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Top 10 food safety tips

For catering services and anyone handling food regularly, it is essential that the food is prepared in a hygienic manner and is safe to eat. Maintaining food safety standards helps reduce risk to your customers, whilst also protecting your business from any legal action and its reputation.

Our Head of Food Safety & Compliance, Rob Henry FIFST ACIEH, outlines his top ten food safety tips:

    1. Wash your hands. Effective handwashing is extremely important to help prevent harmful bacteria from spreading from your hands onto food or cooking utensils. Click here for tips on personal hygiene.
    2. Clean surfaces often. Wash cutting boards, utensils and countertops with a clean sponge and hot, soapy water after preparing each food item. Finish off with a final wipe with blue towel and then dispose of it. Surfaces should be sanitised and left to dry.
    3. Wash fruit and vegetables before use. Even if you plan to peel the fruit or vegetable, it’s still important to wash it because bacteria can spread from the outside to the inside as you cut or peel the product, as well as pesticides and other contaminates that can be found on the outer skin.
    4. Separate and don’t cross-contaminate. Using separate cutting boards and utensils when preparing food will reduce the risk for cross-contamination.
    5. Thaw it correctly. Safe ways to defrost food are as follows; in the refrigerator overnight or in the microwave (following manufacturer’s instructions). Food thawed in the microwave should be cooked immediately.
    6. Cook food thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to ensure that your food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature. Click here for guidance on temperatures.
    7. Store food correctly. Food should be stored correctly, especially in the fridge. Raw meat should be stored on the bottom shelf to prevent the juices from dripping, which could contaminate other food, whilst ready to eat products should be on the top shelf. You can’t always tell if harmful bacteria are growing on foods; view these NHS tips here on storing food and leftovers safely so you can recognize when to throw food away.
    8. Handle leftovers safely. Cover leftovers: Wrap them in airtight packaging or seal them in storage containers and refrigerate at 5°C or below. When reheating leftovers, be sure that they reach an internal temperature of 75°C.
    9. Prevent contamination. You must not allow anyone to handle food or enter a food handling area if they are suffering from or carrying a disease likely to be transmitted through food, have infected wounds, skin infections or sores, or have diarrhoea.
    10. Check expiry dates. Check your foods for ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ dates:
      ‘Use by’ dates appear on foods that go off quite quickly. It can be dangerous to eat foods past this date.
      ‘Best before’ dates are for foods with a longer life. They show how long the food will be at its best.

In summary, remember to clean as you go and prepare, cook, and store your food safely to ensure you’re always keeping your customers safe.

With our in-house expertise and industry partners, our CaterCloud team can arrange allergen and food safety training for our clients, providing added value and support where needed.

 

CaterCloud is the leading integrated solution for allergen, nutrition, menu planning and cost management and it’s FREE TO USE – sign up here or contact support@catercloud.com for more information.

Published on February 22nd, 2022

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