Food safety should always be in the forefront of your mind because the last thing you want is to have an incident where patrons suffer from food poisoning caused by contaminated food served in your restaurant.
These 10 food safety tips will help keep your food safe.
Make sure your staff washes their hands thoroughly in warm soapy water for approximately twenty seconds before touching any food and also after working with raw meat and poultry products, including eggs.
Ensure that all work surfaces are kept clean. They should be cleaned with an anti-bacterial cleaner or soap before and after food preparation, and special attention should paid to keeping potential food traps clean. Utensils should be washed properly.
Always wash fresh produce under running water to remove dirt and bacteria after removing any bruised or damaged pieces. Dry the produce with a paper towel. You should also clean vegetables and fruit with a clean, firm brush before peeling.
Food stored in a refrigerator should be kept below 4 °C to prevent growth of bacteria. Don’t rely on the thermostat, check temperatures with a handheld thermometer. Similarly hot food must be kept above 60 °C and always reheat previously cooked food to 75 °C.
When preparing food, don’t leave perishable foods outside the refrigerator for more than two hours. If your kitchen summertime temperature exceeds 30 °C, keep this time below one hour to minimise the risk of bacterial growth.
Never use food that has gone past its best before date. In fact, it’s probably best to dispose of food before that date as these assume proper handling and storage from supplier to yourself and you have no guarantee this is always the case.
Don’t use the same equipment and cutting boards for raw meat, marine products, poultry and fresh produce as bacteria from raw animal and marine products can contaminate fresh produce. Also, store and handle cooked foods separately.
Nearly 10 percent of the population is allergic to certain foods. The most common allergies are to sea foods and nuts. If any item on menu includes these products, ensure this is clearly shown.
Make sure you understand and comply with food safety legislation as requirements are complex and you don’t want to be caught out. Also ensure you have a Certificate of Acceptability.
Enhance food safety in your restaurant by registering for a voluntary food safety certification such as the one run by the Restaurant Association of South Africa.
Such programs reinforce food safety awareness in your kitchen and you benefit through the outside verification programs that highlight areas where your restaurant is not quite there yet.
By ensuring you maintain high food safety standards in your restaurant; you will avoid the embarrassment of inadvertent food poisoning and keep your good reputation intact.
What other methods does your restaurant employ? Leave a comment below.