Proper food safety and handling are now more important than ever due to the rising threat of viral diseases like COVID-19.
Regulatory bodies set high food safety standards to protect consumers from food poisoning and contamination.
Restaurant managers should develop a consistent hygiene program to ensure consumer food safety standards are met.
Poor food safety practices can pose a serious public health risk and damage a restaurant’s reputation.
Below are four ways restaurant managers can boost food safety and hygiene.
1. Monitor your staff’s health
The topic of food hygiene for restaurants is never complete without considering the impact on staff health.
While many restaurants conduct health checks when hiring staff, few conduct regular check-ups on employee health. A sick staff may contaminate food items and put customers and other staff members at risk of illness.
Employees displaying flu and other viral symptoms should stay at home until they recover.
Secondly, staff members with recent diarrhea and vomiting should stay home too to minimize the risk of food contamination.
2. Use the appropriate food handling gear
It’s good practice for restaurants to provide appropriate food handling gear to ensure a standardized level of hygiene.
When sourcing food gloves, restaurant managers should choose a latex glove factory with high safety standards.
Ensure your kitchen staff has access to disinfectants and other cleaning equipment. More importantly, ensure you designate equipment to clean different restaurant areas.
3. Implement high food handling standards
Cross-contamination is one of the leading causes of food poisoning in restaurants. The risk of food contamination increases when food handlers fail to wash their hands when preparing meals.
A messy and unclean prepping station poses additional hygiene concerns that put both staff and consumers at risk of contamination.
Below are some best practices on restaurant kitchen hygiene.
- Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly before cooking or serving. Be especially careful with carrots, potatoes, leeks, and other root-based vegetables which may carry soil particles.
- Clean all kitchenware regularly and disinfect the prep station after each meal. Clear out kitchen waste regularly to prevent attracting flies.
- Segment kitchenware based on food groups to avoid food contamination.
- Improve food storage and safety by regularly cleaning your fridges, ovens, and dishwashers and providing food handling latex gloves to kitchen staff.
- You can adopt efficient schedules for your employees to check on the food storage on a regular basis, as well as cleaning schedules.
4. Store food at the appropriate temperature
Food storage practices have a significant impact on food safety in restaurants.
Storing food at the appropriate temperature helps prevent bacterial growth, which may accelerate rotting and lead to food poisoning.
Keep your vegetables and fruits fresher for longer by refrigerating at temperatures below 5°C.
Refrigerate frozen foods such as fish and canned foods at -15°C and below. If possible, set your refrigerator to maintain a steady temperature throughout.
It can be challenging to comply with food safety standards when your staff has insufficient training on kitchen hygiene and food handling practices.
Restaurant managers should engage licensed food safety instructors to help with staff training.
Lastly, restaurant managers should consider customer feedback when evaluating their food safety programs.