If you have a commercial kitchen setup, you must know how food safety can affect your brand’s image. Undoubtedly, it can make or break your goodwill. Since commercial kitchens deal with massive food quantities daily, practicing some proven tips for food safety is essential.
Otherwise, contaminated food will result in the spread of diseases. Some common complaints include stomach infections, food poisoning, diarrhea, etc. Besides this, it can drastically affect a company’s budget.
Once the food becomes poisonous, commercial kitchens have no other option than to throw it. Therefore, take every possible step and follow a food safety plan. Some tips are mentioned below:
1. Regularly Check Appliances
Checking your kitchen appliances can automatically increase food safety. If the appliances are in proper working condition, the chances of food contamination are low. In most cases, poor refrigeration results in food poisoning.
Make sure to assign this duty to the quality assurance officer of your team. Also, get a gas safety check done every year. It is a legal requirement too and covers a thorough inspection.
Yes, you need to bear its cost annually and it depends on the number of appliances. The cost may differ from country to country. You can check the policy for gas safety certificates in Kent to know other terms and conditions.
2. Hand Washing Rule
Since you are dealing in a food business, the handwashing rule is mandatory. At times, cross-contamination may also transfer poisonous germs into the food. Therefore, from chefs to food handlers, everyone should follow the hand washing rule. Here are a few tips for it:
- Encourage this practice by posting pictures everywhere, just like many other businesses did during the pandemic.
- Build a dedicated handwashing sink that is accessible from the entrance. This way, employees can wash their hands before touching anything.
- Emphasize handwashing in employee training programs. Also, teach them the right procedure for it. Experts suggest washing hands for at least 20 seconds to stay safe.
3. Gloves, Uniform, and Hair Net
Even after hand washing, every employee should wear gloves for additional safety. It will protect the food, especially if the employee has put on nail color on their nails. Nail colors have chemicals in them that can contaminate the food.
Likewise, employees should wear a hairnet and also cover their heads with a cap. It will protect employees’ hair from falling into the food. Also, ensure that every employee wears a neat and clean uniform on the premises.
4. Wash Meat, Fruits, and Vegetables
Do you know about Salmonella disease? Research shows that tomatoes commonly carry this disease. Therefore, washing tomatoes and all other fruits is important. Similarly, make sure to wash meat twice.
Check the meat before cooking and freeze it properly. Especially in summers, meat can rot easily. So, always wash the meat before freezing.
Many commercial setups use machines to cut fruits and vegetables. Wash or clean those machines too. Again, involve your quality assurance team to ensure proper cleaning procedures before cooking.
5. Check Expiry Date
Since commercial kitchens purchase ingredients in bulk, monitoring the expiry date is important. For convenience, create separate sections to know which items are about to get expired.
You can create a green section for items that are in good condition. It will enable you to use these products before the expired ones.
Then, create a red section for products that are expired. By doing this, you can quickly dispose of all expired products together.
6. Arrange Workshops on Food Safety
Take every possible step to remind employees about food safety. Make them realize its importance and teach them the right procedures for cleanliness. You can arrange workshops and seminars for this. Monthly workshops are ideal for keeping your employees on the right track.
7. Follow Rules for Avoiding Cross-Contamination
Cross-contamination can occur in multiple ways. We should set some rules to avoid it. For instance, there should be separate counters for keeping cooked and raw food. Bacteria in the raw food can affect the cooked food and may result in sickness.
Furthermore, always keep raw fish, chicken, and other types of meat in separate sections. Purchase big zip lock bags, label them and keep one item in each bag. Also, clean your utensils after using them on raw food.
8. Give Sick Leaves to Employees
Never hesitate in giving sick leaves to employees. It will not affect your productivity. Low productivity is better than making your clients sick. Viral illnesses can get transferred easily.
We have a recent example of Covid -19. You can give overtime to the other employees and let the sick employees stay at home. This way you’re prioritizing not only your customers’ but also your employees’ safety.
9. Create a Cleaning and Sanitizing Schedule
Cleaning and hygienic practices are extremely important. Everyone can admit that employees will barely follow if there is no schedule or plan set in place. The kitchen should be cleaned every day before the employees arrive and after they leave.
Likewise, you can plan weekly sanitization. Bugs, cockroaches, and insects can also be seen where there is food. So, plan accordingly. Call an expert to get rid of them and maintain cleanliness to avoid them in the future.
10. Cook Food at the Right Temperature
Undercooked food can also be the reason for diarrhea and stomach bugs. Therefore, chefs of your commercial kitchen should have proper knowledge about the right temperature for cooking. Experts believe that chicken requires 165°F and beef requires 155°F for ideal cooking.
Furthermore, use cooking thermometers for checking the temperature. Also, make sure to use different thermometers for different types of meat to avoid contamination.
All in all, food safety should be the top priority of all commercial kitchens. Tips like hand washing, hygiene practices, and employee training are helpful. Besides this, keeping cooked and raw food separate, maintaining ideal cooking, refrigeration temperature, and cleaning utensils frequently are important as well. If your kitchen will provide safe and healthy food, it can successfully create a good image in the market. Otherwise, unhealthy food can negatively affect your sales and reputation, and food safety authorities may sue your business.