There is always a risk of food borne illnesses if the food is not appropriately processed or handled. That is why it is important to follow all the safety measures while handling foods, especially non-vegetarian foods. The biggest health risk that meat, poultry and fish products can cause, comes from cross contamination. The common points of cross contamination could be the chopping boards, utensils, knives and hands. Since raw meat and poultry contain a lot of liquid, it is important that handlers do not allow the uncooked liquid to contaminate the already prepared foods and salads that are ready for consumption. FSSAI has therefore laid down certain guidelines for handling these high risk products which you should use as a thumb rule to ensure the safety.
High risk non-vegetarian food products need to be handled with special attention right from purchase to consumption. It is for this reason that FSSAI has laid down certain regulations that ensure safety of the consumers. Food Business Operators must follow these guidelines, when dealing with non-vegetarian products.
- You must purchase non-vegetarian products, whether processed or raw, only from licensed vendors/ slaughter houses. Ensure that the temperature of chilled products you are buying is at 5°C or below and that of frozen foods – 18°C or below. You should also have the cold storage arrangement to maintain these temperatures.
- You should never purchase meat or poultry products that either have torn packaging or have packets that are leaking.
- Before preparing or using non-veg products wash them thoroughly in potable water.
- Clean and disinfect the processing area immediately after use
- Prepare and process meat, poultry and fish separately
- Cook non-vegetarian products thoroughly. The core temperature of the cooked product should be 75°C for at least 15 seconds or according to an effective time/ temperature control of 65°C for 10 minutes, 70°C for 2 minutes
- Cover all non-vegetarian products that you want to store in the refrigerator. Store non-vegetarian products below vegetarian products
- You must also store raw and cooked products separately. Store cooked products on the top and raw products below the cooked products
- Remove immediately all left over refuse or waste of raw meat, poultry and fish from the preparation area
We may like to suggest here that FBOs should avoid serving the Raw Meat, Raw Eggs and Raw Seafood in any of the dishes.