Restaurants are a high risk location for foodborne illnesses due to the amount of restaurant staff and possibilities for food contamination. However, having proper hygiene in restaurants can help raise food safety. Food contamination and foodborne illnesses can be prevented by focusing on restaurant staff training and restaurant kitchen organization. The cleaner and more organized restaurant staff are, and the more well-maintained the restaurant kitchen, the higher the level of food safety in the venue.
1. Hand washing
Hand washing is an obvious step in the road to hygiene in restaurants. Restaurant staff should wash their hands frequently, but especially before starting work, after using the restroom, after breaks, and when switching from handling raw ingredients to ready-to-serve ingredients. Instances of food contamination can easily be prevented by restaurant staff washing their hands, since hand washing helps kill bacteria that can accumulate as easily as by touching a common surface. By educating restaurant staff about the importance of hand washing and by placing many hand washing stations and instructional signs around the kitchen, businesses can encourage their employees to wash their hands regularly.
2. Restaurant Kitchen Organization
Kitchen hygiene is crucial to the prevention of foodborne illnesses. Regularly cleaning each appliance and storage area of the restaurant kitchen prevents bacterial buildup in those areas and ensures that the restaurant kitchen is always inspection-ready. Having proper janitorial supplies on hand will make maintaining kitchen hygiene more convenient for restaurant staff. Separate cutting boards and preparation surfaces reduce the possibility of cross-contamination compromising food safety. By having designated kitchen storage and work-areas for different foods, and by following a cleaning schedule to maintain them, kitchen hygiene can be maintained as well.
3. Restaurant Staff Awareness
Restaurant staff should be constantly reminded to be aware of their surroundings and how it may effect food safety or cause foodborne illnesses. Smoking near the kitchen and coming to work when sick should be strictly prohibited. Hand washing, uniform cleanliness, and keeping the work area clean are musts. However, beyond restaurant staff’s behavior, they should also know how to prepare foods to prevent foodborne illnesses. Recommended Cooking temperatures should be reached when preparing dishes to make sure most, or all, of the dangerous bacteria that are found in raw ingredients, are killed off.
4. Labeling and Separating Foods
Labeling foods helps ensure that food contamination due to expiration is not a concern. By knowing the exact date a food was prepared, cooks can know when to trash the leftovers. Separating foods into different containers and areas prevents cross-contamination from effecting food safety. For example, cooked foods should be stored away from raw ingredients, since raw ingredients are more likely to contain more bacteria. Ideally separate refrigerators would hold raw ingredients and cooked ingredients. Food safety in a restaurant kitchen is critical to foodborne illness prevention. Kitchen hygiene is the responsibility of restaurant staff, which must be trained to keep a clean, organized area, while taking precautions to prevent harmful bacteria from reaching foods. If all the preventative steps are taken, the chance of foodborne illnesses affecting a venue will be minimal, helping the business run smoothly and safely.