Whether you manage a school cafeteria or a restaurant, food safety should be at the top of your list of priorities. A foodborne illness can take out your entire staff as well as other people under your care.
Here are some of the best ways to prevent an illness from contaminated food:
1. Wash your hands
Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling food, cooked or uncooked. Ensure your staff does this after touching trash, blowing their nose, or handling animals.
2. Wash all workspaces and utensils
Before preparing ingredients, all worktops, utensils, and knives should be washed and sanitized, especially if used on raw meat, eggs, fish, and vegetables. Hot and soapy water should get rid of most of the bacteria.
3. Wash all dishcloths
All dishcloths and tea towels should be scrubbed clean at the end of the day or before they are used the next day. Dirty and damp cloths are perfect breeding grounds for germs.
4. Use separate chopping boards.
Use different chopping boards for raw meat such as fish and beef. It will prevent cross-contamination with other ingredients such as vegetables.
5. Keep raw meat separate
Keep raw meat separate from fruit, vegetables, and other ingredients. If they touch other food, they can contaminate it with bacteria.
6. Cook to appropriate temperatures
Use a food thermometer to ensure the food you cook is at the right temperature before serving. Whole meats should be cooked at 145°F, poultry at 165°F, and ground meat should reach 160F to be safely edible.
7. Ensure food is handled correctly
Food contamination can occur at any point in the supply chain. Ensuring the supply you get is free of bacteria is your responsibility. As such, you need to be aware of how other chain links are handling raw products and how they are being processed and transported to your facilities. Anything from chemicals to irrigation water can ruin an entire shipment of lettuce.
8. Keep track of expiration dates
Contrary to popular belief, expired food is not safe to eat. Do not use food that is past its expiration date. They are at higher risk of being rancid or spoilage. No temperature is high enough, and no cooking technique is innovative enough to change that.
9. Keep sick workers away from food
A sick employee can contaminate an entire school or facility if they work in the kitchen or handle food. Make sure any ill workers remain at home until they are better or away from the food prep area for at least 72 hours.
10. Stay on top of food safety and research
Remain in touch with your local public health department and the Centers for Disease Control for the latest research on food safety. It can save a life and save you from expensive lawsuits.
Complex supply chains and changing food safety regulations can place your business and facilities at risk. Remain on top of potential liabilities by maximizing your insurance coverage and reducing risk exposure upfront with SIA Insurance Group. Get in touch with us for a consultation today. We offer insurance for food industries in Illinois that you can rely on.
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