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Food Safety

(See Chapter 7, “Food Security and Protection”)

Food safety aboard ship is a highly complex process which must be examined in great detail and all of the elements including the human elements must be considered in preventing outbreaks of disease. This process consists of: production or growth of the foodstuffs, processing, packaging, transportation, storage, preparation, serving, and ultimately disposal of the remnants of the food. The food must come from approved sources which are inspected by the appropriate public health authorities. Throughout the process it is necessary to evaluate: the use of potable water, food temperatures, holding times, cleanliness and disinfection of equipment and surfaces, health of and use of proper handling techniques by employees, washing of hands, etc. Of special concern are buffets, small eating areas throughout the ship, and any leftover foods from previous meals. The time of the shift change of personnel, as well as changing menus from breakfast to lunch to snack time to dinner is also crucial and needs to be supervised carefully. (See endnotes 24, 25 for details.) A major new Best Practice is to lower the sneeze guard on buffet lines in order that the passengers cannot in any way handle the dispensing utensils or touch the food. Servers should be located behind the buffet tables and serve the guests as they make their choice of food. This is one of the primary techniques used to prevent disease and is called isolation.

 
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