Food safety hazards can take you straight to the emergency room if you aren’t careful. The thing is, even if a product or dish looks, smells, and tastes good, it may still be dangerous to eat. You should always look out for food hazards and keep others safe by reporting anything suspicious before it’s too late. Here are some signs that food service employees or even customers should be wary of:
- Food items that look, smell or taste strange. Bulging food cans may have been thawed or refrozen.
- Food products that have damaged or open packaging.
- Products that are past their ‘use by’ dates.
Reporting food safety hazards
If you see any of the abovementioned signs, you can report them to government agencies that are responsible for different parts of the food supply chain. In case you need to report hazardous or unusual meat, processed egg and poultry products for example, you can contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline by dialing 1-888-MPHotline. You can also report the issue online.
However, the USDA only looks into hazardous food products if you have evidence to back up your claims. So if you want them to investigate you need to have the following in hand:
- The original packaging or container of the product.
- Any foreign item you might have seen in the product.
- Uneaten part of the food. Refrigerate or freeze this so it does not spoil before the USDA has a chance to examine it.
In case you want to make a complaint through the hotline, make sure you have the following information handy:
- The brand, product name and manufacturer name of the product.
- The size of the packaging and the type of packaging.
- The Establishment number (EST). You can find this on the ‘USDA passed and inspected’ shield on the product.
- The codes of the can or the package.
- The location and the name of the store you bought the product from.
If you decide not to complain to the USDA, you can complain to the store or the manufacturer of the product.
Utah Food Handler Training Certificate
If you want to work in the food industry in Utah or any state for that matter, you need to get a food handlers permit first. Sign up for Utah Food Handler Training Certificate from Learn2Serve.com today. The training program teaches students about common food safety issues and the techniques they need to prevent hazards and protect themselves and the customers against food poisoning and contamination.