With the weather heating up and more people able to eat out at venues with COVID restrictions easing across the country, it’s a great time to ensure your food safety standards are up to scratch. It’s also Australian Food Safety Week from 14-21 November 2020 and the theme this year is “Food Safety – it’s in your hands”.
We’ve been reminded at every turn this year to wash our hands to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but good hand hygiene is absolutely essential for good food safety as well.
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.
- Clean – Wash hands with soap and water before handling food, wash dishes thoroughly and maintain a strict and robust cleaning schedule in the kitchen.
- 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).
- 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 vegies. This is also important for separating allergens – store GF foods above and away from gluten containing foods (including in display cabinets).
- 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!
- Don’t handle food if you have gastro – You can spread gastro type illnesses very quickly. 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.
Test your food safety knowledge by taking this quiz from the Food Safety Information Council HERE
A range of food safety training courses are available through CTA Training Specialists. 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.