Processing and Packaging of a Specified Prepared Chilled Food Product


Food safety is a critical aspect that should be observed to ensure good health among people. Various elements should be noted regarding the maintenance of food security. These are such as hygiene, place of storage and even temperature. The essay will focus on sweet chilli chicken and analyze its processing and packaging. The analysis will consider the ingredients and setting, pre-processing and processing requirements and then identify the risks and monitoring that should be conducted throughout. 

Ingredients and setting of specifications

Sweet chilli chicken is prepared using various ingredients. These are tomato wheat flour tortilla that contains calcium carbonate, iron, niacin, water and vegetable oils. The water and vegetable oils may constitute palm and rapeseed. There is also tomato seasoning that can either be red pepper, tomato pepper, basil or paprika. Raising agents that are used to prepare the sweet chilli chicken are malic acid, sodium carbonates, and diphosphates. Sugar and salt are also necessary as well. Additionally, it is also necessary to have steam cocked chicken breast pieces at a level of 25%, lettuce and sweet chilli sauce to the amount of 9%. Spirit vinegar, corn flour, white wine vinegar, garlic puree, salt, red chilli puree, ginger puree, dried garlic and dried red pepper are also necessary ingredients for the sweet chilli chicken. The food has further gone ahead and included a way that those with an allergy can prepare it in a safe way. It has been advised that for allergens, cereals that contain gluten should be included. All bones should also be removed from the chicken to be used in preparing the meal. Additionally, no artificial colors are flavors are required in the preparation of sweet chilli chicken. The sweet chilli chicken should be stored or kept refrigerated. It has further been stated that it is not suitable for home freezing. 

The red pepper that can be used as tomato seasoning in the preparation of sweet chilli chicken usually needs to be washed to remove any form of soil and dust as well as seeds and stalks. Their drying conditions are also checked to ensure that aflatoxins are not produced as they have severe mutagenic and carcinogenic impacts on the health of individuals. In addition to aflatoxins, mycotoxins are also observed. The red peppers are also required to be subjected to the process of fungal growth (Ozilgen, Bucak, and Ozilgen, 2013). This is as a result of its chemical constituents and the need to maintain and improve its quality. On the other hand, garlic puree and in this case its vapors contains complex mixtures of VOCs that are generated using s series of enzymatic and chemical reactions resulting in odor. Other organic constituents are sulfur compounds. The garlic puree constitutes of a blue or green discoloration. It is also essential to note that the moisture content of garlic is considerably influenced by temperature to which they are stored. Moreover, the protein content is also affected by the temperature to which the garlic is stored (Algadi, 2015).  Lettuce is required to be kept in low temperatures as it will reduce the rates of respiration, slow microbial growth, and deterioration such as softening and browning. However, for the sensitive commodities such as the sweet chilli chicken, it is necessary to apply the microbial safety concerns that will always require being kept as cold as possible. The lettuce should also be observed concerning the appearance of discoloration as it implies that quality has been affected. By cutting it, enzymes will be stimulated. These are enzymes that are involved in the phenolic metabolism that results in the formation of brown pigments that are detrimental. It is thus necessary to pack them using very low atmospheres (Cantwell, Marita, and Suslow, 2010). The white wine vinegar, on the other hand, should be stored at low temperatures as it adds a chilling effect to the food. Furthermore, the quality of the white wine vinegar is determined by the acetic acid bacteria. The aromatic compounds also have a significant impact on the quality of vinegar used with white wine. Wine vinegar also contains several chemical compounds such as lactones, alcohols, ethers, volatile esters, carbonyl compounds, and acetals. All these are used in various extents in the final flavor obtained (Mas, 2014). It is also necessary to note that there is a process referred to as acetification that utilizes oxygen in the growth of bacteria. Oxygen and phenolic compounds usually react to produce the browning aspect of the white wine (Hidalgo, 2012).

Sweet chilli chicken is usually packed with various serving. They are packed using a transparent plastic bag, and as such, the product can be viewed by the customer before purchase. Additionally, the packing of sweet chilli chicken indicates that it has been certified by the Safety Standards ad Authority for consumption.

Pre-processing and processing requirements

The raw materials to be used in the preparation of sweet chilli chicken need to be well stored to avoid any form of contamination or deterioration of quality. The tomato wheat flour tortilla usually lasts for a week after their regular date on the counter. However, they can go up to a week if they are stored in a refrigerator. However, their shelf life relies on two aspects. These are the best by date and the processing as well as their mode of storage. The practice of proper hygiene and food safety techniques is essential to prevent foodborne illness. The packages of the tortillas should be stored in an environment that is cool and dry and not vulnerable to changes in temperature. A change in temperature such as from cool to warm results in the condensation of the moisture in the air inside the packages. The moisture may give room for the growth of molds resulting in the tortillas spoiling. It has further been recommended that the tortillas should be stored in airtight containers that will assist to keep the moisture out and other contaminants as well. 

Several raising agents have also been identified for utilization in the preparation of sweet chilli chicken. One of these is malic acid. It naturally occurs and is found in various fruits and especially the apple. Sodium carbonate is also a raising agent used in the preparation of sweet chilli chicken. It is usually stored in cold and dry conditions. Moreover, it is not required to be kept in the area of acids. When stored in an environment that is cool and dry, sodium carbonate should be held stable in a chemical way (Number, n.d). The useful application of the proposed aspects of storage and hygiene of the ingredients will enable the producers to protect their reputation, minimize the risk of food poisoning to clients and obey the laws and regulations concerning the safety of food. 

Spirit vinegar, on the other hand, should be stored in an area that is dark and cool. It should also be kept closed in a secure way when it is not being utilized. Its color has also been observed to change over time. However, this does not mean that its safety has been affected and will still be safe to consume (Martin-Belloso, 2011). When handling, storing or even storing the spirit vinegar, there are also requirements that should be fulfilled. There should be procedures to control any form of contamination that may arise from water, fecal, air or other substances. Additionally, the disposal of any material that has been rejected in a hygienic way should be considered. The food and in this case, the spirit vinegar and its ingredients should further be guarded against any contamination by pests. Other contaminants that may occur either in physical, chemical or even microbiological way should further be observed. The right measures should be applied to control the humidity, temperature and other forms of control necessary or in line with the particular product (Sperber, and Mortimore, 2011). Besides what has been highlighted, cleaning and maintenance should also be done in an efficient way. An appropriate level of personal hygiene should always be maintained.

Corn flour was also identified as one of the ingredients utilized in the preparation of sweet chilli chicken. Its shelf life is usually dependent on the best before the date that has been stated by the manufacturer. Moreover, it also relies on how it is stored. The right storage of flour will determine the length of its life that may be beyond the shelf life (International Flavor Conference & Contis, 2010). Corn flour is under the risk of various contaminants that range from mycotoxins, heavy metals, and pesticide residues. In regards to the pesticide residues, the corn flour should be in line with the limits on residue that have been set by the relevant authorities. The same applies to mycotoxins and heavy metals as well. On the hygiene aspect, once the corn flour is tested, it should be free from parasites, microorganisms and any other substances. The elements may arise from the micro-organisms that may be a health hazard to human beings (“GM labeling | Food Standards Agency,” 2013).

Processed foods need to follow other guidelines in their preparation. Apart from what has been mentioned, it is recommended that raw materials or even ingredients that may have been contaminated in any way should not be utilized. This is because they will also contaminate the final product that would then be unfit for human consumption. The raw materials should also not be stored in conditions that are inappropriate. In all the stages, that is production, processing, and even distribution, the food should be guarded against any form of contaminant that may make it unsuitable for the consumption of human beings (“Food Hygiene,” 2013). It is also necessary to label all the substances that are not edible. They should then be stored in containers in a separate and secure manner. The temperature should be keenly observed and should not be a risk to the health of individuals. Sweet chilli chicken is food that is usually prepared then wrapped in the required sizes. As such, they should be made in the right rooms that should also accommodate raw materials and the processed ones as well. There should also be space for refrigerated storage as well. The legal requirement in the UK is that hot food should be kept at sixty-three degrees Celsius while cold ones should be at or below eight degrees Celsius (“Food Additives Legislation Guidance to Compliance,” 2015).

The wrapping and packaging of the processed foods should also be carried out in the right way and as required by the law. The material used for the wrapping and packaging should not be a source of contamination. The wrapping materials should further be stored properly to prevent them from getting into contact with any contaminants. The wrapping and packaging exercise should also be done in a way that avoids the contamination of products. The container or plastic bag should be clean and not damaged in any way. In case any packaging or wrapping material is re-used, it is recommended that it should be easy to clean and where necessary, to be disinfected (“Food Hygiene,” 2013).

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Identification of Risks and Monitoring throughout

The safety measures of food have been analyzed, and it is thus necessary to examine some of the risks that may be encountered and the control process as well. There are three types of risk factors that may affect or occur in food. The first risk that may be encountered is the microbiological. This may take place once there is the introduction of pathogenic or even dangerous organisms to food that then leads to a safety issue to the consumers (“The Analysis of Food-Related Health Risks,” 2010). The microbiological hazards range from viruses, bacteria, and parasites as well. These risks may be introduced to food as a result of inadequate sanitation practices. They may also result from contamination in the process of transportation or processing, storage, and handling. The type of microbial growth and even the magnitude is determined by various aspects as well. These are the conditions of packaging, nature of the food and the environment in which the food is stored. The biological hazards that set back food are parasites, viruses, bacteria, and prions. Viruses may be introduced in foods by applying poor practices in handling food and especially by individuals who may be a carrier of that particular virus. It may also be transferred through food ingredients that are contaminated such as water. On the other hand, parasites usually enter food substances through the same way as viruses. It may be as a result of poor personal hygiene practices and even contaminated requirements as well. Prions are another form of biological hazard that are infectious agents which contain protein (Khairuzzaman, 2014).  They cause diseases to animals and human beings as well. 

The second type of risk likely to affect food is the chemical ones that may be mycotoxins, environmental toxins, natural toxins, food additives and the ones that occur from being induced. The chemical hazards have further been observed to occur when chemicals are found in foods at certain levels that are considered hazardous to people. The contamination may occur through the addition of additives, the process of manufacturing, the intention to use chemicals and the environment that is water or air (“The Analysis of Food-Related Health Risks,” 2010). Mycotoxins, a form of chemical hazard may result from molds that usually grow on foods under certain conditions. There are however few mycotoxins that are found in foods and those found associated with foods such as corn. The most common mycotoxins that result in health issues in human beings are aflatoxin and patulin among other types. The use of corn flour has been identified as one of the ingredients of making sweet chilli chicken. It is thus necessary to ensure that the source of the corn is reliable. Most of the mycotoxins have certain features such as having antibiotics and resistance to heat. They may also result in toxic damages to the cells of people and can lead to serious long-term effects even when they occur in small concentrations (“Chapter 4: Food Safety Hazards – Imported and Manufactured Food Program Inspection Manual – Food – Canadian Food Inspection Agency”, 2014).

The third type of risks is physical aspects. They may arise in food due to contamination through failures or difficulties in manufacturing and processing. They may be substances such as metal fragments. It has however been noted that the number of these incidents are being managed in an efficient way by most food companies. Moreover, if the food is considered to be unfit for human consumption, then in most cases, it is usually removed from the market and no sales conducted (“The Analysis of Food-Related Health Risks,” 2010).

Other risks arise from unknown aspects. Most of these are natural toxins in either foods or even proteins that lead to allergies. However, in this case, precautions can be taken such as warning consumers in advance before they consume food products that have been made from these commodities. Other risk factors that may occur are such as poisons that have continued to develop (“Chapter 4: Food Safety Hazards – Imported and Manufactured Food Program Inspection Manual – Food – Canadian Food Inspection Agency”, 2014). Other risks that are linked with food arise from new technologies that are applied in production. It is important to examine a new form of technology that is used to produce foods and ascertain whether it will bring in new risk factor or even increase the presence of an already existing risk aspect in the food. Furthermore, new technologies may also adjust or modify the features of the food as well. This is concerning the genetic modification or food composition as well. There may also be a change in the levels of a hazard as a result of the new technologies. This may be regarding the levels of pathogenic microorganisms. As such, this influences the general risk that is associated with the particular food (“The Analysis of Food-Related Health Risks,” 2010). 

The essay has explored the food safety concerning sweet chilli chicken. It has analyzed the ingredients used in its production and as well as the some of the aspects connected to them such as microbiological, chemical, sensory and physical standards. The storage and hygiene needs of the sweet chilli chicken have also been analyzed in the essay. Food safety is significant and especially in processed foods such as sweet chilli chicken. It is thus important to ensure that all the risks have been put into consideration before embarking on processing. In this way, various risks will be curbed and the health of individuals promoted in an efficient manner as well.

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