Proper food handling, preparation, and storage ensure the safety of the targeted consumers. Furthermore, strict adherence to food safety protocols can help keep at bay common food-borne illnesses, including Salmonella and E Coli.
There are many protocols designed to ensure food safety compliance by commercial food handlers. So, whether you own a small restaurant or are involved in large-scale consumables production, you can reduce cross-contamination of food by adhering to safe food handling practices, and taking advantage of the different ways to preserve food.
Below are essential safety procedures and food prep solutions you should embrace in a commercial kitchen.
Wear Protective Clothing
Cross-contamination is a common phenomenon in food preparation, usually involving the transfer of harmful bacteria to food. Bacteria may be transferred from other foods, utensils, infected surfaces, and human hands.
It is, therefore, advisable to wear protective clothing such as hand gloves, headgear, and face masks when handling food. Food handling gloves, for instance, are available in varying sizes and quantities that enhance healthy food preparation processes.
Observe Personal Hygiene
Food handling staff should observe the highest hygiene standards before, during, and after handling food.
First, proper hand-washing procedures mitigate the spread of germs to food substances. Before wearing hand gloves, all food handlers should wash their hands in running water using an effective antiseptic.
Personal cleanliness should also be top-notch during food handling. Experts recommend covering or keeping short hair if you often handle food. Similarly, if you have sores, cuts, or injuries, you may cover them to prevent food cross-contamination.
Additionally, food handling staff should immediately report any outbreak or illness to prevent passing on germs when handling food.
Sanitize Utensils and Cutting Boards
Using utensils such as knives, plates, and cutting boards is a good way to minimize hand contact with food. It is advisable to equip your staff with the right tools to enhance safety protocols in food handling.
Color-coded knives, for instance, prevent cross-contamination since you can use their unique color codes to dedicate different knives to various tasks in the kitchen. Similarly, chopping boards are available in various color codes enabling food handlers to use specific colors for each food type.
Care is, however, required in using utensils since slight negligence can often cause cross-contamination. Thus, you should only use clean, sanitized boards and utensils.
Proper Food Storage and Transportation
Food safety involves proper handling not only during preparation but also when storing raw food and transporting finished products to your customers.
To prevent food contamination, observe the following precautions during food storage:
- If you have unused but perishable food products, store them refrigerated until they are ready for use.
- Always check and regulate the temperature of the refrigerator and freezer, depending on the type of food stored.
- Perishable food products such as beef should be safely wrapped with foil to preserve natural juices and prevent contamination from dropping juices.
- Canned foods shouldn’t be opened until ready for use. In addition, you should store canned food products in cool, dry places, away from direct sunlight exposure.
- When transporting food, ensure you regulate the temperature inside the transit vehicle to the required standard. Additionally, foods in transit should be held in air-tight containers or special packages to prevent cross-contamination.
Proper Handling Of Leftovers
Proper disposal of leftovers prevents the build-up of garbage and keeps pests and rodents at away. In the long run, you’ll eliminate contamination of ingredients, ready food, equipment, and utensils. Proper handling of leftovers also minimizes wastage through efficient food preservation techniques.
If you have any raw food leftovers, you may place them in a shallow container for refrigeration or freezing to preserve freshness.
However, cooked leftovers may not require refrigeration. Instead, you can reheat the food and use it for consumption within 3-4 days.
Trained Food Handlers
Educating food handlers on best practices to prevent contamination is one of the best ways to ensure food safety. For this reason, regulators require all food handlers to undergo frequent training on food handling and hygiene practices suitable to their work.
If you deal with commercial food preparation, you may contact accredited organizations for customized food prep solutions including training your staff.
Typically, food handling staff should have adequate knowledge of;
- Pest control in food handling.
- Safe food storage.
- Personal hygiene.
- Food handling safety measures.
- Cleanliness of the food preparation area.