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The Path to Safety: Three Steps to Safe Onboard Eating

In any kitchen, particularly one that serves hundreds of people, cleanliness and safety are absolutely paramount. Anything less than the highest safety standards can lead to food poisoning, illness, or worse. On ships, where every crew member has a vital role to play in keeping a ship safely functioning, an outbreak of foodborne illness could prove catastrophic, and yet this actually happens frequently. A recent report found statistically significant levels of foodborne disease, citing that over two-fifths of the 100 surveyed shipboard outbreaks were due to contaminated food, though it was noted that the number could be even higher. Most of these outbreaks were due to bacteria such as Salmonella spp., Shigella spp. and Vibrio spp. Because of the danger from these bacteria and the difficulty containing them, galley hygiene is so important that any vessel calling at an international port is required by the WHO’s 2005 International Health Regulations to be inspected and marked with a Ship Sanitation Certificate.

The Galley

There are several factors that go into preventing food-related problems, including the food itself along with where and how it is prepared. As a first step, it is essential to source quality food and water from a trusted, verifiable source. Clean and well-maintained galley spaces are the next step since food will be stored, prepared, and served here. Equipment must be in good condition, cleaned and sterilized frequently. All kitchens m