Enhance food safety with these 5 top tips
This year has put a spotlight on everything that businesses who are responsible for the serving of food can do to protect the welfare of the public. The main objective of November's Australian Food Safety Week (14th-21st November) was to help the public to create a better understanding of the link between food safety and their health, and to remind those operating businesses who are responsible for the serving of food of their responsibilities. As 2020 draws to a close, we're taking a look at how effective food safety processes that were established as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can be maintained.
Check out our top 5 tips for preventing foodborne illness:
Wash your hands
Central to the theme of ‘Food Safety – it’s in your hands’ our first tip for maintaining food safety practices is to encourage staff to wash their hands regularly and thoroughly! Studies by the National Notifiable Disease Network have shown that the rates of several common foodborne illnesses have actually decreased since the pandemic thanks to increased handwashing and improved personal hygiene. Check out our guide to hand washing which breaks down the correct handwashing technique into six simple steps to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.
Place signs in the kitchen and bathrooms on the premises to encourage frequent hand washing and strategically place hand sanitiser at all entry points to the kitchen or dining areas to maintain high standards of personal hygiene from staff and customers.
Keep it cool
The food temperature danger zone sits between 5°C and 60°C and is the temperature range in which bacteria can begin to spread. Food should be stored below the food temperature danger zone to prevent contamination and reduce food waste. Fridge thermometers can be used to continually monitor the internal temperature and alert kitchen staff to rises and falls in the temperature that put food at risk. The range of fridge thermometers available from Fildes Food Safety offers a practical and accessible means of ensuring that food remains safe to eat.
If you’re serving food that has been out of the refrigerator for a while, use the two/four-hour rule to determine which precautions should be taken to avoid the risk of food poisoning.
If the food has been outside of the refrigerator for less than two hours it can be re-refrigerated or served, if it has been out for two to four hours, the food can be served immediately. Food that has been outside of the refrigerator for more than four hours should be disposed of immediately. Remember, if in doubt, throw it out!
Store food correctly
Storing food correctly is essential in preventing foodborne illness through cross-contamination. Keeping raw meat and poultry away from foods that won’t be cooked such as salads is essential. Be sure to store foods that are ready to eat at the top of the refrigerator, raw seafood should be stored directly below, and raw whole joints of meat below the seafood. Any poultry should be stored at the bottom of the refrigerator with minced meats just above.
Amongst other commercial kitchen supplies, the food holding solutions available from Fildes Food Safety can be utilised for the safe storage of food. Including airtight storage containers, ingredient tubs and vacuum-sealed bags, the food holding solutions available from Fildes Food Safety are designed to prevent cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria.
Cook it through
When cooking meat, especially poultry, it is vital that it is served fully cooked. This means that the internal temperature of the meat should be 75°C in the centre. Ensuring that meat is fully cooked will destroy any lingering bacteria and minimises the risk of foodborne illness.
Food thermometers are amongst the most popular commercial kitchen supplies as they provide fast and accurate readings of the internal temperatures of joints of meat and other similar foods quickly. This allows kitchen staff to make a decision about whether the food is safe to serve. Food thermometers should be placed in accessible spots around the kitchen and cleaned thoroughly to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Serve food safely
Businesses who are responsible for the serving of food, particularly hospitality businesses are likely to see an increase in patrons over the festival season. Businesses are encouraged to take the necessary infection-control precautions to preserve the safety of patrons during this time. Reduce the number of touch points on the premises by implementing a contactless ordering system or collection point and encourage social distancing with floor stickers placed 1.5 metres apart. Encourage everyone on the premises to wash or sanitise their hands frequently to reduce the spread of bacteria between individuals.
Fildes Food Safety offers a wide range of food safety products and commercial kitchen supplies designed to promote best practice and allow chefs to implement efficient and sustainable food safety processes. Visit our website or get in touch with a Fildes Food Safety representative to place an order today.