As the hospitality sector works hard to get back to normal after Covid, it’s a time to be positive but also to keep a focus on food safety.
Along with the upturn in custom we are seeing an increase in food poisoning allegations and allergic reaction cases. Prevention is key, so it’s worth having a reminder of basic food safety rules:
- Good hand hygiene and regular hand washing is essential.
- Diarrhoea and/or vomiting are the main symptoms of illnesses that can be transmitted through food and food handlers or those working in a food handling area must report these symptoms to management immediately.
- Managers must exclude staff with these symptoms from working with or around open food, normally for 48 hours from when symptoms stop naturally.
- Prevent cross contamination during storage by using separate storage equipment for raw and ready to eat foods or storing ready to eat foods above raw foods.
- Prevent cross contamination during preparation by using separate areas where possible for raw and ready to eat foods or preparing at different times of the day. Use separate equipment such as colour coded chopping boards.
- Use clean or disposable cloths and use 2 stage cleaning between different tasks. Disinfection products should meet BS EN 1276 or BS EN 13697 and contact times must be known and followed.
- Wash unwashed vegetables, salad and fruits before use.
- Always use separate complex equipment such as vacuum packers and slicers for raw and ready to eat food.
- Cook foods thoroughly to 75oC for 30 seconds or equivalent.
- Cooked or pre-heated food must be held at 63oC or more or at a lower temperature, but for no longer than a single two hour period.
- Keep cold foods in a refrigerator below 8o
- Cool foods safely and quickly – within 2 hours to 20oC and place in a refrigerator.
- Keep consistent, clear and honest records with corrective action to prove safety.
- Ensure staff are well trained in food safety and always have someone on site who understands the Food Safety Management System.
- Finally build the right habits to ensure a good food safety culture all day everyday.
If, despite your best efforts, problems do occur it can be a real blow, which is where our Food Alert food complaints service comes into its own. Our food safety experts are on hand 24/7 to give the professional support needed to lift the burden from you and provide peace of mind.
After the initial call for advice our team goes into action to contact the customer or guest involved to gather the information required to investigate the complaint.
The next step is to talk to staff to go through the food preparation processes and identify any areas of concern. If necessary, food samples are taken and sent to an independent laboratory for analysis.
A full report of findings is produced with an action plan for your business and a follow-up communication with the customer.
All this information is visible to you via the Alert65 Food Complaints module.
Alert65 is an all-in-one safety management software, covering everything from digital checklists, risk assessments, incident management, allergens, food complaints to supplier management, all in one place, accessibly from anywhere at any time.
It’s certainly food for thought.