Safe food handling is not just about following the rules – it’s about protecting your business and your customers. With the power of social media, one negative review can spread quickly and damage your reputation. That’s why it’s crucial to prioritize food safety in your business.

Safe Food Handling

 

Importance of Food Safety Practices

Food safety is a critical concern for everyone involved in the food industry, from producers to consumers. Proper food safety practices help prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses, which can cause serious illness or even death. This is especially important for restaurants, where the safety of the food being served can have a direct impact on the health of customers.

Maintaining food safety is also important for the reputation of a food business. If a restaurant serves food that causes illness, it can damage the restaurant’s reputation and lead to a loss of customers. Additionally, food businesses are required to follow food safety laws and regulations to protect the health of their customers and avoid legal and financial consequences.

There are many factors that can contribute to food safety, including personal hygiene, equipment cleanliness, ingredient quality, and storage temperatures. It’s important to prioritize food safety in all aspects of a food business, from food preparation to storage and handling. By following best practices for food safety, food businesses can protect the health of their customers and maintain a good reputation.

Government food safety rules

Government food safety rules are regulations and guidelines that are put in place to ensure the safety of the food being produced, sold, and consumed in a particular country or region. These rules are designed to prevent foodborne illness and protect the health of consumers.

There are many different types of government food safety rules, and they can vary from country to country. Some common types of food safety rules include:

  1. Hygiene and sanitation regulations: These rules regulate the cleanliness of food production facilities, equipment, and utensils, as well as the personal hygiene of food workers.
  2. Temperature control regulations: These rules regulate the temperature at which food must be stored, transported, and served to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
  3. Packaging and labeling regulations: These rules regulate the materials that can be used for food packaging and the information that must be included on food labels, such as ingredients, allergen information, and expiration dates.
  4. Traceability regulations: These rules require food businesses to maintain records of the sources and movements of food products to enable traceability in the event of a food safety issue.

It’s important for food businesses to be familiar with and comply with government food safety rules to protect the health of their customers and avoid legal and financial consequences.

Safe food handling practices and procedures

There are several best practices that individuals and food businesses can follow to ensure the safety of the food they serve:

  1. Cleaning and Sanitizing

    It’s important to regularly clean and sanitize all food-contact surfaces, equipment, and utensils to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. This includes washing hands frequently, using hot, soapy water to clean equipment, and using a food-safe sanitizer to kill any remaining bacteria.

  2. Temperature Control

    Proper temperature control is crucial for preventing the growth of harmful bacteria in food. This includes storing food at the correct temperature, cooking food to the appropriate temperature, and holding hot and cold food at the correct temperature.

  3. Personal Hygiene

    Food handlers should practice good personal hygiene to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses. This includes washing hands frequently, covering cuts and sores, and not handling food while sick.

  4. Cross-Contamination Prevention

    Cross-contamination occurs when harmful bacteria or other contaminants are transferred from one food to another. This can be prevented by keeping raw and cooked food separate, using separate equipment and utensils for different types of food, and properly storing food to prevent contamination.

  5. Food Storage

    Proper food storage is essential for preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and other contaminants. This includes storing food at the correct temperature, using airtight containers to prevent contamination, and properly labeling and dating food.

  6. Digital Checklists & Forms

    Using a restaurant management app like KNOW can help streamline food safety procedures with digital checklists and forms for tasks such as cleaning and sanitizing, temperature checks, data collection, and other daily tasks. KNOW can also help you track compliance with routines at different sites, set up audit schedules, and report and track issues, right from your mobile phones.

  7. Training and Certification

    It’s important for food handlers to be properly trained in food safety practices and techniques. This may include completing a food safety course or certification program and regularly refreshing knowledge and skills. Using KNOW’s mobile-first LMS platform, you can create engaging bite-sized training courses with quizzes and assessments – you can even collate all best practices that staff can refer to for all their questions anytime, right on their mobile phones.

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Best practices for specific food categories

Here are a few examples of specific food practices that can be followed to ensure food safety:

Fruits and vegetables:

  1. Purchase produce from reputable sources that follow good agricultural practices (GAPs) and have a track record of producing safe, high-quality products.
  2. Wash produce before consuming it, using clean, running water and gently scrubbing with a soft brush if necessary.
  3. Store produce properly: in the refrigerator for items that should be kept cold, at room temperature for items that are best stored at a cool temperature, and in airtight containers to prevent contamination.
  4. Use a separate cutting board for produce and raw meat, poultry, and seafood to prevent cross-contamination.

Dried goods:

  1. Store dried goods in airtight containers at room temperature, away from heat and moisture.
  2. Check for signs of spoilage before consuming dried goods, such as a change in color, texture, or smell, or the presence of visible mold.
  3. Use clean utensils and equipment when handling and preparing dried goods, and follow proper cooking and preparation techniques.

Frozen goods:

Store frozen goods at or below 0°F (-18°C) to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria
Follow proper thawing and cooking techniques: thaw frozen goods in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave, but not on the counter at room temperature
Use clean utensils and equipment when handling frozen goods, and follow proper cooking and preparation techniques

Dairy products:

  1. Store dairy products at the correct temperature to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
  2. Use clean utensils and equipment when handling dairy products, and properly clean and sanitize equipment.
  3. Follow proper cooking and preparation techniques when using dairy products.

Meat, poultry, and fish:

  1. Store raw meat, poultry, and fish separately from ready-to-eat foods to prevent cross-contamination. This means keeping these products in separate sections of the refrigerator or in separate containers to prevent juices from raw meat, poultry, and fish from coming into contact with other foods.
  2. Cook these foods to the appropriate temperature to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present. This means using a food thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the food reaches the recommended minimum cooking temperature for the particular type of meat, poultry, or fish.
  3. Properly store leftovers to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. This means placing leftovers in airtight containers and storing them in the refrigerator or freezer at the correct temperature.

Baked goods:

  1. Use clean utensils and equipment when handling baked goods to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. This means washing hands and utensils thoroughly with soap and hot water before handling the baked goods, and using clean baking pans, trays, and other equipment.
  2. Store baked goods at the correct temperature to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. This means storing baked goods in the refrigerator or freezer if they need to be kept cold, or at room temperature if they are best stored at a cool temperature.
  3. Properly label and date baked goods to help ensure their freshness and safety. This means using clear, legible labels that include the name of the product, the date it was baked or packaged, and any allergen information.

Eggs:

  1. Store eggs in the refrigerator to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. This means keeping eggs in the main part of the refrigerator, as opposed to storing them in the door where the temperature may be warmer.
  2. Follow proper cooking and preparation techniques when using eggs, including cooking them to the appropriate temperature. This means using a food thermometer to ensure that eggs are cooked to the recommended minimum cooking temperature, which is 160°F (71°C) for eggs that will be served hot and 145°F (63°C) for eggs that will be served cold.
  3. Properly store leftovers to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. This means placing leftovers in airtight containers and storing them in the refrigerator or freezer at the correct temperature.

Pro-tip to automate the process

Food safety is a detailed and cumbersome process. With KNOW’s Restaurant Management Software, you can easily keep track of your daily operations, training, and handovers. KNOW can also help you always be audit-ready by digitizing documentation, automating your recurring processes, and saving hours of time spent on manual tasks.

Request a free demo today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is food handling?

Food handling refers to the process of preparing, storing, and serving food in a safe and hygienic manner. It includes activities such as washing and cutting produce, cooking and reheating food, storing food at the correct temperature, and serving food to customers. Food handling is important because it helps prevent the spread of foodborne illness, which can occur when food is contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens. Proper food handling practices are essential for individuals and food businesses to follow to ensure the safety and quality of the food they serve.

What are safe food handling practices?

Safe food handling practices are measures taken to ensure that food is prepared, stored, and served in a safe and hygienic manner. These practices are designed to prevent the spread of foodborne illness, which can occur when food is contaminated with harmful bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens.

What is a safe food handling certificate?

A safe food handling certificate is a document that indicates that an individual has completed training on food safety practices and has demonstrated a knowledge of safe food handling procedures. These certificates are often required for individuals who work in the food industry, such as chefs, cooks, servers, and other food handlers. In many cases, individuals must complete a food safety training program and pass a food safety examination in order to obtain a safe food handling certificate.

How to get a safe food handling certificate?

Safe food handling certificates are typically issued by government agencies or professional organizations that are responsible for regulating food safety in a particular jurisdiction. The specific requirements for obtaining a safe food handling certificate may vary depending on the location and type of food business in which the individual works. However, generally, individuals who hold a safe food handling certificate are considered to have the knowledge and skills necessary to handle food safely in a commercial setting.

How long does safe food handling certificate last?

The duration of a safe food handling certificate may vary depending on the location and type of food business in which the individual works. In some jurisdictions, safe food handling certificates are valid for a specific period of time, such as one or two years. In other jurisdictions, safe food handling certificates may be valid indefinitely, as long as the individual continues to work in the food industry and maintains their knowledge of safe food handling practices.

In some cases, individuals may be required to renew their safe food handling certificate by completing additional training or re-taking the food safety examination. This may be necessary if the individual has not worked in the food industry for an extended period of time, or if food safety regulations or best practices have changed since the individual obtained their initial certificate.

It is important for individuals who hold a safe food handling certificate to be aware of the expiration date of their certificate and to take any necessary steps to renew it in a timely manner.

What must food handlers do when handling ready-to-eat food?

Ready-to-eat food is food that is intended to be consumed without any further cooking or preparation. Here are some things that food handlers should do when handling ready-to-eat food:

  1. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after handling ready-to-eat food.
  2. Use clean utensils and equipment when handling ready-to-eat food, and clean and sanitize equipment before and after use.
  3. Store ready-to-eat food at the correct temperature to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
  4. Separate ready-to-eat food from raw food, such as raw meat, poultry, and seafood, to prevent cross-contamination.
  5. Use gloves or tongs when handling ready-to-eat food to prevent direct contact with the food.

Are gloves required for food handling?

Gloves are not always required for food handling, but they can be an important tool for preventing the spread of foodborne illness and maintaining good hygiene in the kitchen. The use of gloves is typically regulated by government agencies that oversee food safety, and the specific requirements for glove use may vary depending on the location and type of food business.

In general, gloves may be required for food handling in situations where there is a risk of cross-contamination, such as when handling raw meat, poultry, or seafood, or when handling ready-to-eat food after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.

It is important for food handlers to be familiar with the food safety regulations that apply to their workplace and to follow any requirements for glove use. Using gloves correctly, along with other safe food handling practices, can help prevent the spread of foodborne illness and protect the health of customers.

How KNOW can help?