Food safety preparation for the return of hospitality businesses
Food businesses including restaurants and catering companies are excited to be reopening across Australia in the coming weeks. In preparation for reopening, these businesses have been required to develop new procedures that are more stringent than previous standards. For many restaurant and kitchen managers, this has meant considerable adjustments to operations to keep patrons and employees safe, and the business operating profitably. While these new processes have become second nature to most food industry operators across the past 24 months, it is critical to remain vigilant as circumstances change as the industry reopens.
Good hygiene practices
Washing hands has always been a necessary food safety precaution to limit the risk of food-borne disease. However, research revealed that thorough hand washing was one of the most efficient strategies to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, making it more vital than ever. Staff and customers should be reminded that hands should be cleaned for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap to kill bacteria properly.
In the absence of soap and water, hand sanitiser can be utilised. Hand sanitiser should be strategically placed around kitchens and dining rooms by foodservice owners to encourage frequent hand sanitisation by workers and customers. Fildes Food Safety offers a range of safe sanitiser dispensers for various applications in the restaurant environment.
Personal protective equipment
PPE such as masks and gloves are essential to protect the safety of both the wearer and those around them. Wearing a mask slows the rate at which COVID-19 spreads through community transmission as they help to filter droplets emitted by coughing, sneezing, and talking, making them less likely to infect other people nearby through close contact. Likewise, disposable gloves are another type of protective equipment that can help prevent the spread of disease. Latex, nitrile or vinyl gloves provide a barrier between contaminated surfaces and the hands, preventing bacteria from spreading.
Deep cleaning and sanitisation
Routine cleaning procedures are critical for keeping patrons and staff safe. Surfaces often touched, such as condiments, trays, menus, tables, and doorknobs should be sanitised regularly. To be effective against COVID-19, any sanitising products utilised must include at least 60% alcohol, such as the Smart San S-2 Surface Sanitiser.
Reducing food waste
Chefs and restaurant managers should always seek out methods to reduce costs, increase outputs and maintain food safety standards. Controlling food waste is one aspect that will significantly impact these elements. To ensure that food avoids being disposed of after reopening to customers, it is important to take special consideration when completing ordering. Although the industry can be volatile, some consumption trends can be measured. Factors to consider are seasonal changes, nearby events, isolated weather occurrences and marketing. More pertinently, it is key to remember that as restaurants reopen after Covid, daily case numbers within the community may impact the popularity of eating out. Restaurant managers should keep track of these trends to anticipate when more or less stock will be required.
A great way to avoid food wastage in times when traffic is low and over-ordering has occurred is to utilise strategies such as the first in first out (FIFO) rule, in which products first delivered are also first used. Success of this strategy often relies on products such as food safety labels, which can assist staff in quickly identifying relevant information such as use-by and purchase dates.
Contact Fildes Food Safety to learn more about our food safety products and resources, as well as how we can assist you in improving your current and future operations.