Reasons why businesses are investing in food safety and quality.
The Australian Food and Safety information council is warning Australians about the risks with contracting food poisoning. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that Australians were becoming more vulnerable to food poisoning, which is leading to unpleasant feelings with people’s health. Or worse, it is life threatening. With more than 5.4 million people affected in the last year, the Australian government is urging businesses to do more to combat the rise in dangerous bacteria that is leading to more reported cases of food poisoning.
One of the themes in the Australian Food Safety Week which is due to commence in November, is ‘How you cook can make you crook!’. People can often be unaware of how their cooking methods may be unhygienic and lead to health problems for them and for others that they are serving. The aim is to improve the awareness of food safety for businesses. The Australian Food Safety Information Council recommends that you retain control of:
- How you clean the food.
- How you cook the food.
- How you chill the food.
- How you separate the food.
What are some tips to better manage food safety and quality.
If a person is sick, do not have them prepare, cook or serve food.
If a person is ill, it is best for them to be removed from the environment where food is stored and prepared. Sick workers can spread their virus or disease to the people that are consuming the food. There are foodborne pathogens such as Norovirus, Hepatitis A and Shigella, which are often spread by restaurant workers to the restaurant’s customers through their foods.
image via foodsafety.gov
There was a case in the US where a restaurant worker was ill with Hepatitis A and exposed up to ten thousand restaurant patrons to the disease. Those that were not immediately vaccinated contracted the virus.
Actions that business need to take when it comes to food safety when employees are sick is that the employee must be told to stay home and return only when they are fully recovered. While it may seem that the operations of your business are strained with a reduced labour force, it is a temporary setback compared to your restaurant being responsible for hundreds or thousands of cases of food poisoning that could lead to reputation damage, a reduction in new and return customers and potential legal action.
Ensure that you store and chill food items properly.
Any perishable items should be kept inside the fridge at 5 degrees Celsius or below. Perishable items oxidise when exposed to air and heat. To maintain freshness, invest in a vacuum sealer that can remove air and preserve food for longer. While any bacteria that may be present in the food, it is less likely to multiply without air. You will still need to make sure the food is refrigerated or frozen. Store the food promptly and any hot food should be stored as soon as it has stopped steaming.
Keep raw meat and poultry separate from other foods.
It is important that you manage to avoid any threats of cross contamination. Any raw meats or poultry should be kept in a separate area in the bottom of the fridge or in a sealed container so that it won’t drip onto other foods. You should also ensure that any food that you have stored within your fridge is completely sealed and covered.
Most people don’t know how to keep the areas in their place of food preparation clean to the point where it won’t pose a risk to people’s health. The following actions should always be taken.
- When any raw meats and poultry chopped on chopping boards, always make sure to clean and disinfect them properly to avoid any risk of cross contamination.
- Ensure that any utensils or crockery are thoroughly cleaned.
- Make sure your hands are cleaned properly. This means:
– Washing the hands with soapy water for 20 seconds.
– Drying hands for 20 seconds prior to cooking.
– Repeating the process frequently when dealing with raw meats, poultry and vegetables.
Food safety is important. It is up to the due diligence of businesses to take initiative to reduce the threat of food poisoning and to improve their health and safety practices when it comes to food preparation and food storage. If you are a business owner or manager in the food industry, start taking action today!