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Food-borne illnesses are caused by the presence of foreign objects, chemicals or harmful microorganisms in food that are health

hazards.

Physical Hazards
Foreign objects in food can cause injuries when that food is eaten. These are referred to as physical hazards. Common examples include: Tiny pebbles that are found among rice grains, or in dried peas and beans Fragments of broken glass found in ice because of scooping ice with a glass scoop instead of plastic or metal one Short, un-frilled toothpicks used to hold a sandwich together. False fingernails from a food worker's hand Strands of hair Jewelry accidentally dropped into food Items such as rubber bands, staples and plastic bandages Any food item that contains a physical hazard must be discarded.

Chemical Hazards
Chemical hazards may be introduced into a food item accidentally or deliberately, or may occur naturally in the food itself. A chemical can be introduced into a food accidentally by the careless use of insecticides, storing cleaning agents and other chemicals next to open foods, and storing acidic foods in metal containers. Contamination can be avoided by: Using an experienced, licensed exterminator to apply insecticides and rodenticides. Storing cleaning and other chemicals, including personal medication, away from foods, preferably in a locked cabinet. Storing acidic foods in containers made of food-grade plastic. Clearly labeling all chemicals and following instructions for their use. Chemicals may be used in food items to enhance its taste or appearance, which may cause consumers to become ill. Common examples include: Sulfites used to maintain the color and freshness of cut fruits and vegetables. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) used to enhance food flavor. Excessive use of sulfites and MSG can result in a serious allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. Adding sulfites to food in a food service establishment is prohibited. Certain foods may contain sulfites when they are produced in a licensed food processing plant, but none may be added when preparing food in a food service establishment. Use of MSG is acceptable when used in moderation and disclosed on the menu. Chemicals found naturally in certain foods may cause food-borne illnesses. Mushrooms can be

either poisonous or non-poisonous; it is difficult to distinguish one type from the other. To be sure mushrooms are not poisonous, they must be purchased from a reliable commercial source. Toxins in certain fish can also be a serious problem. Some fish contain natural toxins and others accumulate toxins from their food or habitat; others develop toxins during storage. Some varieties of the puffer fish produce a deadly poison (tetrodotoxin); eating these fish when they are not properly prepared can result in death. Highly skilled chefs are able to remove the poisonous parts, leaving only the edible parts of the fish. Accumulation of mercury, penta-chlorophenol (PCP) and other harmful chemicals can occur in fish and other seafood if these chemicals have contaminated their habitat. Certain predatory fish, such as barracuda, feed on smaller fish that feed on algae, which during certain seasons and in certain waters may be toxic. This toxicity accumulates in the smaller fish and then in the larger fish that eat them. The poison ciguatoxin, which is not destroyed by cooking, is found in certain fish and causes the food-borne illness ciguatera.

Barracuda Scombroid poisoning is another food-borne illness caused by eating marine fish from the Scombroidae family (for example, tuna and mackerel), and a few non-Scombroidae relatives such as bluefish, dolphin and amberjacks. These fish have high levels of histidine in their flesh which, as the fish decompose, is converted into histamine that can trigger an allergic reaction that mimics a heart attack. Cooking does not destroy histamine; all fish must be gutted and refrigerated soon after being caught. Biological Hazards
The most significant health hazard comes from the smallest and simplest living organisms bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi which pose a serious threat since, unlike physical hazards, they cannot be easily seen with the naked eye or otherwise detected. Some are visible under a microscope, such as bacteria and viruses (which pose the biggest threat to food safety), and parasites are visible under an intense source of light known as candling. Others, such as fungi, are only visible when sufficient colonies have formed.

FOOD ALLERGY
This is a Reaction to a Food or Ingredient that the body mistakenly believes to be harmful. Millions of Americans suffer from allergic reactions to food each year. Most of these food allergies are mild in nature, but, some food allergies can cause severe reactions, and may even be life-threatening.

There is no cure for food allergies. Avoidance of food allergens and early recognition and management of allergic food reactions are crucial to prevent serious health consequences.

Common Symptoms
Following are some of the common symptoms:

Mild
o o o o

Itching Wheezing Hives Swelling of face and eyes

Severe
o o

Loss of consciousness due to air way obstruction Death

Eight Most Common Allergens Although an individual could be allergic to any food product, such as fruits, vegetables, and meats, there are eight foods that account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions: Fish Peanuts Wheat Soy Tree Nuts Eggs Milk Shell Fish Here's an easy way to remember them: Food Problems Will Send The EMS These eight foods as well as any food that contains proteins from one or more of these foods are called "major food allergens" by law. Additives that Trigger Allergies: Following are some of the common food additives used in the food industry: Nitrites - added in meats for redness Sulfites - added to dried and preserved fruits and vegetables for freshness

MSG added to enhance the flavor of food

Customer Safety
In order to protect the customers, it is important that there is full disclosure of the use of these common eight allergens to the customers. This can be done in the following manner:

By describing details of menu items When uncertain about any ingredient;inform the customer immediately Ensure that food has no contact with ingredients to which customer is allergic to