Food hygiene is essential for your restaurant or food service business. It serves the purpose of preventing the growth and spread of harmful bacteria through strict cleanliness, cold storage, stringent cooking procedures and the avoidance of cross contamination. There are 8 things you really need to know about food hygiene.
1. Maintaining high standards of food hygiene is a legal and moral obligation for operators
Good food hygiene prevents harmful bacteria from developing in your kitchen and from impacting the food you serve in your establishment. Serious illnesses can result from the spreading of this harmful bacteria between food, surfaces or equipment, in particular when raw food is involved.
Cross contamination too can have devastating effects on customers who suffer from severe allergies. Prioritising your cleaning and food hygiene regime should therefore be considered a moral responsibility. Beyond just the legal implications and fines that could result from non-compliance or customer complaints, the health, wellbeing and, worst case scenario, even the lives of your customers and staff could be at stake if it is not taken seriously.
2. Food hygiene is an influential factor in customer decisions
According to the latest Food and You survey by the FSA, food hygiene ratings influence over 72% of customers in their decision to eat at an establishment; with just under a third considering it the most important factor!
3. Implementing food hygiene policies and systems is imperative
Every business that runs a food and liquor service operation must ensure that all staff adhere to key personal hygiene policies. Beyond this, every establishment must have in place a complete Food Safety Management System, including HACCP plans, which covers everything from food suppliers and delivery, handling procedures (including how to handle food waste, product shelf life and storage, avoidance of cross contamination) to serving procedures (food temperatures etc).
4. Your cleaning regime should be a top priority
A clean venue sets the standard from the outset and subliminally instils awareness in staff and customers that food hygiene is an important practice in your venue. Not only is an effective cleaning regime vital for legal compliance and keeping internal due diligence documentation up-to-date and signed off, but your food service hygiene inspection rating hinges on it too. The Environmental Health Officer will turn up to audit your venue at any reasonable time, meaning that you must always be prepared.
5. Every member of your staff is responsible for food hygiene standards in your venue
Whether they are involved in handling food or not, all your kitchen, bar staff and managers should be aware of the Food Safety Management System you have put in place. Most importantly they should be aware of the role they play and what is required of them within the cleaning and hygiene regime, as well as be educated on the level of responsibility and accountability they operate under.
6. Food Hygiene training is a must
Training everyone is the best way of safeguarding food hygiene compliance; it is absolutely vital and a legal requirement. However, trained staff will also need a level of supervision to make sure they put their learning into practice.
7. It’s important to back up your food hygiene regime with ‘good impressions’
Simple front of house actions can help demonstrate that hygiene is taken care of in your establishment. For example cleaning tables thoroughly, regularly wiping down menus and upholding quality control over the crockery, cutlery and glassware that is placed on the tables. All are important steps to portraying to customers that hygiene is important in your venue. It goes without saying that keeping tidy and clean food service areas that are visible to customers at all times is likely to dispel any worries your customers might have in this area.
8. An independent consultant can keep you on track
It is often due to the nature of operating a busy and fast-paced food and beverage operation that mistakes are made, because let’s face it, human error cannot be eliminated! Working closely with an external supplier that regularly performs audit checks and provides on-the-job training pointers can be incredibly valuable in this process. If you’re looking for help in this area then contact us to get advice or simply have a look at all the food hygiene and safety services we offer.
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