Some Important Facts About Microbiology: In Food Sanitation

Microbiology In Food Sanitation

The food-industry sanitarian is concerned with aseptic practices in the preparation, processing and packaging of the food products of a plant, the general cleanliess and sanitation of plant and premises, and the health of employees. Specific duties in connection with the food products may involve quality control and storage of raw product; the provision of a good water supply: prevention of the contamination of the foods at all stages during processing from equipment, personnel, and vermin; and supervision of packaging and warehousing of finished products. The supervision of cleanliness and sanitation of plant and permises includes not only the maintenance of clean and well-sanitized surfaces of all equipment touching the food but also generally good housekeeping in and about the plant and adequate treatment and of a potable water supply, supervision of matters of personal hygine, regulation of santary facilities in training employees in sanitary practice.

For the most part, sanitarians concern themselves chiefly with general aspects of sanitation, making inspection, consulting with personnel responsible for details of sanitation and executives directing such work, and training personnel in sanitation.

Food Safety

Food safety is a major focus of food microbiology. Numerous agents of disease, pathogens, are readily transmitted via food, including bacteria, and viruses. Microbial toxins are also possible contaminants of food. However, microorganisms and their products can also be used to combat these pathogenic microbes. Probiotic bacteria, including those that produce bacteriocins, can kill and inhibit pathogens. Alternatively, purified bacteriocins such as nisin can be added directly to food products. Finally, bacteria phages viruses that only infect bacteria, can be used to kill bacteria pathogens [5] Thorough preparation of food, including proper cooking eliminates most bacteria and viruses. However, toxins produced by contaminants may not be liable to change to non-toxic forms by heating or cooking the contaminated food due to other safety conditions.


Fermentation is one of the methods to preserve food and alter its quality Yeast especially Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is used to leaven bread, brew beer and make wine. Certain bacteria, including lactic acid bacteria are used to make yogut, cheese, hot sauce,pickles, fermented sausages and dishes such as kimchi. A common effect of these fermentations is that the food product is less hospitable to other microorganism including pathogens and spoilage causing microorganisms, thus extending the food’s shelf life. Some cheese varieties also require molds to ripen and develop their characteristic flavour.

Food and Equipment

  • All food must be obtained from an approved source.
  • Hazardous food must be maintained at proper temperature: 41° F or colder or 135° F or hotter at all times.
  • Facilities adequate to maintain food at a proper temperature at all times.
  • Thermometers available and used to monitor temperatures of hazardous foods.
  • Proper hand washing facilities available and used.
  • Equipment, utensils, and work surfaces cleaned and sanitized.
  • Proper ware washing facilities available and used.
  • Sanitizer test strips (chlorine) available and used.
  • Wiping cloths properly stored.
  • No cross contamination.
  • Food, ice, and utensils protected from contamination.
  • Floor and overhead covering adequate.
  • Adequate water supply, sewage disposal, trash disposal.
  • Gloves, hair restraints provided for food handlers.
  • Barbecue pits outside of buildings shall not be located within 10 feet of combustible walls or roofs or other combustible material.
  • Portable fire extinguishers shall be provided for barbecue pits.
  • Barbecue pits will not be placed near facility air intake vents.


  • Food handler representative shall have permit available for inspection at any time during the event.
  • No person shall work in a food service booth while infected with a communicable disease that can be transmitted by or while afflicted with a boil, an infected wound, or an acute respiratory infection.
  • No person suspected of being affected with a disease or condition shall be working in a food service booth.
  • The food handler representative or person in charge of the food service booth shall have the responsibility to remove a food handler if he/she has reason to suspect that he/she has contracted any such communicable disease or has become a carrier of such a disease.

Personal Hygiene

Food handlers shall wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water:

  • Before starting work
  • After visiting the toilet
  • After coughing or sneezing into the hands or handkerchief

Food Handlers Practices

  • Food handlers shall consume food in designated areas only.
  • Food handlers shall not use tobacco in any form while engaged in food preparation or service, nor while in areas where equipment and utensils are washed.
  • Food handlers shall never use a tasting spoon twice.
  • Food handlers shall carry and serve food in a sanitary manner.
    food handling diagram 1
  • Food handlers shall handle glasses, plates and chinaware in a sanitary manner.
    food handling diagram 2
  • Food handlers shall use sanitary plastic disposable gloves if food must be manipulated by hand.
  • Food handlers shall refrain from sneezing or coughing onto food.
  • Food handlers shall use only clean and sanitary equipment.
  • Food handlers shall use, whenever possible, separate cutting boards, blocks, tables, grinders, slicers, and other utensils for raw and cooked food. If the same equipment and utensils must be used, food handlers shall thoroughly clean and sanitize equipment used for raw food after each use.
  • Food handlers shall practice in a way to prevent cross contamination of bacteria during storage, preparation, display, and service of food.

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