If you are seriously looking to go into food business, here you will find some food and hygiene tips. This is not just to fulfil legal obligations but to cement your authority as someone or a business that can be trusted by those you serve.
To enable good food hygiene practices in your business, you must think about all the key processes around, (a) Raw ingredient sourcing, (b) Food preparing, (c) Food handling and, (d) Safe food storage. If you put tough measures in place early on, this will not only become routine for you but will help to mould the habits of those who work with you as you grow.
Keep Food Hygiene and Food Safety as two separate topics even though they will often cross over and overlap during tasks, discussions and trainings.
In this blog we are just going to focus on the importance of Food hygiene practices to help you avoid the risk of food borne illnesses.
(A) Sourcing raw ingredients:
Try out a few different suppliers early on to get a feel for what they can offer and establish good relationships with them.
Whether you are sourcing vegetables, fruits, fish or meat, there is always the risk of pathogenic bacteria being present on all food and even water. This is why it’s so important to ensure you buy from reputable vendors who will take extra measure to ensure public safety.
Discipline along with routine is a must when it comes to ensuring food hygiene. Eliminate risk of pathogens by washing most raw materials, especially fruit and veg including giving extra care for salads.
Washing raw meat and fish is not recommended and should be avoided to reduce risk of spreading germs onto clothing, work surfaces and other food. The exception to the rule is if you are a big business with a segregated room where you can clean and prepare. Small businesses are advised to buy in prepared meat and fish ready to cook.
Give great importance to personal hygiene and ensure hands are thoroughly washed before and after handling food and after touching risk areas. Work surfaces, chopping boards, cooking vessels and utensils should be washed in hot soapy water at regular intervals as required or where possible as you go.
Floors, equipment and splash back areas should be cleaned and wiped down daily. Use bins without lids and these should be emptied at the end of the day or as required.
Cook food thoroughly at the required temperature to ensure bacteria is dealt with effectively to prevent food borne illnesses.
(D) Cross contamination
Avoid cross contamination by keeping cooked and raw food separately in the Fridge. Tops shelves should be used for cooked and ready to eat food. Use bottom shelves for poultry, fish and meat. Cover cooked and raw food where possible with suitable lids or cling film.
Utensils and chopping boards should be thoroughly cleaned and colour coded to handle different types of food both cooked and un-cooked.
Temperature control of refrigerator is of great importance not just to keep food fresh but to help reduce risks. You should aim to keep temperature between 1-5-degree Celsius and avoid overloading to maintain consistency. Ensure food going into fridge is cooled down within 1 to 2 hours before being put away.
Focus on these good practices one by one and put disciplines in place to help you avoid the risk of food borne illnesses and document everything to comply with legal requirements. Keeping up to speed with fresh food and hygiene tips will definitely help but commons sense is what will keep you on top.
The Food Standards Agency, (FSA) has all the resource you need to help you operate safely and professionally.