Safety first

When working in the food industry, it’s important to ensure that food is prepared in a safe and hygienic environment. Proper food safety practices can help prevent a number of mishaps like foodborne illnesses, and ultimately, damaging your restaurant’s reputation. It can take several years for a restaurant to recover from a food poisoning outbreak or a bad review due to a hygiene issue. That said, here are a few tips to ensure that kitchen staff follow proper food safety techniques.

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Put pest control measures in place

Seeing an insect or rodent in a restaurant is an immediate turnoff for a customer. Cockroaches, flies, as well as rodents can contaminate produce and spread diseases. Rodents can also cause costly damage to fixtures and machinery. Investing in pest control monitoring and keeping the premises sealed and free of clutter will help to keep pests at bay.

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Train staff on cross-contamination

Cross-contamination is one of the main causes of salmonella and other food borne illnesses. It happens when raw foods such as poultry, raw meat, seafood and eggs come into contact with food surfaces or prepared foods. To avoid cross-contamination, make sure staff keep raw food away from other food, frequently disinfect work surfaces, and use different equipment for raw meat and poultry. They should also wash their hands before and after touching raw food. According to Food Safety Magazine, “controlling contamination on workers’ hands is one of the five important interventions… to protect public health.”

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Correct handling, storage, and transport

Food safety doesn’t start and end in the kitchen, that’s why it’s important to establish procedures to protect food during handling, storage, and transportation. Food can become contaminated at any point during these stages. Temperature and humidity, vehicle hygiene, containers and packaging are all factors that need to be considered. Keeping food chilled is especially important as it will help to stop harmful bacteria from growing. Make sure there are guidelines in place pertaining to the proper cooling and handling of foods.

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Waste management

Properly disposing of waste is a key factor of food safety. Providing suitable containers and storage areas for waste and regular disposal can help to avoid a build-up of waste which could attract pests. Properly disposing of waste also reduces the risk of contamination of food, equipment, and products.

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Ensure safe cooking practices

Cooking food thoroughly will kill harmful bacteria. This doesn’t mean that all foods need to be cooked to a crisp, but certain foods do need to be cooked a certain way to ensure safety. Foods like poultry, pork, and certain seafoods should be steaming hot all the way through and should never be served rare. Burgers and sausages also need to be cooked all the way through as they could contain bacteria in the middle.

Tom Larkin is the Marketing Controller with Shoes For Crews (Europe) Limited ( Previously Tom held senior marketing roles on the client and agency side for companies in both London and Dublin.

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