Food hygiene is incredibly important for anyone who works in the hospitality industry or in food and drink. This could be providing food to paying customers or preparing meals for children in an educational setting or the elderly in care homes. Regardless of how and where you provide meals and food items, there are a number of processes, procedures and legislations that you will need to follow and adhere to. There are also a number of different ways that you can have a Food Hygiene Check carried out on your business and premises.
One of the main reasons food hygiene needs to be monitored is to ensure that the food that you serve does not cause harm to those who eat it, either through improper cooking or from food poisoning. There are four main areas that are identified by the government’s food agency as areas to focus on for good food hygiene.
Cleaning – this focuses on the equipment that you use and the area in which you prepare and cook food. There are a number of disinfectants and cleaning products that are recommended by the government agency to help remove bacteria and viruses from surfaces. One important tip that they give is to ensure that if any food is spilled that it is immediately cleaned up and the surface it has touched is cleaned thoroughly with the appropriate products. They also note that food waste should be cleaned and removed from the area as often as possible and not allowed to build up in large quantities.
Cooking – meat is a food product that needs to be carefully cooked to avoid the consumer from ingesting harmful bacteria that can live in the meat and can cause a number of illnesses including types of food poisoning. The best practice advice is to ensure that all meat is steaming hot, any juices are running clear and that the meat is not pink inside. There is lots of advice available on how long food items should be cooked for and what the optimum internal temperatures are to indicate that the food is cooked properly.
Chilling – harmful bacteria can build up in food items if they are not chilled correctly. In some cases foods such as dairy, salads and meats need to be refrigerated to prevent them from becoming harmful to consume. Cold foods that are put into a fridge must be stored at temperatures of 8 degrees celsius or lower, but the recommendation is to keep your fridge set at around 5 degrees celsius.
Cross Contamination – this is where bacteria is spread from one food or another or from a surface to a food as a result of improper storing of foods or cleaning of areas used in food preparation or storage.In most cases this happens with raw foods, and meat in particular. This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to store your products and meat correctly.