Building a food safety system from the ground up is a very difficult thing to do.
However, it can be done!
Here are our tips on getting started :
Firstly, you need to know where to begin. It can be overwhelming to be tasked with implementing a system, whether it be in a kitchen / food factory or even at home.
Starting, means starting from point 1: information (knowledge)
We have fantastic resources available for you on our website. Want to know a little more in-depth? We’ve got special deals on “The Food Safety Pillars” & “Food Safety for the Kitchen” available on our store or on Amazon.com . We also have online training available on Udemy.com.
And we’re currently developing an email course. You can sign up here to get a notice for when we are ready to launch.
What are the basics for a food safety system?
Before any food safety system can be implemented, you have to start with the basics of food safety. This means awareness, understanding and then implementation.
- Cleaning and sanitising
- Deep cleaning
- Clean as you go
- Special attention to cutting boards
- Personal Hygiene
- Hand washing awareness, monitoring and providing the appropriate amenities
- Clean and correct uniforms, clean and healthy staff etc.
- Temperature Control
- This means keeping hot foods hot
- And cold foods cold
- Never allowing foods to enter the danger zone (20 – 45°C) (68 – 113° F)
- Managing delivered foods
- Food Storage
- Raw meats/veg separate from Ready-to-eat foods (RTE)
- Covering foods and date coding
- Dry goods storage
- Food Handling
- Correct defrosting
- Proper reheating
- Quick cooling of hot foods
- Preventing cross-contamination
We’ll explain the above in more detail below:
- You need chemicals for the dishwasher / scullery and for clean as you go.
- Start by getting proper food safe chemicals and have your staff trained.
- Determine what the levels of risk are in your kitchen, meaning direct vs indirect risks of causing food poisoning. Draw up a schedule for cleaning high risk to low risk areas (we have examples for your here).
- Implement the schedule accordingly.
Now you have chemicals, you know how to use them, and you kitchen is cleaned according to the risks. That’s the first pillar in a food safety system.
- Get liquid hand soap, hand sanitiser, dedicated hand wash basins, hand washing signs.
- Train your staff on when and how often hand washing must take place.
- Get proper PPE (personal protective equipment) uniforms and monitor your staff hygiene (check your checklist here)
- Make sure you that cook your foods to above 70°C (core temperature)
- If you are serving foods on a buffet/servery you’ll need hot and cold displays that keep foods above 65°C and below 5°C.
- Make sure fridges and freezers are running at the right temperatures (temperature guide).
- Never leave foods out for no reason. They call it the danger zone for a reason! Bacteria rapidly multiply at this range.
These are you 2nd and 3rd pillars in the food safety system.
Pro tip: Prepare foods in portions and once each portion is finished get them in the fridge/hot box A.S.A.P
- If you are preparing salads for a display, same as above, but keep them in the freezer for 30 mins to chill down as much as possible. Hot and cold displays only keep foods at a certain temperature, they DO NOT heat or cool.
- Ensure you have a good receiving procedure in place (procedure! / checklist! )
- Make double sure that foods are stored correct in the fridges/freezers and in the dry storage area
Pro tip: Small undercounter fridges are the riskiest areas. Less space, busy areas, hidden away and difficult to check!
Make sure you know how to defrost foods safely and how to reheat foods correctly. What to do when cooling foods down for another service. And training your staff to look out for potential cross contamination!
These are the 4th & 5th pillars in a food safety system.
These are tried and tested methods and if you follow each step correctly, these are guaranteed to produce successful results.
Once you have these in place you can look at writing up policies and procedures using HACCP / ISO 22000 & BRC standards. Not before then! We see this mistake made worldwide.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Food Safety?
Food Safety describes the handling, preparation and storage of food in a way that best reduces the risk of individuals becoming sick from food-borne illnesses.
Food safety is a global concern that covers a variety of different areas of everyday life.
The principles of food safety aim to prevent food from becoming contaminated and causing food poisoning. Food Safety can achieved in 5 basic steps:
- Properly cleaning and sanitising all surfaces, equipment and utensils
- Maintaining a high level of personal hygiene, especially hand washing
- Keeping foods cold, when needed. Keeping food hot when required.
- Storing foods in a way that prevents cross-contamination.
- Cooking, reheating and cooling of foods. As well as the prevention of cross-contamination during the preparation process.
What Are The Food Safety Hazards?
Microbiological hazards include bacteria, yeasts, moulds and viruses.
Chemical hazards include water, food contact materials, cleaning agents, pest control substances, contaminants (environmental, agricultural and process e.g. acrylamide), pesticides, biocides and food additives.
Physical hazards include glass, packaging, jewellery, pest droppings, screws etc.
This refers to the risk associated with the unintended presence of one or more of the 14 EU listed food allergens due to cross-contamination.
Why is Food Safety Training Important?
If food safety is neglected, the risk of food contamination increases, which can cause food-borne illness outbreaks. Food-borne illnesses can critically damage a company’s reputation and result in criminal negligence, loss of sales/profits, scathing media coverage and even bankruptcy. Food safety education and training is a win-win situation, protecting both the guests and the company. The American Culinary Federation puts it best.