The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that nearly 48 million people get sick from foodborne diseases every year, with 128,000 being hospitalized. If you run a commercial kitchen, it is more important than ever to keep your customers from becoming ill, due to foodborne illness. A well-run kitchen means maintaining the utmost cleanliness and safe conditions for preparing food. Here are four crucial food safety tips for you to keep in mind to ensure your customers are safe.
Encourage Hand Washing
The easiest and most important thing that you and your staff can do to keep foodborne illnesses from damaging your reputation is to encourage hand washing. This means that you must provide a station dedicated to hand washing for your employees. Having a dedicated station for hand washing will minimize the cross-contamination risks and allow your employees to have clean hands before touching any food. Even the smallest amount of bacteria can make people sick if it finds its way onto a piece of food.
Don’t Let Sick Workers Prepare Food
The CDC’s Environmental and Health Sciences branch surveyed employees in nine states. The results of the survey show that five percent of workers said they prepared food when they were suffering from diarrhea or vomiting. By doing this, they put their customers’ health at risk. This tip should go without saying, but if your employees are sick, they shouldn’t be allowed to prepare any food until their symptoms have passed and they are no longer ill.
Cook Food to the Right Temperatures
One of the first things that are uncovered during a food inspection is that foods aren’t kept at the right temperature, resulting in the food being tossed. You must make sure that everyone on your staff is aware of the food items safe temperature zones. For instance, chicken must be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F to ensure that any bacteria has been killed and that it is safe for consumption. Any meat that is prepared and cooked in commercial kitchens should be checked with a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached the proper temperatures. It is essential that your staff learns to use different kinds of thermometers for different types of meat to prevent cross-contamination.
Wash Food Correctly
To avoid an outbreak of food poisoning at your restaurant or commercial kitchen, it is crucial that your staff is well trained in how to wash fruits and vegetables correctly. If not properly washed, you run the risk of spreading bacteria from the outside of the product to the inside when you prepare it. Use a colander to make the task easier, as long as it is only used to wash fruits and vegetables, and nothing else.
If you are ever in doubt about the proper procedures your commercial kitchen should follow to keep your customers from contracting a foodborne illness; you can contact your local health department for more information. Having a solid understanding of what is expected will go a long way toward ensuring your customers are kept safe while dining at your establishment.