sometimes have a hard time staying under 5ᵒC when the ambient temperatures increase. Also, production will often increase in Spring and Summer as people thaw out after Winter, and as more public holidays means more time for parties, etc. Increased storage in your fridges can also be a cause of temperature rise in food.
A study of food recalls [from the Food Standards web site] over a 12 month period shows that in Summer there are far more food recalls due to microbiological causes than at any other time of the year. In fact between October 2015 and October 2016 there were 68 food recalls. This equates to more than 5 per month or more than 1 per week.
A public food recall is only conducted when there is no other method of gathering all of the contaminated food for destruction. The Food Standards organisation sends emails detailing the recalls to those on their data bases. During a recall all of the food company’s documents are accessed to try to find where the food was delivered, media ads are placed advising the public of the product subject of the recall, etc. As much as possible is done to ensure that the majority of the food is recalled to the manufacturer/supplier for destruction. This can do major damage to a food businesses reputation.
Percentage of Food Recalls in each season
Over the 12 months October 2015 to October 2016, during the Summer period, the recalls due to microbiological contamination accounted for 53%. (Micro activity in food can be controlled by controlling the temperature of the food). This is a huge percentage and, as you can’t always tell if the food is contaminated by looking at it, smelling or tasting it, then there is enormous potential for people to become ill if they are unaware of the recall and eat the contaminated food. During the same 12 months, of the recalls conducted in Winter, only 17% were due to microbiological contamination.
Autumn recalls due to micro contamination were 37% of the total for Autumn & in Spring micro contamination recalls were 21% of the total for Spring.
Food businesses need to be producing safe food [obviously] but there are many in the food industry who feel that they are never to blame. They feel that their food is perfect & it is always someone else with poor procedures who is producing contaminated food. Unfortunately this type of contamination is happening more frequently. Unsafe micro contamination is happening in more & more businesses despite the diligence of the Food Standards organisation and that of the food inspectors in all states.
Get your correct temperature equipment and use it
More care needs to be taken by all food producing businesses to ensure that the food they sell is safe for consumption. Accurate temperature probes need to be used more frequently in the hotter weather to make sure all food safety controls are in place and adequate. HLP Controls are major suppliers of a huge range of temperature probes and data loggers, and we specialise food safe equipment for the food industry.
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