Three types of hazards that cause foodborne illness.

Updated: Jul 12

Hazards, also known as contaminants or foreign particles, that can harm and be the prime source for foodborne illness. Many times, you must have had an experience of finding a hair strand/stones/small metal chips or sand in food, but were you able to identify the type of hazard?


There are three types of hazards/contaminants

Physical Contaminant/Hazard

Any particle that can be easily picked and sensed by touching. These are those contaminants that accidentally found its way into the food or can be on purpose too.


Examples:- Hair Strand, metal chips, pins, staple pin, dust, plastic chips, insect, glass pieces.

These, when consumed, can cause allergic and food poisoning effects on the body. A severe case is when the contaminants consumed in a more significant number.


How can this be prevented?

  • Tie your hair or cover your hair with a proper head cap whenever cooking.

  • Use shield/shatterproof covering on your lights to prevent it from shattering and those glass pieces falling into the food.

  • Do not seal any open packets with staple pins. They rust and higher chances of them falling into the food.

  • Do not use any rusted equipment. Ensure to give it a coat of paint every quarterly.

  • If there is any broken material, clear them as soon as possible and away from the kitchen.

  • Deep-clean the kitchen regularly.


Chemical Contaminant/Hazard

Hazards through chemical products. This contamination is not visible through naked eyes, but the following examples can be sources of contamination through chemicals.


Examples:- Pesticides, Sanitizing agents, cleaning agents, toxic metals, preservatives.

Utensils/ Equipment containing potentially Toxic metals

  1. Copper

  2. Brass

  3. Lead

  4. Zinc

Highly acidic and citric foods like tomatoes, oranges, and lemons can react with metals.


How can this be prevented?

  • Store chemicals away from food products.

  • Ensure all the chemical bottles are sealed and appropriately closed without any leakage.

  • Ensure cleaning post pest control

  • Use chemicals according to the specified dilution and recommended concentration.

  • Ensure there are labels on every chemical stored. Do not store any chemicals in a used food package-bottle.

  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling chemicals.

  • Do not use any plastics for the cooking or heating process unless mentioned specifically.

Biological Contaminants/Hazards

As complicated as the term would sound, the biological hazards are microbial contaminants (bacteria, virus, fungi, parasite, biological toxins) that can cause severe foodborne illnesses.


Examples:- Seafood toxins, Mushroom toxins, Clostridium Botulinum, Salmonella.


How can this be prevented?

  • Buy items only from registered and approved vendors by the FSSAI/ regulatory bodies of your respective countries.

  • Buy what is needed and do not overstock.

  • Mold-affected vegetables are to be discarded before the fungus/mold spread and contaminate other vegetables.

  • Maintain Good Personal Hygiene

  • Practice hand washing once in an hour

  • Pest control

  • Control humidity

  • Control Temperatures

  • Do not use any fish with a slimy layer of texture on the exterior part.

  • Clean and sanitize facilities and equipments.

  • Follow a cleaning schedule.

  • Store dry food dry and do not store them in a wet container.

I hope now, it is easier to identify the hazards and the severity as well. Prevention is better than cure. Always ensure to follow the preventive measures before it is too late to eradicate the contaminants.


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