Food Safety, Practices & Disposable Apparel

Food Safety

Foodborne illnesses have been receiving more media coverage recently. This has led to greater public awareness and we all need to increase food safety training levels for employees working in the food industry. This is essential for food safety and public health.

It is not only a requirement to meet food safety regulations but also a responsibility towards end clients as well as the general safety of people.

 

Prevent food product contamination:

  1. Ensuring food workers have an understanding of basic food protection practices: First of all, if employees understand food protection practices, such as staying clean and disease free, it goes a long way to prevent product contamination. Something as basic as hand washing prevents a range of complicated food borne illnesses. (Such as Salmonella typhi, Shigella species, shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or hepatitis A virus.)
  2. Ensuring no hair in food: Because it is important to acknowledge that hair in food is one of the most common errors in the food industry. While it is a human mistake, it is a potential source of microbiological and physical contamination. Wearing hairnets, beard covers and long sleeved smocks are essential.
  3. Ensuring minimal contamination as possible: It is not easy to completely eradicate contamination. This is because of microbes in the air that cannot be humanly prevented from entering food. However, employees can take key steps by wearing clean uniforms or disposable apparel. Keeping processing areas and utensils sanitized and not wearing jewelry that may fall into food.
  4. Keeping the food area disease free: Employees with flu or a cold should stay home. Coming to work sick can expose others at work and may contaminate food, leading to potentially much bigger issues.

Finger nails must always be clean and cut, personal hygiene maintained, and any illness reported. It is essential to equip employees with the correct personal protection products including food handling gloves, hair nets, beard guards (beard nets/covers) and face masks. Employers in the food industry must ideally provide a thoughtful and comprehensive training program.

 

Here are few things to remember when providing food safety training:

  1. Use of language

Employees may not share the same native tongue as the employer.  Translate instructions, practices, processes, and procedures to a language employees understand best. Explain the importance and benefits when you use disposable gloves during food handling. 

  1. Communication

Just like salary negotiations happen prior to employment, it is important to communicate proper and preferred hygiene practices at the same time. It is essential to be clear and precise. Wearing their hairnets and beard covers must be fully explained to the potential employee.

  1. Reaffirmation

A reaffirmation of the proper hygiene practices is essential with periodic training programs as well as innovative approaches such as displays of signs with pictures of good practices. Again, language plays a major role and  context. Cater to the employee’s known language.

 

Lastly, use safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage to prevent food-borne illness. You can’t see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. Keep food safety in mind for your employees, yourself, the consumer, and the general public.

Swabbing For Trace Evidence VS Swabbing For Fluids

evidence and fluid swabbing

When it comes to sample collection there are two very different types. One is swabbing for blood or bodily fluids, the other is collecting trace evidence. It is important to note that while collecting fluid almost always involves using  a swab on  a visible portion piece of evidence, collecting trace evidence isn’t  always that straight forward. In this context, we must discuss forensic swabs.

 

Forensic Swabs

When it comes to trace evidence, methods of collection may involve the use of several other tools such as tape, sterilized needle-nose tweezers and dry transport systems. The swab comes in handy when collecting touch DNA from skin cells, fingerprints, or gunshot residue as well as explosions, arson.

 

Trace evidence with a swab is still different from when a swab is used to collect blood, semen and other bodily fluids.

 

Choosing The Right Kind of Swab

When choosing the right kind of swab, it is strongly suggested to choose DNA-Controlled Swabs.

These are swabs that are most specifically labeled DNA-Free Swabs or DNA-controlled. This translates to these being absolutely free of any human contaminants like DNA, DNase, and RNase which would compromise the sample. Always choose DNA-Free Swabs.

 

Among DNA-Controlled Swabs, the DNA-controlled flocked swab has proved to be popular because of its its unique micro structure. This micro structure makes it a better alternative to the standard cotton swab. Basically,  DNA controlled flocked swab by virtue of its structure can collect, retain and elute specimen the best. This makes it perfect for PCR, molecular assays, DNA testing and direct antigen testing.

 

However, this does not meant that the DNA- controlled cotton tipped swab in unacceptable. In cases where a large sample is needed and advance collection and elution needs are not there, a sterile and DNA controlled cotton tipped swab with a wooden or polystyrene handle is quite acceptable.

 

When DNA collection at a crime scene is undertaken, a comparison sample is a must. This helps in elimination of suspects leading to ultimate identification.. This is achieved by drawing the sample from the buccal cells from inside the cheek. This is buccal cell collection. It is recommended that foam tipped or cotton tipped swabs are used for this type of cell collection.

For instance, if the sample has to be moved to FTA cards, a large, round foam-tipped swab is ideal. With an extra large tip, this swab type provides extra surface area for maximum sample collection and preservation and minimizes discomfort. Alternatively if there is no requirement to transfer the sample to FTA cards, the sterile medical grade cotton swab with its own dry transport tube is perfect.

 

When it comes to trace evidence such as gunshot residue or touch DNA, sample size and sample type determines the decision on type of swab. For small samples the flocked swab with its unique precision and absorption capabilities come in handy and for large samples foam swabs work best.

 

The above thus covers most on forensic swabs and is sure to help choose the best swab for the requirement.

 

Shop our quality selection of Forensic Swabs and Sterile Swabs.

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