HiViz Jack here!
Today I have my chef’s hat on (plus HiViz vest of course!) to introduce the subject of Food Hygiene. This is a topic that affects us all whether it is as employers, as employees or of course as consumers!
I have asked Adam Maidment who writes for imperative training, the largest independent first-aid training provider in the UK to explain all we need to know when it comes to basic food hygiene.
Basic Food Hygiene: What You Need To Know
Whether you’re a chef, restaurant server or manager, it is your responsibility to understand how to effectively practice food hygiene in everything you do at work.
According to the Food Standards Agency, there are four C’s to consider in order to perform efficient food hygiene in the workplace:
Food hygiene is so important because the correct procedures will help prevent food poisoning and illnesses from occurring and will also ensure that businesses are maintaining a profitable and reputable service.
What The Law Says
It is a legal requirement that businesses guarantee that food and drink is safe for consumption, ensure that food is labelled correctly and to prevent contamination of food and equipment.
Premises where food is sold must also have suitable water, toilet and washing facilities and that these must always remain clean and hygienic. It’s also a legal requirement for businesses to ensure that the necessary hazard analysis and relevant control measures have been put into place and are regularly implemented – these legal requirements apply to food handlers as well as food business operators.
In December 2014, a new piece of legislation was brought into effect called the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU FIC) which meant that information about allergen ingredients on pre-packaged food must be clearly detailed on any food label.
Controlling The Hazards
One of the best ways to help identify and control hazards, such as food infections and contamination, which has been around since the 1960’s, is the HACCP concept: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point.
To identify potential hazards, you should consider:
- When the hazard could occur
- The likelihood of it occurring
- The severity of the hazard
- The measures needed to be implemented in order to control the hazard
In the case of any food production or handling process, critical control points should be clearly addressed where a hazard may be likely to occur. By recording the risk and then continuing to monitor it, you will be able to manage the HACCP system in an effective manner.
The Importance of Personal Hygiene
When handling food, personal hygiene is the most important aspect of working with food.
Workers need to accept responsibility for their own hygiene in order to help reduce the risks of food illnesses and cross-contamination. In order to make sure you and your staff are following good hygiene practices, you should ensure that all staff:
- Wear clean clothes and shoes to work
- Have clean hands and fingernails
- Do not cough or sneeze near food
- Do not wear excessive jewellery
- Do not come into work if they are ill
The most common illnesses picked up by people not washing their hands is diarrhoea and respiratory diseases, so it’s essential you provide hand washing facilities in order to reduce the risks. There must also be a separate changing area for staff to change into, which includes the correct protective clothing such as hair nets, disposable aprons, non-slip boots and disposable rubber clothes.
Not only will you be ensuring that all members of staff are practicing the correct safety procedures, it is also a positive sign for customers to see food handlers looking clean and following safety measures. Additionally, this will further develop a sense of trust between you and your customers.
Keeping Things Safe and Clean
Food handlers need to be able to carry out efficient cleaning and disinfection practices. Cleaning is not only a legal requirement, but it’ll also help equipment last longer and reduce the risk of contamination.
Providing colour coded cleaning equipment such as clothes and scouring pads will ensure that equipment is used for the right purposes, whilst cleaning products and chemicals should be clearly labeled and only used for their intended purpose.
Any member of staff who experiences a cut or wound at work should have it properly cleaned and protected by a brightly coloured waterproof plaster. Using a bright plaster will mean that, should the plaster come off, you will be able to see it right away.
Ensure Food is Produced Safely
There are some key principles which, when followed, can ensure that bacterial cross-contamination is prevented and these include:
- Clean as you go along, rather than leaving it until the end
- Separate raw food from cooked food and prepare separately
- Never use the same equipment and work surfaces for raw and cooked food, this includes chopping boards and knives
- Always wash raw vegetables and fruit thoroughly
- Ensure fridge temperatures are below 5c to prevent bacteria growing
Food waste should be removed at the end of each day and stored separately in an external area that can be sealed shut.
Food Hygiene is Everybody’s Responsibility
Whilst the responsibility lies with business owners to ensure premises are legally safe to work in, it is also important for workers to understand their own responsibilities in order to perform safe food hygiene practices.
The correct training and support will ensure that all staff understand any potential risks and how to go about their working duties in a safe manner.
Adam Maidment writes for imperative training, the largest independent first-aid training provider in the UK, which offer in-depth training courses for your staff. They’ve created a helpful infographic to see what training you need for your workforce.
For help with this, or any other risk assessments you may need for your business call the HiViz Safety Health & Safety experts on 01724 712342, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click on www.hivizsafety.co.uk