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  • Matt Thomas

Restaurant Health and Safety: Food Prep

Ensuring your restaurant complies with health and safety law is absolutely vital. Particularly in these challenging times of the coronavirus, with extra personal protective equipment being a necessity. Food preparation isn’t a risk-free process, and every caution must be taken to protect employees and customers from hazard. Failure to meet the health and safety standard for food prep will result in a restaurant being forced to close or, even worse, a costly accident. If this is something you’re looking to avoid, our health and safety tips will be invaluable to you.


Handling

Within a kitchen, raw, cooked and fresh ingredients are stored nearby one another. All food groups must be handled with care and clean hands to avoid cross-contamination. Raw ingredients should always be stored underneath ready-to-eat food, or in separate fridges where possible. If handling raw and ready ingredients in the same workspace, thorough surface and equipment cleaning is essential between both in order to prevent the spread of bacteria.


Colour coded chopping boards and food storage bins are useful equipment to invest in, promising that you can tell with ease what ingredients have been held where. This is particularly efficient for fast-paced restaurants where a container may need to hold a couple of separate rounds of poultry, for example, since the container doesn’t need to be cleaned until the end of the day.


Cleaning

Effective cleaning makes food preparation much safer, quicker and easier. Cleaning surfaces and fixing spillages as you go assures a tidy workspace that won’t cross-contaminate your food products. Deep cleans are also required less often when worktops are regularly wiped with disinfectant, saving time in the long run. Time saved because of less maintenance means more time for food preparation and higher quality meals for your restaurant.


Use cleaning and disinfecting products that are fit for the job. Some chemicals in industrial disinfectants aren’t suitable for food and could tarnish the taste of meals or result in poisoning. All cleaning materials should be applied using the manufacturer’s instructions. Stronger disinfectants are better suited to clean food waste wheelie bins. It is vital that waste is disposed of sensibly and hygienically to deter pests and mould from your restaurant grounds.


Cooking

Thorough cooking of all your ingredients will not only mean that every meal you serve tastes pleasant, it also guarantees that your dishes are safe to consume. Harmful bacteria are killed by high temperature, particularly important with serving different types of meat. Poultry, pork, fowl and products made with minced meat must be cooked all the way through, with all juices running clear and no pink centre.


With beef and lamb, only the surface is likely to be contaminated with food poisoning bacteria. Make sure that the meat surface is carefully cooked and sealed to kill such bacteria, even if the middle of the meat is still pink. Employees must always practise cooking with caution in order to avoid burns and spillages.


Chilling

Chilling food properly stops harmful bacteria from developing and growing. Cooked dishes, ready-to-eat salads and desserts, and food with a use-by date shouldn’t be left standing at room temperature for more than four hours. After four hours of being unrefrigerated, such food should be put back in the fridge or thrown away.


Eight degrees is the very highest temperature that fridges can be in order to ‘chill’ by legal requirement, but it is best to practise to set fridges for around five degrees to ensure compliance.


Cutting

Knives are an important tool in any kitchen for food preparation, but they don’t come without risk. Cuts are commonplace but can be very serious. Though it seems obvious, training for employees working with sharp tools is vitally important in preventing workplace injury.


Kitchen environments can be highly stressful, and proper care when using knives is sometimes hard for employees to maintain. It is the responsibility of both the employer and the employee to try and create the least distracting environment possible during food preparation. Any ingredients touched by blood must immediately be disposed of, wasting money and time.



Health and safety guidelines are in place to protect employees while working, and your diners during their experience. Every rule should be followed as closely as possible to protect your reputation, and save you the hassle of an incident. If you have any enquiries regarding food safety and storage, please get in touch by emailing us at sales@onitdirect.co.uk or calling us on 01636 362025.


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