Food Safety and Hygiene Advice
Kitchens are one of the areas of a business and home, which contain most germs. One study found that the kitchen sink contains 100,000 times more germs than in the bathroom. Germs such as E. coli, campylobacter and salmonella, they enter the kitchen and are spread easily by your hands and raw food.
Handling, cooking and storing food correctly is essential to ensure the safety of food and the prevention of food poisoning and the introductions of hazards to food such as physical and chemical contaminants. All of which are a threat to consumers health.
Hands are very versatile when used correctly. However, they are frequently implicated as a cause of food poisoning. Therefore, washing them thoroughly with soap and warm water before handling raw and cooked foods is essential. Consider other measures to avoid handling food with bare hands – using tongs or disposable gloves for example.
Raw meats, including poultry, contain harmful bacteria (salmonella and campylobacter) that can spread easily to anything it touches. This includes food, work surfaces, tables, chopping boards, knives, utensils and equipment, serving cloths, cleaning cloths, etc.
The FSA (food standards agency) advises that when preparing raw chicken you should avoid washing it. This prevents the cross contamination of the surfaces from splashes. Any germs on the poultry will be killed during the cooking process if cooked thoroughly.
Cross contamination is also responsible for food poisoning outbreaks, therefore, take particular care to keep raw foods away from ready-to-eat foods such as bread, salads and fruit. These foods are prepared and ready to eat so if you get bacteria on them they won’t be killed, this then, may lead to the bacteria making you ill.
Use the correct equipment and be aware of colour coding. You should use different chopping boards for raw and ready-to-eat foods.
Red Raw Meats
Blue Raw Fish
Yellow Cooked Meats
Green Salads & Fruit
White Bakery & Dairy
Always remember the 4C’s
Cook food to the correct temperature. This will ensure the destruction of the bacteria. Check the food with a thermometer and make sure it is piping hot before it is consumed. When cooking burgers, sausages, and pork, cut into the meat to make sure it is not pink and that it is piping hot.
Checking the temperature of poultry should be done by piercing the thickest part of the leg (between the drumstick and the thigh) with a digital thermometer. A recommended safe temperature of 70°C for two minutes should be sufficient to make the food safe, However, some companies use different temperatures for example 75°C, so check with yours. Hot hold food above 63°C. This is a legal requirement for food businesses.
If food is not going to be served immediately, cool it rapidly and then store it in the fridge. DO NOT put hot food in the fridge this can lead to food poisoning. Keep the fridge temperature between 1°C and 4°C (5°C to 63°C is within the danger zone for bacterial multiplication)
Wash worktops and chopping boards before and after use as they are a source of cross contamination of bacteria. It is a well known fact that bacteria are found in kitchen cloth, dishcloths etc. We strongly recommend they are not used and are replaced with disposable cloths.
When cleaning use a detergent, this will help to dissolve grease and remove dirt. Detergent will help to remove some of the bacteria, however, detergents do not disinfect, therefore, most will survive. To prevent the bacteria from causing illness we must disinfect certain items after they have been cleaned, namely- food contact surfaces, hand contact surfaces, cloths, mops and waste bins including the lid. Sanitisers combine the the work of detergent and disinfectant using one application method. They clean and disinfect, provided you follow the manufacturers instructions and adhere to contact time.
Pathogenic bacteria (disease producing organism) cause most of the illnesses from food. Therefore, it is essential that you take care when handling food. Careless or inappropriate food handling may contaminate food. This can also happen when a contaminated food is allowed to touch another food or even drip onto it (cross contamination). Keep raw and cooked food separate and cover the food during storage and transportation, to prevent contamination
Anything that touches food is a possible vehicle of contamination. Follow strict guidance on personal hygiene whilst working with food, do not touch your hair, eat or drink. You may transfer bacteria from your head or mouth (Staphylococcus Aureus).
Food Hygiene Ratings
From 2010, the Food Standards Agency in partnership with local authorities will be bring out a new scheme to rate the cleanliness of food businesses. Those that will be given a rating are: restaurants, takeaways, cafes, sandwich shops, supermarkets, pubs, hotels and other retail food outlets, as well as any other business where consumers can eat or buy food. For a more detailed description click HERE.