Food poisoning is a significant problem for the foodservice industry. According to recent statistics, 2.4 million people in the UK will get food poisoning every year.
This is preventable. Practising good food safety in your commercial kitchen is of absolute importance. Yet knowing the ins and outs of good sanitation can be tricky, even for veteran chefs.
In this guide, we’re going to take a closer look at food safety and good kitchen hygiene. We’ll look at everything from best storage practices to how your staff can be more hygienic.
Ready to find out more and make your kitchen safer? Then keep reading.
Ensure Employees Wash Hands
This is the most basic food safety advice there is, but it’s often not adhered to. According to US government statistics, 97 per cent of those surveyed did not wash their hands when they should have while cooking food.
Washing your hands is a particularly important part of sanitation when handling raw meat. If you have touched raw meat or poultry, wash your hands well before proceeding with your cooking. There are no exceptions: always wash your hands.
Washing your hands should be a vital step every step of the way during the COVID-19 pandemic, too. Encourage your employees to wash their hands regularly while cooking food for customers.
Have Your Employees Wear Gloves
If you want to pass a food hygiene audit, you should also have your employees wear gloves while cooking. Latex gloves are particularly good for this as they’re thin enough to not inhibit hand movements while providing a strong barrier against bacteria and their skin.
Latex gloves should be changed depending on what is being handled. Your staff should never wear the same pair of gloves to handle raw meat or poultry as they do to handle cooked food.
Gloves can also help with more than food safety. For instance, when chopping chilli peppers, they can stop skin absorbing capsaicin.
Wash All Produce Before Use
Washing fruit and vegetables are very important for food hygiene. Fresh vegetables and fruit can have bacteria on their surface from the dirt that they were grown in. They have also been in contact with many people since being picked, which can leave more bacteria on their skins.
There’s more to washing vegetables than giving them a quick rinse, too. Ensure that they are cleaned thoroughly.
This applies to fruits and vegetables that you are going to peel, too. Bacteria can be transferred to the produce’s interior via the knife or peeler.
Give Your Kitchen a Deep Clean
Cleaning in a commercial kitchen can sometimes get rushed. It’s easy to let cleaning tasks pile up and do them all late in the day.
While you should encourage your employees to wipe while they work to keep kitchen surfaces clean, this is not enough. Every month, you need to give your kitchen a deep clean.
When deep cleaning your kitchen, you should:
- Clean all surfaces, cupboards, and floors
- Clean all utensils, pans, and cutlery
- Empty the refrigerator and clean all shelves and drawers with soapy water
- Clean doors and door handles
Every area of your kitchen needs to be spick and span.
Use a Food Thermometer
You should not be relying on looks or the colour of juices to check that food has been cooked through. Instead, you should reach for a food thermometer. These devices are more precise than the eyeball of any chef on the planet.
Every meat has different temperatures that represent they’re done. These are:
- 145 Fahrenheit for fresh beef and pork
- 145 Fahrenheit for fish
- 160 Fahrenheit for egg dishes
- 165 Fahrenheit for poultry
Store Food With Care
Practising good food safety involves every part of your kitchen, and storage is no less important than any other area. How is your refrigerator arranged? Do you have meat above fresh vegetables or cooked products?
If you do, you may be putting your customers in danger. If blood drips from the meat onto these products that you won’t cook, cross-contamination is a serious issue. Meat should be kept separate from all other ingredients.
Similarly, once vegetables have been cut, you mustn’t leave them out in the open air. Bacteria can develop on produce that’s left out of the refrigerator once you’ve cut it.
Can Your Employees Dispose of Waste Cleanly?
Does your kitchen have the right kind of garbage cans? Bins without lids can attract flies and other pests. However, your employees should not need to touch the lids of your bins to open them.
Bins are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. If your employees have to touch the bins while disposing of food, they can transfer this bacteria to the food they’re cooking. This is particularly the case if they don’t wash their hands after throwing food waste away.
The best kind of bins to have in your kitchen are pedal bins. This way, your employees can open the bin with their foot and won’t need to touch the lid or any other part of it.
Label All Your Food
You should be labelling all the ingredients in your kitchen. Write what the food is and when you need to use it by.
This is useful for several reasons. Some foods look similar but should not be confused and have the potential to cause an allergic reaction.
Including the use-by date on your food labels ensures that you will never use produce or meat that’s past its best in your food. Using old ingredients can increase the chance of spreading foodborne illnesses and should be avoided.
Food Safety Matters
Food safety is of vital importance to any commercial kitchen’s sanitation. The best way to avoid food poisoning is to have well-trained staff. Training your staff in food safety will help eliminate problems that are all too common in commercial kitchens.
We can help you. We can inspect your kitchen for health and safety failures and ensure that your kitchen stays safe. For more information about our rates and services, please get in contact with us.