Commercial kitchens, especially, need to follow the strictest of food hygiene and cleanliness. John Spach Standards because their laxity can put many hundreds of people at risk of severe ill-health. It is also the reason why the local health department also lays down standards. And conducts periodic checks on commercial kitchen health and safety practices. Some useful tips for keeping your commercial kitchen safe and compliant with health and safety standards:
Insist on Frequent Hand Washing
Since most of the food contamination occurs due to the handling of food items with dirty hands. You need to insist on workers instilling a habit of washing their hands frequently. And especially before they touch any food item. To encourage clean hands, you should set up a separate hand washing station inside the kitchen, equipped with multiple contactless faucets. Liquid hand wash dispensers, and air dryers.
Wash Raw Food Items Thoroughly
Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly, even if they will be peeled or skinned. There is the risk of the germs spreading from the outside of the vegetable to the inside at the time of food preparation, otherwise. Instead of soaking fruits and vegetables in standing water, it is better to scrub them under running water. If you use a colander, make sure that it is used only for vegetables and not for meat, rice, or pasta. You can also use one of the FDA-approved rinses for fruits and vegetables to disinfect them, says John Spach.
By using separate chopping boards for raw produce, uncooked meat, raw poultry, and seafood, you can prevent the chances of cross-contamination of foods. Label each board distinctly to prevent confusion, and keep them separate. It is also vital to use separate utensils and thermometers for the preparation of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
Cook Food to the Right Temperatures, Cautions John Spach
Different foods cook at different temperatures; for example, ground beef should be cooked for 15 seconds at 155°F, but chicken. Should be cooked at 165°F to prevent infection from E-coli that is the root cause of multiple food-borne diseases. Not only should your cooks know the right temperatures for different types of food, especially meats and fish, but also should know how to use thermometers. Keeping different thermometers for different kinds of meat and fish will also help to prevent cross-contamination.
Store food correctly
It is important to keep raw poultry, fish, and meat separate from other foods, especially sauces, vegetables, and other items that require light cooking. Food storage must invariably be done after cooling it to 41°F or below in a well-ventilated space. No food item, especially non-vegetarian foods, should drip on other food as it can result in contamination. Food, raw or cooked, should never be kept on the floor.
Food safety depends on exercising the utmost care in all aspects of kitchen operations. You mustn’t let sick workers into your kitchen. Using gloves for preparing and handling food to the extent possible and changing them frequently is advisable. Clean your kitchen properly by taking care to sanitize all surfaces and equipment coming in contact with food. The most important thing is to sensitize your kitchen staff on the importance of food safety and hygiene.