With the recent relaunch of iHASCO’s Food Safety and Hygiene (level 1) training course, we wanted to give you an insight into the level of detail that goes into filming some of the scenes. Not only does this show the lengths we take to get details right, it also demonstrates how food can spoil and become unsafe. This is one to read when you are not about to eat lunch!
Spoiling the view – seeing spoilage
For the re-creation of our Food Safety & Hygiene (Level 1) course we were determined to improve every aspect of its production; punchier script, sharper animations, and better-filmed content. If we can make our courses and their safety messages stay with people after taking the test, we can make a huge difference to people’s health. So, in the run up to Christmas last year we laid a table with fine food on vintage china and locked the door for two weeks.
This was not a gift for Santa but an unusual filming event. The DSLR camera was set up to take a photograph every 15 minutes of the festive break to record the decay of an uneaten meal. This series of photographs would be stuck together to playback as a time-lapse video. How long would fungi take to grow on an M&S prawn sandwich? What would yoghurt on muesli do unattended? Can a fruit salad bear fruit in just 14 days? At this point, we did not know for sure.
The excitement of what might greet us on our return to the office was tempered with anxiety. How dangerous were spores? Would the power cut out to the camera halfway to New years? Just how much preservative was in this food anyway, would it just remain Dorian Gray untouched by time?
This footage was not enough to convey the importance of spoilage in the food industry, although repulsive to consider eating this dried out food, it didn’t look as bad as it undoubtedly was. We didn’t have another two weeks to create another mummified meal, so we took another tack.
Moisture is a key consideration when keeping food hygienic and safe to eat, which explains why so many labels advise ‘store in a cool & dry place’. We took this as our instruction, we wanted to film food spoilage, so we created a ‘damp & warm place’, a tent, as any Scout will tell you is a breeding ground for mould. Our second filming event was over just 7 days but with much more impressive results. We built our tent out of transparent sheeting to allow for good lighting (the lighting acting as heat source as well) and kept a reservoir of water under the table to retain moisture levels. We sprayed the fruit bowl daily, careful to avoid the photos being taken every 15 minutes and seeded the bacteria colony with a light smearing of slime from a garden compost bin.
With the footage recorded all that remained was venturing into the tent of decay, to disassemble the desk and dispose of the mushy, putrid film star. Even though gloves, mask and disinfectant were used and the fruit bowl put through the dishwasher, having seen so clearly the visible signs of decay I would not want to use that fruit bowl again any time soon.
This was the final result below, and the spoilage process can be seen clearly - a perfect visual to show how food spoils over time!
It’s illegal to sell spoiled food so it’s important that you throw it away whilst following your organisation’s procedures - this also goes for food that only looks partially spoiled. The scariest part of the filming of the Food Safety & Hygiene (Level 1) course, is that the pack of bacon we bought before Christmas, unrefrigerated now for over four months, shows no sign of spoilage. If it wasn’t for the slight bulge in the packaging, someone who disregards ‘Best Before’ dates, might be tempted to eat it!
Food Safety and Hygiene Training
Food Safety & Hygiene training is vital for anyone working in a food business. iHASCO’s online Food Safety training courses have been created in line with the syllabus from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. Each course provides quality footage, engaging animation and presenter led content, so not only do learners take away key points they also enjoy taking an iHASCO course!
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