Food safety is an integral part of managing a commercial kitchen, such as a restaurant or café. Following the correct health and hygiene standards helps prevent bacteria or germs from spreading, which could lead to food poisoning. This is not just a risk to human health, but could have direct consequences for the reputation of a business. Staff training is as much about food safety as it is about learning to cook, and here's what any kitchen staff would need to know.
If bacteria is allowed to spread between different types of food, equipment or surfaces, this is known as cross-contamination, and could lead to food poisoning. One of the biggest risk factors is raw meat coming into contact with ready-prepared foods. Kitchen staff can avoid cross-contamination by using separate restaurant supplies for different types of food, such as colour coded chopping boards and knives, as well individual cleaning materials, like cloths, sponges and mops, for separate food preparation areas.
Bacteria and germs can be stopped in their tracks in a commercial kitchen by proper and thorough cleaning. Staff are educated about hand washing during the food preparation and cooking process, and after using the toilet. Paper towels are usually a preferred choice for most restaurant kitchens, as they are more hygienic than shared cloth towels. Wearing gloves and other protective clothing is an essential part of restaurant health and safety.Kitchen surfaces, floors, cooking equipment and other restaurant supplies have to be kept clean and disinfected at all times, with spills mopped up immediately and waste regularly removed. Restaurant cutlery, plates and glasses also require washing at high temperatures to kill bacteria and germs, and cleaning products should conform to health and safety BS EN standards.
Restaurant equipment has to be stored correctly to avoid cross-contamination. In particular, raw foods should be kept away from ready-prepared ones at all times, preferably by being stored in different fridges. If this isn't possible, kitchen staff should place raw meats at the bottom of a fridge, to avoid any drips
coming into contact with other items. Kitchen staff maintain safety standards by also making sure food is kept at the right temperature. This involves immediately chilling supplies as soon as they're delivered, and periodically checking that the fridge is set to the right temperature.
An essential part of managing food safety in a catering kitchen involves ensuring food is properly cooked, especially meat, fish and eggs. Food that isn't cooked properly can harbour bacteria, which can cause food poisoning. Staff also need to follow health and safety rules regarding reheating food, and not letting food stand around uncovered for too long.Although it can be a challenge to ensure all of the rules are met to maintain hygiene and safety in a kitchen, most premises usually have notice boards and signs displayed in the kitchen to remind staff. Having individual restaurant supplies, such as colour- oded items, also makes it easier for staff to avoid cross-contamination from occurring.