Serving delicious food and providing excellent customer service are, with no doubt, essential to running a successful kitchen. However, without enforcing strict food safety rules, they can become worthless. Everyone who works in a commercial kitchen has the large responsibility of ensuring food safety by steadfastly adhering to tried and true methods of keeping preparation, clean-up, and storage areas free from contaminants, or otherwise, they will be putting everyone at risk.
Here is a quick guide to our top 5 tips for promoting food safety in commercial kitchens.
1. Clean & Sanitize
This is arguably the most important safety practice, so much so that some of these tips should be second nature, like a very good habit.
Hand washing is key for every human in a kitchen environment. People should wash their hands often, especially right after using the restroom and always immediately before handling food. Disposable, rubber gloves should be readily available, especially when handling raw meat.
2. Avoid Cross-Contamination
Speaking of meat, it’s important to avoid cross-contamination, so any surface (cutting boards, for example) that’s used for vegetables should never be used for meat and vice versa. Hand in hand with this contamination tip is to clean prep areas regularly and sanitize kitchen equipment like knives, cutting surfaces, spatulas and spoons, pots, pans, and mixing bowls.
3. Storage and Proper Food Care
All kitchen workers should be aware of various food item safe temperature zones. For example, most steaks, roasts, and chops should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F and most ground meat to 160°F. For easy reference, managers should post a chart for a quick visual check and have thermometers and other equipment handy and in good working order. This chart from Foodsafety.gov is a good option.
In preparing food, always wash produce but never meat because the bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be easily spread by splashing on other foods, utensils, and surfaces.
When storing food, proper cooler and freezer temperatures are critical to prevent bacteria growth. In addition, proper storage will also make food last longer, thereby reducing loss in the kitchen and saving money (and hassle) overall. It may be beneficial to explore humidity control options, such as FiltaCool. Humidity control for coolers and freezers is key to absorbing excess humidity and gas molecules. Maintaining balanced humidity will help perishable food last longer, stay fresher and reduce odors – with the added benefit of reducing waste and saving money.
4. Proactive Maintenance
A kitchen has appliances and equipment that must be maintained, like stoves, ovens, walk-in coolers, freezers, and pantry areas that all require regular upkeep and cleaning. But additional measures are important to stave off potentially disastrous situations that could shut down a kitchen, by a health inspector or other unwelcome event.
Bugs and rodents are one obvious example. Wise kitchen managers regularly schedule pest control applications and use trusted vendor partners to apply food-safe, eco-friendly products and options.
Drains take a beating in commercial kitchens so they should be proactively serviced to prevent backups, clogs, infestation (think: flies, gnats, and fruit flies), and other show-stopping situations. FiltaDrain offers commercial kitchens professional cleaning with a highly concentrated, live, non-toxic probiotic that immediately goes to work to consume the Fats, Oils, Grease, Sugars, and Starches that build up in commercial kitchens blocking drains and causing odors.
5. Wear a Hair Restraint
Another seemingly obvious but highly important proactive measure that must be in any good kitchen safety round-up is hair. All workers should put up hair and use a hair net to head off the gigantic no-no of a customer finding a hair in their meal. Not pulling back long hair or covering facial hair can result in code violations. Find the FDA food code here with hair specifics beginning on page 84 that indicates that hats, hair coverings, nets, and beard restraints are acceptable options in commercial kitchens.