In a nutshell: All along the food chain, food products are subjected to different preparations and conditions likely to contaminate them. Thus, utmost caution is required throughout the chain to ensure that food is not contaminated.

Food hazards

There are three types of hazards that pose a threat to public health: physical, chemical and biological.

Hazards Examples
Physical hazards Associated with the presence of foreign objects
  • Foreign objects such as wood, glass or metal chips from damaged tools or utensils.
  • Accessories worn by food handlers, hair or plasters.
Chemical hazards Occur when chemicals are present in food at levels that can be hazardous to humans.
  • Natural toxins, mycotoxins, pesticide residues
  • Detergents, sanitising agents, bleaching agents, and insecticides used in food premises
Biological hazards The main hazards are microorganisms.
  • Bacteria, yeasts, moulds, viruses and parasites


To prevent foreign objects from falling into food, you can: 

  • Keep food covered.
  • Repair or replace any equipment or utensils that are damaged or have loose parts.
  • Avoid using brittle equipment or utensils.
  • Discard any unneeded food packaging promptly into the trash bin
  • Remove all accessories before preparing food.
  • Tie up hair or wear a hair net.
  • Change the plasters regularly.

For more about food allergens, please click here.

Food contamination

There are three types of food contamination: primary, direct and cross-contamination.

1. Primary contamination

Occurs in primary food production processes such as harvest, slaughter, collecting, milking and fishing. An example is:

2. Direct contamination

The contaminants affect the food when the person handles it with direct contact. This is the most common type of contamination. Some examples are:

3. Cross-contamination

The contamination is caused by the transference of a hazard present in a food to another food which is safe via the surfaces of utensils that have contact with both without requisite cleaning and disinfection. Some examples are:

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