Preventing food poisoning in the kitchen is the ultimate goal of hygiene and food safety standards. No one wants to cause food poisoning, and no one wants to get food poisoning. So there is a reasonable expectation that food prepared and sold from the kitchen should be done in a manner that prevents food poisoning from happening.
This requires a good understanding of the risks in the kitchen when it comes to handling foods. This also means understanding how bacteria grow and survive and what the risky practices are when preparing, cooking and displaying foods.
Here are 3 quick tips for preventing food poisoning in the kitchen:
There are 2 main ways that germs and bacteria are introduced into the kitchen.
- Dirty hands
- Raw meats & vegetables
Hand washing and good personal hygiene is said to be the number one way to prevent food poisoning. This means washing your hands after:
- handling raw foods
- using the toilet
- entering and leaving the kitchen
Separating raw and ready-to-eat foods helps prevent cross-contamination where bacteria can get into foods that shouldn’t have it. This means good storage in the fridges and freezers. Following a colour-coding system also helps prevent contamination during the preparation of foods.
2. Temperature control
Raw meats and vegetables by design, naturally have a high bacterial load (high amount of bacteria). Which is why we need to cook meats before we can eat them. Download a temperature chart here.
- Cooking foods to an internal temperature of 75º C (167º F) is the safest temperature that confidently kills bacteria.
- Keeping food outside of the critical danger zone 20 – 45º C (68 – 113º F) eliminates the amount of bacteria that grow.
- This relates to cooling of foods, defrosting of foods and the display of foods on a buffet or servery.
- Refrigerating foods minimises the amount of bacteria that grow.
Check out our tips on why sandwiches are risker than you think!
A clean and sanitised kitchen ensures that bacteria doesn’t spread in the kitchen. Using suitable cleaning and sanitising products is necessary to eliminate bacteria. This means cleaning crockery, cutlery, cutting boards, equipment and tables on a regular basis. Items that come into contact with food directly need clean-as-you-go , where all other items need daily or weekly cleaning. Rinsing and washing fruits and vegetables is also a key element in the food safety process.
Following these 3 principles are the basic elements of any food safety system. There are many other requirements that help eliminate the risk of food poisoning, but none more so that these 3 tips. We have also made some recommendations for the catering industry here.
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