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While taking care of the way we prepare meals at home is obviously important, even more stringent precautions are essential on the part of those responsible for producing food and beverages on a commercial scale. There is now comprehensive legislation covering the requirements for food safety and the prospect of stiff penalties for those who ignore it.

Even the labelling of foodstuffs must now comply with certain legally defined standards that include listing nutritional values and additives such as colourants, preservatives, and artificial flavours, while potential allergens must be displayed in bold type. While these requirements are clearly important, it is the standard of hygiene that is applied to prevent possible contamination during the preparation of fresh and processed food that determines its safety.

Contamination may be physical and due to items such as hair, fingernails, and fragments of metal or plastic. Chemical contaminants include pesticides and, ironically, residues from cleaning products. It is, however, biological agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi that pose the greatest threat.

While strict vigilance is the best safeguard against physical and chemical contaminants, ensuring hands, work surfaces, vessels, and equipment are kept hygienically clean is the most effective defence against biological agents. It also prevents cross-contamination that could see allergens introduced into an allergen-free product.

To ensure the highest levels of food safety, a wide range of Vikan hygiene products is available to hotels, restaurants and processing companies in South Africa from Pescatech.

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