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Food Safety – Are You Being Raw & Risky?

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With the weather heating up, it’s a great time to ensure your food safety standards are up to standard. It’s also Australian Food Safety Week from 12-19 November 2022 and the theme this year is “Food Safety – Raw and Risky”.

This theme covers the risk of food poisoning from raw or minimally cooked meat, poultry, fish, eggs and vegetables as well as the risk of possible parasite infections.

The Food Safety Information Council recommend these 5 simple tips to avoid becoming (or causing!) one of 4.1 million cases of food poisoning each year:

  1. Clean – Wash hands with soap and water before handling food, wash dishes thoroughly and maintain a strict and robust cleaning schedule in the kitchen.
  2. Chill – Maintain and monitor fridge and freezer temperatures. I’ve seen many venues installing temperature probes in their cold storage which are linked to an app. The app sends the nominated person an alert if the temperature hits danger triggers. If you are cooling down cooked foods, make sure the temperature drops as quickly as possible (and record the times and temperatures of cooling foods).
  3. Separate – Prevent cross-contamination at all stages of the food cycle. Don’t store fresh and cooked meats together, use the right chopping board for different foods, clean and sanitise prep surfaces between foods, keep raw foods away from fresh salads and veggies. This is also important for separating allergens – store gluten free (GF) foods above and away from gluten containing foods (including in display cabinets).
  4. Cook – When cooking high risk foods such as poultry, minced meats and eggs, ensure the correct internal temperatures are achieved before serving. Record internal temperatures of foods on a regular basis and don’t forget to clean the temperature probe between checks!
  5. Don’t handle food if you have gastro – You can spread gastro type illnesses very quickly if you are affected by gastro and other illnesses. They are incredibly contagious bugs and can spread rapidly even with good hand hygiene. Stay away from cooking and food handling if you are ill.

Another simple tip is to make sure that your day dot system is implemented, effective and checked. It is essential for good food safety to know when a food item has been opened, prepared or pre-cooked. This needs to include condiment bottles (especially the high-egg content aioli’s and sauces with a short shelf life) and whipped cream dispensers. The day dots need to include the date as well.

Need a food safety audit to check your kitchen operations? Michelle is a HACCP Practitioner and is experienced in auditing food operations. Food Safety Plans and programs are also available.

A range of online food safety training courses are available through CTA. Check out their bundled course packages to not only save you money but also provide your staff with the training and skills they need to ensure your venue’s food safety is top notch.

For any clarification or questions, please contact Michelle Pitman, DWS Work Health Safety & Compliance Advisor, on 0401 014 619 or michelle@dws.net.au.

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