Creating an environment that embraces a food safety and hygiene culture is the key to success for any food business, from small eateries to international restaurant chains.
When it comes to running a food business, it is essential that the produce created is done so to an acceptable food safety and hygiene standard. However, food safety and hygiene isn’t just a matter of making sure you clean down your kitchen surfaces at the end of a busy day. There must be precautions taken when storing and preparing food at every stage.
Failure to adhere to the correct food safety standards and regulations could lead to the spread of dangerous foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter. But what are the best ways to ensure you’re incorporating a food safety culture into your business? Here we take a look at the top five ways.
1. Measures to control pests
Any food business that does not have high food standards will soon bear the brunt of troublesome pests such a cockroaches and flies. Once these have found their way into your kitchen, they can quickly spread foodborne diseases by contaminating food, whatever stage of production it is at. In addition to spreading disease, pests can also cause damage to buildings and machinery.
This is why it is crucial for companies to invest in appropriate pest control monitoring and detection so they can nip any signs of pests, in the bud.
2. Reliable waste management
Managing and controlling pests will become more difficult if you don’t have a reliable waste management system in place. According to BRC Global Standards for Food Safety: “Waste disposal shall be managed in accordance with legal requirements and to prevent accumulation, risk of contamination and the attraction of pests.”
To avoid the spread of dirt, businesses should provide appropriate containers and suitable storage areas for waste. They should also establish adequate and regular procedures for the storage and removal of waste. This way, a build-up of waste that would attract pests is prevented, with it reducing the risk of contamination.
3. Sufficient personal hygiene
If members of your team have poor personal hygiene it doesn’t say much about the hygiene of your food and can be a reason for customers to be put off eating in your restaurant, cafe or eatery. Ensuring you have the correct facilities installed for staff to practice proper personal hygiene, contributes to meeting food safety requirements. This will help stop bacteria and foodborne illnesses from spreading.
Employers must make sure employees are washing their hands frequently, have hair tied up or covered, and do not wear jewellery. Further guidance can be found on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website.
4. Appropriate staff training
Providing your staff with the appropriate training is a great way to ensure all food safety practices are followed and risk of contamination is low. In the UK there are regulations that require food handlers to be supervised and trained in food hygiene practice.
Online food safety courses like those at Virtual College allow employees to complete e-learning at a time and in a place that suits them. Not only can they learn at their own pace, but this type of learning is proven to have a higher retention rate.
5. A clean environment
A great way to embed a food safety culture into your business is to make sure the work environment is as clean as possible. By maintaining cleaning and disinfection programmes you will be able to meet the correct hygiene standards and reduce the risk of any foodborne illnesses or bacteria.
While machinery does not need as frequent of a clean as kitchen surfaces and utensils, it is important to ensure they are cleaned regularly. This will eliminate a risk of microorganisms that lead to food poisoning.