Every person working in a food-handling industry must maintain a high level of safe food handling. This article is going to provide some basic safe food preparation tips.
The primary objective of the hygiene rules is to ensure a high level of food safety to protect customers. It covers the activities carried out by food service outlets that prepare and sell food to be consumed directly by customers or wrapped and pre-packaged before they are sold.
You can prevent the spread of food poisoning bacteria through good food handling practices and by maintaining good personal hygiene.
Good personal hygiene is one of the most important practices to ensure safe food.
Adherence to these safe food practices is essential in any food safety business. However, there is no reason why safe food handling should not be practiced in your home as well. SefeFood has some additional advices for kitchen hygiene and food safety for domestic kitchens.
Please remember – it is a legal requirement that staff who are involved in a food environment are trained and/or supervised commensurate with their work activity!
Myelearnsafety offers fully online Food Safety (HACCP) courses.
To find out more, please check our Courses page.
Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email email@example.com
In a food business, a food handler may do many different things such as making, cooking, preparing, serving, packing, displaying and storing food. The term ‘food handler’ mainly refers to people who are in direct contact with open food as part of their work. In addition, it also includes anyone who is in contact with surfaces where open food is handled. With this in mind, anyone that works with preparing, cooking, packing or delivering food is considered a food handler. All food handlers are responsible to ensure safe food handling at all times. The food safety regulations require businesses in Ireland to train and educate their staff in order to ensure safe food handling..
In this article, we briefly consider some of the most important concepts of food safety training.
Personal hygiene is incredibly important for food handlers as it greatly reduces the risk of food contamination. This involves doing whatever it takes to prevent their body or clothing from coming into contact with the food or any surfaces that the food will contact. It should go without saying that clean clothing should be used at all times. Food handlers should never smoke, spit or even eat near any unprotected food. There should also be consistent effort to avoid unnecessary contact with the food. Work clothes should be appropriate for staff duties and protect food from contamination. Work clothes should minimise skin coming into contact with food and prevent hairs, fibres and the contents of pockets (which can carry bacteria) getting into food. Ideally, clothing should be light-coloured with no external pockets. Light colours uniforms show dirt clearly.
Food handlers are required to wash their hands before and after handling raw or ready-to-eat foods. It’s also important to wash hands immediately after using a bathroom, coughing, sneezing, smoking, touching face, handling cash, etc. In fact, hands should be washed as often as necessary. As a rule of thumb, this means, before and after any activity whilst on food handling duty. Washing hands with soap and warm water vital in preventing contamination of food by food handlers. To dry hands, paper towels from a dispenser, or cabinet roller towels should be used. Please note – wearing gloves does not replace hand washing. Hands should be washed before putting gloves on, between glove changes and after gloves are removed. Hand washing is one of the most important procedures in safe food handling.
Temperatures between 5˚C and 63˚C is when food-borne bacteria is likely to multiply. It takes just a few hours in this zone for bacteria to grow to dangerous levels and any such food needs to be discarded. This means food handlers should ensure refrigerators are set below the above temperature to prevent, or at least reduce, the growth of any bacteria on food. Similarly, when it comes to keeping food warm, the temperature of the food must exceed 63˚C.
Food handlers should know that some foods are more high-risk than others and this is especially true for fresh seafood and raw poultry. However, fruit and vegetables are equally susceptible. All fruit and vegetables must be thoroughly washed before use. All food handlers need to know how to properly handle different types of food to reduce the risks associated with bacteria and contamination.
Food handlers should always freeze food as quickly as possible to ensure it remains fresh and does not spoil. Freezing food essentially slows down the growth of bacteria. The best and safest way to defrost food is to defrost frozen food in the fridge. Microwave ovens can also be used (by using appropriate defrosting settings). Once defrosted, the food should be used as soon as possible. However, once the food is cooked to over 75° it can be stored in the fridge again but not longer than 2 days. Once cooked food can also be frozen. It is important to note that defrosted food should never be refrozen unless first cooked.
Most people don’t even realise the importance of how food is stored and the order in which this food is handled. For example, the uncooked items (high-risk items) including poultry and seafood should always be placed at the bottom which prevents them from leaking onto other items. Cooked food should be placed on top of these items. It’s also important to clean any spills immediately and do a deep clean as often as possible.
Great care and attention should always be given to the manner in which food is handled. For example, food handlers should always clean utensils and knives to ensure safe food handling. It’s important not to use the same utensils with uncooked food as you have for cooked food. Similarly, food handlers should never use the same utensils with different types of produce. All food items should be cut and prepared on surfaces designed to handle specific food items. This is why kitchens use a colour-coded system for handling different food.
To ensure that food is cooked thoroughly, the temperature at the core of the food (this is the thickest part of the food) must be 75°C or higher, which will kill any bacteria present. Sometimes, it’s often necessary to cook food at a higher temperature. Good food thermometers are often needed to get an accurate reading in this regard. Either way, food handlers need to know exactly how to ensure food is properly cooked at all times.
The five senses can help indicate when food is no longer safe to consume. This is certainly the case when food smells terribly unpleasant. Discoloration, mould or strange particulars on food is without any doubt a bad sign. If a food handler is unsure of what to do, it’s always best to throw the food away. Never assume that the food is safe for eating, even if it looks and ‘feels’ good. The food safety training is really the best way to help educate food handlers on how to go about this side of the process.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) provides a set of rules to which all food businesses must adhere. In fact, food businesses are legally required to train staff in safe food handling and employ a management system that complies fully with these guidelines. Inspections on behalf of the FSAI do happen from time to time and food businesses need to have food safety certificates to verify their food handlers are trained on the relevant principles.
By law, food handlers must receive adequate supervision, instruction, or training in food hygiene for the work they do. In addition, a food business must be able to demonstrate that it has done everything within its power to safeguard consumer health. This is known as ‘due diligence’!
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is the recognised tool which enables food handlers to spot and analyse food safety hazards. Food safety training plays an important role in proper implementation of HACCP procedures. There are different levels of food safety training. The food safety training is designed to equip food handlers with relevant skills and knowledge that safeguards food from anything that can cause harm. That being said, certification is merely a benefit of these courses. The food safety training is a means of ensuring food handlers are taking the right approach to food handling. Receiving a certificate is just a bonus.
To see a full list of food safety courses and deals available please check out MyElearnSafety. In addition to our safe food handling courses, we offer a wide range of online Health and Safety courses such as Fire Safety, Manual Handling, First Aid and many more.
Are you starting a food business? Are you overwhelmed with different areas you need to know in terms of food safety? Or you are an existing business in need to simplify or develop your food safety system? Well, look no more as the Safe Catering Pack developed by Food Safety Authority of Ireland is a friendly approach to HACCP. This simple tool helps caterers to develop a system to manage food safety and comply with the food hygiene regulations. It presents options for businesses to choose how they are going to do this.
The pack was developed with help and expertise from the food industry and environmental health officers. It is based on the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point). HACCP is a process that helps you look at how you handle food and introduce procedures to make sure the food you produce is safe to eat.
The pack was designed for catering businesses. It may also be used by retailers who have a catering function within their business. The pack can be used by businesses that have not yet developed their own food safety management system. In addition, it may also be used by businesses to improve existing systems.
By working through the workbook you will step by step develop your unique food safety management plan. This plan is literally your road map to managing food safety for your business. Once the workbook is complete you can manage food safety on a daily basis by using the food safety record books. The record books allow you to check that food safety hazards are being controlled.
Starting a business can be exhilarating and wildly fulfilling. However, it can be quite complicated, and may challenge you in ways you had not imagined. Knowing the challenges and problems you may encounter in your start-up can help you to prepare for the unexpected, and possibly help avoid common pitfalls. The Safe Catering Pack developed by Food Safety Authority is a simple straightforward guide to help you to develop a system to manage food safety and comply with the food hygiene regulations.
If you would like to purchase a FSAI Safe Catering Pack you can do so HERE.
Please remember! It is a legal requirement that all staff who are involved in a food environment are trained and/or supervised commensurate with their work activity!
So get trained now! Myelearnsafety.com offers fully online food safety courses. You don’t have to complete any of the food safety courses in one sitting. You can study whenever suits you and you can take breaks when required. The system will remember where you have stopped so you will be able to continue from that point on once you return to your studies. So you can study 20 minutes today, 20 minutes tomorrow and so on or whatever suits your needs as you will have 24/7 access for 1 year (365 days) to the course.
Additional information about individual courses can be found on our Courses page.
Studies show a recent increase in the number of risk assessments and enforcement orders by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. It is perhaps a sign of the times with the statutory body protecting the health of consumers. This is done by calling for better hygiene, safety and standards across the food industry. With this in mind, the demand for appropriate safe food handling training is also on the rise. An online delivery businesses in particular are encouraged to ”get up to speed”.
In this article, we take a closer look at food safety requirements. We also look at why businesses need to take a more proactive approach to food safety training.
The online delivery market in Ireland is projected to reach more than €1.5 billion in the next five years. While the pandemic exacerbated the need for online deliveries, this figure has been rising for quite some time. This puts a pressure on food businesses to significantly improve the way they do business.
But what is causing this exponential rise?
We live in an increasingly busy world. Most people are therefore drawn to anything that saves them time, money and energy. As a result, customers continue to demand more choice and convenience. An online delivery was simply the next step in this evolution. However, this trend has also required businesses to consistently improve their ordering systems. Yet food safety, quality and standards had to be maintained if not improved.
Unfortunately, as evidenced with the enforcement orders, not all businesses are in compliance with food safety regulations. Online delivery businesses might also be struggling to keep up with the increased demand and the general requirement for improved quality and service in the food industry.
Moral of the story: safe food handling training is needed to ensure online delivery businesses are meeting and exceeding the required food industry standards.
Food safety is not just something you do. It is rather a key ingredient that must be ingrained into the mindset of a food business. When you place a strong emphasis on food safety, you demonstrate a commitment to quality. This helps nurture a sense of trust with customers. Food safety is also a way to uphold standards over time and make sure the business is abiding by the law.
Simply put, food handlers and managers are required to undergo training to adhere to regulations. This is to ensure they do things the right way. The same risks which apply to these roles are just as present in the everyday operations of an online delivery business.
Parasites, viruses and bacteria are common causes of foodborne illness. Online delivery exposes food to pathogens and safety issues such as temperature abuse and cross-contamination. Online training in safe food handling helps staff learn how to store and handle food properly. This will prevent customers from falling ill as a result of the above!
Personal hygiene is an extremely important part of online delivery. This is, unfortunately, often ignored by businesses. Quite often, this is a rather awkward topic to approach with staff. However, the food safety training covers everything from cleaning and sanitisation to hand-washing and other aspects of personal hygiene.
The objective of online food safety training is to provide the best possible experience to customers in the food industry. Proper training can ensure staff is ready to deliver safer, faster and better service. This will in turn improve the customer experience.
However, food safety training is not only a means of improving a business. It is also the core of food safety management which helps you comply with the law.
The Food Safety Authority is tasked with ensuring food is properly produced, marketed and distributed, while adhering to certain legal requirements and practices. One such requirement is that food businesses in Ireland must employ a food management system which fully adheres to the principles of the HACCP.
In fact, the responsibility for training staff on food safety lies with the business. You must also keep all food safety training certificates on file. All certificates must be available and ready to be verified in the event of an inspection. In other words, you are expected to take a proactive approach to online food safety training and there are consequences if you fail to comply with these requirements – including criminal prosecution!
Now, we emphasise these laws in order to highlight the competence of the Food Safety Authority as opposed to scaring you into taking action. At the same time, you cannot simply ignore them and food safety training is something which every food business in Ireland needs to provide for their staff.
In case you might be asking yourself, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) refers to an internationally recognised tool which enables individuals to identify, analyse and address food-related hazards. For instance, Level 1 food safety training provides the education needed to begin working with food and a typical course equips the individual with skills and knowledge related to hygiene, cleaning, food contamination and many more food safety topics.
Most food agencies including the FSA in Ireland recognise HACCP and these principles help guide the manner in which food is handled and transported. Online food safety training should therefore abide by HACCP principles and provide sufficient education for learners to put these principles into practice.
While you get to choose in terms of the platform, it’s important to invest in food safety training courses which adhere to the principles of HACCP. These certifications ensure the business is compliant with FSA regulations and help establish practices which promote food safety and quality at every turn.
Are you an employer that requires food safety training for staff? Perhaps you need to undergo this training yourself? MyElearnSafety provides online food safety training courses (HACCP) to keep you and your staff up to speed!