In the religion and teachings of Islam and in the Holy book “Quran” references the strict hygiene of food and food products along with the concept of Halal. Islam is not just a faith but it is a way of life which when applied and incorporated daily helps and guides its Followers positively through every aspect of the lives that they lead. By adhering to the teachings of Islam which specifically instructs and directs on personnel hygiene, handling of food and implementation of Islamic Guidelines along with any existing Food Safety and Quality Management System (FSQMS), we can reduce and minimize the risk of contamination from microbiological, physical and chemical hazards which will result in a quality and safe product for the end user.
Microbiological hazards which cause contamination and food spoilage include yeast, moulds and pathogens such as Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus, Enterobacteriaceae, Staphylococcus aureus, E.coli 1057, Coliforms and their toxins. The initiation of this hazard could be due to incorrect on line process controls in relation to time and temperatures, poor personnel hygiene, cross contamination through personnel and the equipment be used.
Physical hazards causing food contamination include foreign bodies from metal, wood, string, plastic, paper, egg shell, vegetable matter, dirt/grit, paper/cardboard, glass & brittle material, pests, such as beetle/insects (SPI’S) from supplier chain, site, people & Supplier transport vehicle.
Chemical hazards could occur through cleaning chemical taint residue from Supplier site and Supplier transport vehicles, deliberate allergens: wheat gluten from flour and egg, allergen risk of cross contamination from other products during Supplier processing, handling and during transportation, mycotoxins (Aflotoxins/Ochratoxins) from Wheat Crops (considered only at this point due to Supplier chain controls) and rancidity due to insufficient Supplier processing and handling controls.
Through the teachings of Islam and our understanding , we can also prevent and significantly minimize these contaminations and risk from occurring by simple routine of washing hands prior to eating, washing hands after using toilet, covering the food with lids/cover on at storage bowls or food containers, preparation of fresh food instead of consuming ‘left over’, wearing clean clothes, not preparing food in kitchens with poor visibility and not using faulty equipment with cavities. Food exposure through its transportation and cleanliness of personnel and vehicles is also written and we need to therefore review our processes from start to finish.
In summary, Islamic teachings recommends and endorses Food Safety and Quality Management System (FSQMS) which will ensure a safe (Tayyab) and quality products for our consumption and better health.