We are well on our way through the festive season. As we well know, this means greater volumes of food are prepared, served and eaten. With this, there are increased risks to food safety. FCS provides some tips for preparing for the festive season.
What are the risks to food safety during this period?
Increased volumes of foods, means you’ll need somewhere to store these foods. With limited space in the fridges and freezers, the risk of cross-contamination increases.
Tip: The best option is to order in temporary cold storage during the season so that you are able to hold these foods safely. Of course this comes with additional costs. Yet, at the very least, ensure that you separate raw and ready-to-eat foods. This means raw meats should be kept together and away from foods that won’t be cooked.
Chemical suppliers close off for the year. This means that if you run out of stock, you won’t be able to get any chemicals. This dramatically increases the risk, if you are unable to clean and sanitise.
Tip: Order additional stock of hand soap, multi-purpose cleaner and your sanitiser. These are the most important chemicals that you cannot run your kitchen without.
Larger volumes of food, mean longer preparation times. It’s also summer!
Tip: When preparing for functions, be aware of temperature control. Prepare each dish at time. Don’t leave foods out at ambient temperature for longer than 30 minutes. Summer is officially here, meaning the closer the temperature is to 37° C, the faster and easier bacteria will grow. Keep hot foods above 60° C and cold foods below 5° C.
Tip: Keep those flies away. Make sure you have additional fly catchers at entrances to the kitchen. Get fly-screens for your windows.
Staff will be focused on getting foods out. This means they’ll be distracted.
Tip: Take the extra 30 seconds that it takes to do your clean-as-you-go. Your consumers won’t notice this. But they will notice a bout of food poisoning. Focus on tables, cutting boards and high-risk equipment.
Tip: Hand washing is critical to food safety. You will need to stay focused and remind staff to wash their hands. Your team will be handling more foods, meaning that there is an increased risk of contaminating larger amounts of foods with hands that contain bacteria.
Tip: Make sure you have a solid plan in place for preparing for the festive season. This might mean getting additional staff not only to cook, but to clean as well. The law requires that anyone in the kitchen be trained on food safety. Staff that are unaware of food safety are likely to cause more problems in the kitchen than not. Prepare your team for this period. You can read up on food safety training here.
Prepare for loadshedding and water shortages. This does not only affect your sales, but also your food safety.
We at FCS wish you the best for the festive season and a prosperous new year. Our auditing team will be on leave from 21 December to 2 January. However, our lab will be running throughout the year. For any testing requirements give our office a call on (011)315-5007.