Crucial Hygiene Tips for Your Food Business
When you start a food business, be it a restaurant, cafe or burger van, hygiene is at the centre of your success. Of course, there’s a lot more to it, but complying with food hygiene laws and regulations is essential to keeping your business going. Your food needs to be safe for consumption, or you won’t be able to sell it to the public. If you don’t keep your hygiene standards to the required level and anything were to happen, you could be subject to legal action. There are several things you need to consider when preparing food. These include cross-contamination, cleaning, chilling and cooking.
When bacteria transfer between foods, surfaces, and equipment, it’s called cross-contamination. It’s one of the most common causes of food poisoning, so it’s important to prevent it. There are many things you can do to avoid cross-contamination. They include cleaning and disinfecting work surfaces and equipment before and after preparing food. You should also use different equipment for raw meat and food that’s ready to eat. If you use the same things, they should be disinfected with heat, such as in a dishwasher. Staff should also wash their hands before preparing food, as well as after touching raw food. You should store raw and cooked or ready-to-eat food separately. You should use separate cleaning materials too, and staff should be well-trained.
Cleaning thoroughly is imperative too. Staff should be trained to clean all surfaces and equipment well. They should wash and dry their hands before handling food, and you should make sure they have the facilities to do so. Whether you have a catering van or a restaurant, it’s essential to clean and disinfect food areas and equipment between tasks, especially when using raw food. Everything should be cleaned as you or your staff work, not left until the end of the day. The products you use should meet BS EN standards.
You need to chill food properly to stop it from growing harmful bacteria. You need to keep some food chilled all the time, such as cooked food and salads. Many foods will develop dangerous bacteria if you leave them standing at room temperature. When you have food delivered, make sure you check that it’s cold enough on arrival. Chilled food should be put in the fridge straight away while cooked food needs to be cooled and chilled as soon as possible. It’s also crucial to check the temperature of your refrigerator regularly.
Cooking food thoroughly is crucial to hygiene too. You and your staff need to know how to cook different foods properly. For example, chicken must be cooked through, while whole cuts of beef and lamb can still be pink when served. Everyone involved in food preparation and handling needs to know the rule, so that there are no mistakes when it comes to serving the public. You can find out more information from the Food Standards Agency and your Local Authority.
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