Even a single food-related incident can deal a harsh blow to your business, so food safety should always be a top priority. The only defense in a court of law is to have all your due diligence paper work completed. Read on to learn about the dangers you should watch out for and what you can do to ensure your food is safe to eat.
Biological hazards include bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses. They can develop in poorly handled food or through contamination from an outside source. Ensure that all your produce has been purchased from an approved supplier. Ask you supplier for evidence of external auditing such as BRC or SALSA. In all cases of suspected contaminated food, dispose of it immediately.
Chemical hazards are harmful substances such as pesticides or machine oils. These hazards are present at every stage of food handling. Minimise risk by inspecting the food upon the delivery to ensure the goods coming in are fit for consumption – record deliveries in to your premises and mark any issues on the document. Always ensure that all foods are handled and stored correctly. Ensure that you have separate storage for the chemicals used in your operation.
Physical hazards are objects which contaminate your foods such as pieces of glass or metal, toothpicks, jewelry or hair. Care should be taken during the preparation process in order to reduce the risk of contamination. Ensuring that all foods are covered in storage will help prevent physical contamination from occurring.
Foodborne Illnesses or Food poisoning occurs when food spoilage takes place. This can be caused by contaminated food, pathogenic bacteria’s, viruses or parasites that contaminate food items.
The best way to ensure that the risk is minimised by ensuring that all key stages of your HACCP Policy are being monitored and recorded. Safe storage, minimal preparation time to ensure that temperature control is being effectively managed and good cooking records (ensuring that you food reaches core temperatures) will help to reduce the risk posed by these bacterias.
Time & temperature abuse is caused by improper cooking, holding, cooling and reheating of food, leading to the growth of pathogens.
Cross contamination occurs when you mix cooked and uncooked food, especially raw meat or fish. Assign different containers for the preparation of each kind of food and avoid un-sanitised food surfaces, utensils and equipment.
Poor personal hygiene is a common culprit that’s easily avoidable by following these rules:
- Wash and sanitize hands properly between tasks and whenever they get dirty
- Wear single-use gloves while preparing or serving ready-to-eat food
- Clean and trim nails
- Bathe or shower daily
- Keep hair neatly combed with long hair tied back
- Wear a hair net or cap and apron at all times
- Cover wounds at all times and refrain from handling food
- Stay away from the kitchen when sick and consult a doctor as to when it is safe to return
- Wear a uniform
- Remove jewelry before working
Ensure that your team has had the necessary training on your operation and access to the food safety policy. Also make sure they have an accredited food safety training to a level suitable to their role and responsibility.
Allergens should also be considered. To find out more on how to deal with these and more advice visit the FSAI allergen guide HERE.