Hot weather vs hygiene - Bar & Kitchen

Hot weather vs hygiene

Follow these guidelines from the Food Standards Agency to avoid food health hazards.

The basics

• Get to know the regulations and follow them

• Set up processes around food storage with regular date checks

• Have rules around food preparation and make sure all your team know them

Cleaning

Clean and disinfect food areas and equipment between different tasks, especially after handling raw food. Do it as you go and use cleaning and disinfection products suitable for the job, never letting food waste build up (even more important in the warm weather). Have a rigorous cleaning schedule covering handwashing, clothing, fitness for work and training, that your team completely understand and adhere to.

Cross-contamination

This is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Cross-contamination happens when bacteria is spread between food, surfaces or equipment.

It’s most likely to happen when raw food touches or drips onto ready-to-eat food, equipment or surfaces or if the same equipment is used for raw and ready-to-eat food. To prevent contamination, regularly clean and use separate work areas, surfaces and equipment for raw and ready-to-eat food.

Hands are a major carrier too. Wash thoroughly after touching raw food.

““Storing and handling food incorrectly could lead to harmful bacteria growing, which could cause food poisoning. Food businesses need to maintain high standards in preparation and planning.””
- Head of Incidents and Food Hygiene Policy at the Food Standards Agency

Chilling

This will prevent harmful bacteria growing. Always keep the following chilled and never leave them standing at room temperature:

• Food with a use-by date

• Cooked dishes

• Ready-to-eat foods.

Follow storage instructions, put food that needs to be chilled in the fridge straight away and remove it as close to prep as possible.

Are your fridge and display units cold enough? They should be 5C or below. Buy a fridge thermometer to be sure.

Cooking

Thorough cooking kills harmful bacteria. Most types of meat should be thoroughly cooked to prevent harmful bacteria in the middle, this is even more important during barbeque season when the outside of the food can appear well done, but the inside is still only partially cooked. Before service, always check they’re steaming hot right through, the juices run clear and there’s no pink or rare meat inside.

With whole cuts of beef and lamb, it’s usually only the surface which can be contaminated with food poisoning bacteria so ensure that surface is properly cooked and sealed even if the middle is still pink.

Good Practise

Clear out the rubbish

Rodents, rats, mice, insects and birds are all more likely to be attracted to an unhygienic kitchen as the temperature rises. Dispose of food waste and other rubbish as quickly as possible to avoid it building up and attracting pests.

Check your whole venue

Is the whole building – not just the food prep areas – clean, well maintained and in an appropriate condition to allow you to follow good food hygiene practices? If in doubt, ask your local authority for advice. Handwashing facilities, changing areas, ventilation, lighting and drainage are all critical in developing an appropriate safety culture across your business.

All surfaces and areas for preparing food must be clean and separated. However, attention should also be given to cleaning other areas of the kitchen (venue) such as floors, walls, doors and even ceilings.

Safe food storage

Store dry food such as pasta, rice and fl our in containers in cupboards or on shelves. Fresh, chilled and frozen foods should clearly be stored in a fridge or freezer.

Tips for takeaways

Avoid takeaway trouble when you transport food to a customer by ensuring it is transported in packaging or containers that protect it from contamination and keep it at the correct temperature during transit.

It is equally important to keep chilled and frozen foods at the correct temperature and that raw and ready-to-eat foods are packed separately.

Train your team

You are legally bound to ensure your food handlers are given the correct supervision and training in food hygiene. The Food Standards Agency has free online food safety training courses for businesses, including food-labelling courses.

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