One way to really hurt your foodservice establishment’s reputation is to send your guests away with a foodborne illness. Food poisoning is a common epidemic in the U.S., and although sometimes it is unavoidable, it is often caused by carelessness in the kitchen.
Often times employees are not properly trained in proper food safety practices, and this is where the problem begins. If an employee doesn’t know proper safety measures, they cannot be expected to abide by them.
Experts from Food Safety Training Solutions, Inc. have compiled a list of the basics that every person working in the foodservice industry must know. These basic, but highly valuable, tips follow.
- Wash your hands. Handwashing with soap stops the spread of disease and can save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before handling any food and after handling raw meat, poultry or raw eggs.
- Know the correct food safety temperatures. Cook foods to the required minimum temperatures: ground beef (155⁰F), pork (145⁰F), and poultry (165⁰F). Keep hot foods hot (above 135⁰F) and cold foods cold (below 41⁰F). Get food out of the danger zone (between 41˚F and 135˚F), because the risk of harmful bacteria is significantly higher within this range.
- Avoid cross contamination. Don’t let raw meat products come into contact with ready-to-eat foods (e.g., produce, bread, cheese.) Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat products. Thoroughly clean all surfaces (hands, cutting boards, utensils, etc.) after they’ve touched raw meat.
- Handle produce correctly. Only accept (and use) fresh produce that’s free of spoilage, mold and insects. Don’t wash produce before storing it, as moisture can promote mold growth, but wash it carefully (including melon rinds!) before prepping, cooking and serving.
- Accommodate food-allergic guests. Communicate clearly with each guest to understand exactly what foods they need to avoid. Use separate utensils, cookware, plates, cutting boards, etc. when preparing allergy-friendly meals. Know all ingredients in all components of all meals. Beware of “hidden” ingredients, such as nuts in pesto, fish in Worcestershire sauce, and gluten in some soy sauces. Consider the smallest detail, down to the type of oil you’re using (e.g., don’t use peanut oil to fry foods for peanut-allergic guests) and your garnishes (e.g., don’t drizzle pesto around a dairy or nut-allergic guest’s plate.)
Along with these indispensable tips, Food Safety Training Solutions offers a number of services pertaining to food safety to its many clients. For more information on these services or to learn more about Food Safety Training Solutions Inc. visit www.foodsafetytrainingsolutions.net.