Food Safety and Sanitation through Lethbridge First Aid
Are you a food service worker in Lethbridge, Alberta? If you are then you must know that all food establishments in the province fall under the Public Health Act on Food Regulation. That means you may be required by your employer to get trained in food safety and sanitation. Not all employees are required to receive this kind of training, but according to the act, the presence of trained employees are needed when a certain number of staff members is present during each shift.
Section 31 of the public health act specifies that (1) a trained supervisor has to be present when there are more than five employees working during a shift and(2) a trained service worker has to be present where there are less than six employees working during a shift. There are cases when Public Health Inspectors and Environmental Health Officers require all employees to be trained in food safety. Therefore, it is much better to be prepared.
Certificates that you will receive from training at Lethbridge First Aid do not expire. Food service workers, however, need to sign up for update courses every five years (or sooner). Update courses or refreshers allow students to re-learn the essentials of food safety and whatever new information and skills have been developed for the industry.
Why do I need to study food safety?
When a food establishment practices safe food handling, there is a very low risk of their products becoming contaminated by dangerous substances and microorganisms. Because of unsafe food handling at any step in the process from preparation to storage and service, pathogens and chemicals can end up on food that is ingested by consumers. This is dangerous, and causes a condition classified under foodborne illnesses.
When you get infected by a pathogen or poisoned by a chemical, you will most likely feel the following symptoms: abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. You may experience severe dehydration if the vomiting and diarrhea lasts over several days. There is an estimation that 4.5 millions of Canadians experience this condition each year, with most cases not being reported to the Lethbridge health authorities. Diarrhea alone kills more than two million people all over the world each year.
Getting started: Carriers of Microbes
Microbes do not just randomly appear on food. They are usually carried by another organism or substance which comes into contact with the food. The most common are animals and humans. Animals can carry parasites and microorganisms that can infect humans when contaminated food is ingested. Insects and vermin such as rats are common in establishments that are not cleaned regularly.
Humans can likewise carry parasites and microbes, particularly humans who are already sick. They can spread virus and bacteria if they do not practice proper hand hygiene before and after handling food. The fecal-oral route is very common for most foodborne illnesses, such as illnesses caused by Salmonella and E.coli. Be sure to wash your hands before you prepare/serve food to customers.