Top tips & food safety essentials for the catering industry
As Coronavirus restrictions have eased in the recent months and the number of people allowed in venues, food halls and dining rooms has increased, catering for events or large numbers of people has once again become part of everyday life. In the wake of the pandemic, safety has remained a critical priority for catering companies that are utilising high-quality commercial kitchen supplies and hygiene measures to reduce the risk of food poisoning and the limit spread of potentially harmful microorganisms.
One of the best ways to maintain high food safety standards is to ensure that all staff are well trained and knowledgeable about food safety. Staff should be vigilant in preventing cross-contamination and understand how to maintain good personal hygiene. It is also vital that staff are aware of the importance of serving food that is prepared safely and fully cooked and to not become complacent under pressure when cooking for large numbers of people. Fildes Food Safety offers a range of food safety posters designed to act as a visual reminder of key food safety principles for staff. Posters from the range include topics covering personal hygiene, temperature monitoring and food labelling to ensure that food is labelled and stored correctly.
Whether catering for an event at a venue or a large number of patients at a Healthcare or Aged Care facility, it is important to pay attention to the specific needs of individuals. Catering managers should make note of the dietary requirements of the guests or patients so that kitchen staff are aware of any allergies, food intolerances or individuals who may suffer from dysphagia. There are a number of commercial kitchen supplies that can be used to help kitchen staff to safely prepare food for patients with individual needs. For example, colour-coded chopping boards and utensils should be used to prevent cross-contamination. Designated allergen kits are also available from Fildes Food Safety to further reduce risk. All meals that are prepared for people with allergies should be labelled accordingly with clear food labels to make them easily identifiable. When catering for patients at Healthcare and Aged Care facilities, IDDSI food labels should be used to help staff to select the correct meal for a patient according to their dietary requirements.
To reduce the risk of food poisoning, it is vital that food is kept at below 5°C or above 60°C so that bacteria does not begin to grow and contaminate the food. This can be achieved through the use of insulated products such as bowls, plates and mugs so as to prevent dangerous drops in food temperature. In line with the easing of Coronavirus restrictions, buffet food has also returned as a popular way to serve food to large numbers of people. Catering companies should serve food in insulated to trays to preserve safe temperatures over the course of service periods. In all cases, whether food is delivered to individual patients or served buffet style, food should be covered with a designated, air-tight lid so as to prevent oxidisation and contamination.
Catering managers should endeavour to enforce personal hygiene measures amongst staff.
- Hair nets and beard nets should be worn throughout the preparation and serving of food.
- Disposable gloves should also be worn and replaced every 30 minutes when serving food.
- Train staff on the correct hand washing techniques and place handwashing stations around the kitchen so that staff can easily maintain their personal hygiene.
- Patrons and patients should also be encouraged to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before mealtimes and should be guided to follow social distancing precautions with floor stickers to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in busy common areas and public spaces.
Fildes Food Safety offers a range of commercial kitchen supplies designed to help chefs and catering managers to uphold sustainable and effective food safety processes. Visit our website to place an order or get in touch with your Fildes Food Safety representative.