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Healthy Eating

The Three Types of Hazards That Make Food Unsafe Are

Food safety is crucial to making sure your food is safe to eat. Still, there are many factors but, the three types of hazards that make food unsafe are biological, physical, and chemical.

According to the CDC, each year, roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of food poisoning. 

Luckily, adequate food safety practices lead to less cases of foodborne illness each year by preventing these three types of hazards.

I’m going to go over the three hazards and tell you how you can avoid them.

The Three Types of Hazards That Make Food Unsafe Are

Food safety hazards discuss all the possible problems in food production, storage, and distribution. 

Some of these hazards are natural, while others are not. In any case, when dealing with food handling, prevention is always better than cure.

Biological Hazard in Foods

Thses hazards are non-physical hazards that are characterized by the contamination of food by microorganisms. Biological hazards can be natural or manufactured. 

The most commonly known form of a biological hazard is generally referred to as “food poisoning” or “foodborne illness.” 

Food poisoning results from eating food or beverages contaminated with disease-causing bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins.

What is an example of a Biological Hazard?

Here are the top biological hazards examples that you need to be aware of.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Salmonella is found in all types of poultry, such as chicken and turkey and raw eggs. 

It is also found in beef, pork, and packaged foods that contain poultry or raw eggs. 

Other foods that may cause Salmonella to cross-contaminate include raw fruits and vegetables that have had contact with contaminated water and meats and seafood prepared on the same cutting board and handled by the same knife.


Norovirus causes acute gastroenteritis—a common form of food poisoning commonly found in Produce, shellfish, ready-to-eat foods.

According to estimates from CDC, each year, there are 19 million cases of foodborne illness in the United States, approximately 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths. 

The symptoms of norovirus include nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. When symptoms appear, they typically last 24-48 hours. 

Noroviruses are extremely infectious and can spread easily from person to person. Infected individuals frequently contaminate their environment with the virus by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then transferring hand-soiled items to their mouth or nose.


The bacteria can be found in water that is contaminated by wild birds or agricultural practices. 

The disease is also common among people who work with poultry, either commercially or at home. 

It can be contracted through eating undercooked or raw poultry, depending on its level of contamination. 

Symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and diarrhea that usually occur within one to five days of exposure.

  1. E.coli

E.coli are bacteria that normally live in the intestines of humans and animals. Most strains are harmless, but some can cause illness. 

Its spread primarily by eating raw or undercooked meat or contaminated Produce such as lettuce and sprouts, drinking contaminated water, eating food that has come in contact with feces (poop), and connecting with fecal matter through hands, animals, or people who have been in contact with feces.

2. Listeria

Listeria contamination may occur in ready-to-eat foods or require further preparation (such as cooking or baking). 

Ready-to-eat foods include hot dogs, cold cuts, deli meats, soft cheeses (such as feta, camembert, and brie), raw milk (unpasteurized), cheeses, raw mushrooms, and raw sprouts. 

Especially vulnerable to Listeria contamination are cold cuts and hot dogs kept at room temperature for long periods because the bacteria thrive in the environment of hard foods. 

Cold cuts and hot dogs should be refrigerated at 4°C (40°F) or below immediately after purchase and at all times after that.

Biological Hazard Prevention

There are various things we can do to reduce bacteria in foods, but most of these are well established.

  1. First, don’t distribute food that’s temperature unsafe. That means marking perishable foods or keeping them refrigerated or frozen.
  2. Second, keep raw food in good condition. That means washing and uncontaminated surfaces with hot water and soap.
  3. Third, don’t cross-contaminate. That means don’t cook raw food in contact with ready-to-eat food.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service offer further guidelines that recommend:

  • Properly label food.
  • Keep raw food separate from ready-to-eat food.
  • Preserve raw food and ready-to-eat food separately.
  • Save raw and ready-to-eat food separately.
  • Keep raw food separated from equipment, utensils, utensils, and work surfaces.
  • Make sure raw food is clean.
  • Properly package raw food.
  • Properly cook or thaw raw food.
  • Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils for raw and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Wash hands after handling ready-to-eat foods and after touching raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
  • Separate cooked and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Wash hands, utensils, and cutting boards and surfaces after handling raw and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Store food properly.
  • Keep surfaces clean.
  • Retain non-food contact

Physical Hazards

A physical hazard exists when foreign material, either natural or unnatural, is found in food. A physical hazard that occurs naturally is usually more of an annoyance than anything else. A piece of bone or stem is generally harmless if the food has been cooked correctly. 

These kinds of hazards are usually just getting tossed out.

Physical Hazard Examples in Food

Physical hazards can cause injuries and sufferings, such as cuts, bruises, fractures, burns, and electrocution.

Things like slippery floors or equipment that can burn you come to mind easily. Many other physical hazards exist at many workplaces, and the employees and employers must know what they are and how to deal with them.

Unnatural Hazards

Insects, hair, metal fragments, pieces of plastic, wood chips, and glass. Perhaps these five unexpected things don’t seem harmful when they fall from the sky and land on your car. 

Unfortunately, when they get there, they can scratch your car paint or even pierce through it. 

That’s why in most states of the U.S., it is required by legislation to repair a damaged windshield or a shattered back window on time to reduce the risk of injuries in case of an accident.

Natural Hazards

Stems in blueberries, microscopic airborne debris, dirt on potatoes, or minute insect fragments in figs. 

This is just a short partial list of what one could find inside fruits and vegetables that we eat. 

The point is that if we do not wash our fruits and vegetables before eating them, we can easily swallow pests and pathogens.

Physical Hazards Prevention

The term “physical hazards” refers to any workplace injury source that is not related to electrical or mechanical processes or chemicals. Rather than being just a safety issue, physical hazards must be considered when planning the layout of your workspace.

Physical hazards are the most common causes of workplace accidents. Injuries caused by these hazards include cuts, punctures, lacerations, slashes, bruises, fractures, and strains. 

By using the proper safety equipment and following adequate housekeeping practices, you can prevent these types of injuries from occurring throughout your workplace.

Chemical Hazards

Chemical Hazards are usually associated with industrial chemicals used in the workplace. They can cause severe burns, burns, rashes, sneezing, itching, coughing, and many other health hazards. 

Some chemicals can also damage the eyes and cause blindness.

It is important to be aware of these hazards and take appropriate action to avoid contact with these chemicals. The degree of risk varies with the amount of exposure to the chemical. 

Chemicals can be categorized into five groups based on their degree of a hazard:

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) classifies chemicals according to their acute and chronic health hazards.

These categories are:

  1. Health Hazard. This class includes those substances which pose a substantial risk of injury, including death if absorbed through the skin or inhaled.
  2. Fire Hazard. These materials react with air, water, or other materials at a good rate and enough heat to cause a fire or explosion hazard.
  3. Reactivity Hazard. Materials that are normally stable but become unstable at elevated temperatures. They can react violently with water or air or respond explosively when mixed with other materials in certain proportions.
  4. Corrosive to Metal. Chemicals that have a strong tendency to corrode steel or aluminum containers, pipes, etc., to interfere seriously with the intended operation of equipment exposed to them for any period even though corrosion may not be evident upon immediate inspection after exposure for a short time.
  5. Spontaneously Combustible Materials will burst into flames without an external ignition source and can propagate a flame independently without heat or confinement under pressure.

Chemical Hazards prevention and control

Some of the most dangerous chemicals used in homes and offices include air fresheners, cleaning products, paints, solvents, adhesives, pesticides, and water treatment substances.

When handling these chemicals, there are some simple steps that you can take to protect both your health and the environment:

  1. Use products that do not contain hazardous chemicals and use them correctly and safely
  2. Dispose of hazardous materials properly
  3. Do not put dangerous products down drains or toilets
  4. Be aware of warning labels and follow instructions on the label
  5. Always store flammable products in a safe place away from heat or open flames
  6. Use protective equipment such as gloves and goggles when appropriate
  7. Keep all flammable materials out of reach of children.
  8. Report spills immediately to emergency personnel and follows their instructions for cleanup

Frequently Asked Question’s

When should food handlers use hand antiseptics?

Food safety is important to many businesses as they try to look after their customer’s health and wellbeing. 

Foodservice professionals shall wash their hands after handling money, using the bathroom, smoking, and handling any food items. 

They shall wash hands after each thing; however, washing hands with soap and warm water is not always effective enough.

Sick food handlers who work with food create what type of flood hazard?

Food handler illness can pose a serious threat to consumers. Knowing the different types of food safety hazards created by sick workers is important so you can determine how to keep your food safe.

Foodborne pathogens (viruses, bacteria, or parasites) can be found in various types of foods. Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and Toxoplasma, are several examples of foodborne pathogens.

The big 6 foodborne pathogens are

Food safety starts with understanding what the big 6 foodborne pathogens are. Salmonella, E. coli, listeria, hepatitis A, campylobacter, and norovirus are the most common bacteria found in food. 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), thousands of Americans fall ill by consuming contaminated foods every year.

Which situation requires a food handler to wear gloves?

Since the risk of foodborne illness and food poisoning is high in any foodservice operation, gloves and other personal protective safety and health equipment (PPE) are vital to implementing a safe food handling policy. 

Whether you run a small family restaurant or a large corporate establishment, all employees need to understand what situations require them to wear gloves.

Where can a food worker wash her hands?

Food workers must wash their hands in the following situations:

  • If food workers are preparing, cooking, or handling food
  • They must wash their hands before starting work and after using the toilet
  • Handling raw meat
  • Fish or eggs
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Touching their face or contacting blood or other body fluids.

Where should a food handler check the temperature of food?

Every employee that comes into contact with food should know how to check the temperature of food. 

Here are the top two places to check the temperature of your food.

The counter and refrigerator are two of the most popular places to check the temperature of hot food. 

One important thing to know is that when using an instant-read thermometer, you don’t want to place it directly in the food but instead in the middle of the food. 

This is because many foods will cook differently due to their shapes and sizes. You also don’t want to check for temperature when the food is near a warm spot, like over an open flame, like on a stove.

Food handlers can contaminate food when they

If Food isn’t cooked properly that can contain high levels of bacteria that may cause food poisoning. Food handlers, who prepare food and clean operations, have to be aware of personal hygiene. 

This means they have to wash their hands correctly, wear good personal protective equipment, keep the kitchen clean, and use the right food handling techniques.

When should hand antiseptics be used?

Antiseptics are products that destroy microorganisms and that are applied to the skin. 

Antiseptic hand wash is an effective way to break the chain of infection in public places such as schools and hospitals, and it should be used regularly. 

Hand washing has been described as “the single most important element of personal hygiene.” Hand antiseptics can be used more frequently than alcohol-based hand rubs, such as between courses at a meal or after handling money.

Final Words – The Three Types of Hazards That Make Food Unsafe Are

Food handlers must know about the three types of hazards that can contaminate their food. These are biological, chemical, and physical hazards. 

Keeping the food free from these three types of hazards makes sure that the food cooked in restaurants is safe to eat.

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