Safe Food Preparation Tips
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.
Burning Hot Tips
- Cook food thoroughly. The core temperature should reach 75°C instantaneously or equivalent, e.g. 70°C for two minutes. The core is taken as the centre or thickest part of the food.
- Keep hot food hot. Keep hot food in a hot holding cabinet (above 63°C). This is outside the danger zone.
- Lukewarm food is dangerous. Keeping food only warm is a perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
- Cooked food not stored above 63ºC should be used up within two hours of cooking.
- First In First Out. Ensure the first batch of cooked food placed in the hot holding cabinet is served first.
- Only reheat, i.e. regeneration, once.
- Reheat to piping hot at 70Â°C at the core of the food.
- Discard hot held food leftover at the end of the day.
Ice Cold Tips
- Keep cold food cold. Store in a refrigerated display unit (below 5°C). This is outside the danger zone so bacteria will not multiply.
- Only freeze food once. Once food is defrosted, bacteria can multiply. If this is frozen again, the amount of bacteria could be at a dangerous level.
- Defrost thoroughly. If the centre of the food is still frozen it may not be fully cooked before serving and some bacteria may survive.
- Date leftovers and as a general rule, discard after two days. Salads and sandwich fillings leftover at the end of the day may be kept for use for the following day provided they are covered and remain at refrigeration temperatures.
- Use up the leftovers first and avoid mixing them with freshly prepared salads or sandwich fillings.
- If cooling cooked food for refrigerated storage – cool food quickly but let the steam evaporate from the food first before covering and placing in the refrigerator. Cutting the food into smaller portions or spreading in a shallow dish will facilitate quicker cooling.
Good Safe Food Handling Practices
- Never allow raw food to come into contact with cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
- Store raw foods separately from cooked and ready-to-eat foods.
- Alternatively, store raw food on the bottom shelf in the fridge and store cooked and ready-to-eat food on the top shelves.
- Keep food covered or store it in sealed food containers.
- Wash your hands between handling raw and cooked/ ready-to-eat foods.
- Use separate work areas, utensils and equipment for preparing raw and cooked/ready-to-eat foods. If this is not possible, clean and disinfect utensils and work surfaces carefully between these tasks.
- Ensure that your service cloth is kept clean and is replaced frequently.
Good Personal Hygiene
Good personal hygiene is one of the most important practices to ensure safe food.
- Wash hands regularly
- Wash your hands thoroughly using hot water and liquid soap:
- Before starting work
- Before handling cooked or ready-to-eat food
- Before using disposable gloves
- After handling raw food
- After using the toilet
- After handling rubbish
- After smoking
- After touching your hair or face, sneezing, coughing and using a handkerchief
- After performing routine cleaning tasks
- Be clean and tidy
- Be clean and tidy and wear clean protective clothing such as an apron or overall when handling or serving food.
- Keep hair clean and covered under a cap or hairnet. Long hair must be tied up.
- Keep nails clean and short.
- Don’t wear strong perfume, nail varnish or excessive make-up.
- Restrict your jewellery to a plain wedding band and small earrings.
- Treat food with care
- Do not handle food unnecessarily – use tongs where possible.
- Do not pick your nose, lick your fingers, taste food with your fingers, eat, chew gum, cough or sneeze near food that you are preparing or serving.
- Cover cuts and sores with a blue waterproof dressing.
- Inform your immediate supervisor if you have diarrhoea or an upset stomach. If you are ill you should not prepare or handle food but may perform alternative duties until the illness has passed.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Are there Food Safety Requirements for a Childcare Provider?
The Environmental Health Association of Ireland (EHAI) recommends that where a childcare service provides food to children, relevant staff are required to have food safety training.
The childcare provider needs to have a HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point) Food Safety System in place.
Your food safety management system allows you to identify and control any hazards that could pose a danger to the preparation of safe food. It helps you to:
- identify what can go wrong
- plan to prevent it
- make sure you are doing it.
According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), If you are responsible for developing and maintaining your business’s HACCP based procedures then you must undertake adequate training in the application of HACCP principles.
HACCP training is a requirement
What Level of Food Safety Training Do Our Staff Need?
Food Safety HACCP Level 1
The Food Safety (HACCP) Level 1 course is ideal for those with no previous experience, with light food handling duties and/or performing low-risk duties (such as waiters, baristas, caregivers, kitchen porters, deli shop assistants, etc.).
Food Safety HACCP Level 2
This is the recommended level for all food handlers, or those working in a kitchen setting, who do not have management responsibility for HACCP.
Food Safety HACCP Level 3
Food Safety HACCP Level 3 defines food safety skills for management and is aimed specifically towards Catering Managers, Supervisors, Executive and Head Chefs within the Hospitality Industry, Industrial and Institutional Catering Units, along with the Health Sector, Retail Sector and Delis.There should be at least one food worker with Food Safety HACCP Level 3 on duty in a food premises.
Managers, Owners, need to be able to manage HACCP systems. They should also have a good understanding of how to implement a HACCP Programme for their workplace. All food businesses are required by law to have a food safety management system in place based on the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point).
What Can Myelearnsafety Do for You?
Contact Myelearnsafety, HACCP Food Safety Training Consultants can be contacted for free HACCP Food Safety Advice and Guidance.
Telephone the office @ 01 278 1938 – As for Shane or Cormac