According to Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), there are four main hazards you need to know while operating a food business. These are chemical, physical, and microbiological hazards and allergens. For the most part, you can easily avoid these hazards by practising good hygiene standards.
The hygiene issue is not a new challenge in the food and beverage industry, and it’s recommended you read more on how it can affect your business. It’s important to note that practising proper hygiene in your food business is key to safe products. Cross-contamination is also likely to occur in an unhygienic workplace. This can cause illnesses and put your business at risk.
When operating a food-related business, one of the primary efforts you should focus on is the prevention of food poisoning cases. An individual can account for any food consumption for a two or three-day period. Therefore, it can be easy to establish when they may have had contaminated food. Thus, maintaining any food item’s processing, preparation, storage, packaging, cooking, and service records can be an excellent practice.
In case of a food poisoning incident, such records can help you quickly identify the causal point. Using these records can also help establish if you need to change any practices while handling food products.
However, you can prevent such lengthy and costly incidences. Let the following hygiene tips be your guide to maintaining a good reputation in your food business:
- Provide Staff Training On Best Hygiene Practices
Good hygiene practices must start with your team members. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure you give them the necessary information to help maintain these practices. You can start by reminding them of proper handwashing and personal grooming in the workplace and even in their homes.
While advancing the need to maintain high hygiene standards, it’s essential to follow through with why they need to keep them. Additionally, you can also let them know the consequences of poor hygiene. For example, while training on personal grooming, you can mention that unkempt hair can end up in the food. A client can easily sue the organisation for damages for such a preventable incident.
Overall, the team members can be the key to preventing the four hazards from affecting your business operations.
- Ensure Proper Handling And Storage Of Food
Different food items require different storage conditions and temperatures. It’s critical, therefore, that you establish and follow each food item’s storage and handling requirements from receiving to production. For instance, the storage temperatures for vegetables are different from frozen meat items. While you may need to keep the meat in a freezer, the vegetables can be in the chiller.
Likewise, provide clean and disinfected surfaces while processing or preparing the different food items. Have your staff wear disposable hygiene gloves while handling the food. If you handle raw and ready-to-eat food, you should also store them separately.
By following these practices, you can avoid cases of cross-contamination as this can even occur if you store food with a strong smell in the same place as other food items. The same applies if you use the same preparation surface or container.
- Clean and Disinfect Surfaces
Any surface that comes in contact with the food should always be clean. However, the cleaning process should not end with scrubbing and rinsing off. Due to the dangers of microbiological hazards, you should ensure that you always disinfect these surfaces.
The frequency of cleaning the food surfaces can depend on usage or time. For example, clean your receiving area after every receiving process. This ensures that the next food item you receive won’t be on an unhygienic surface, which can cause cross-contamination. In addition, food preparation areas should also follow the same rule. You can have a daily schedule for floors and walls. However, it would be best to clean any debris or liquid on these areas immediately.
Furthermore, you should also provide disinfectant points around the premises. These are points where staff can easily access disinfectants while on their daily duties.
- Wash Your Hands Regularly
As the part of the body that comes in contact with food all the time, you should ensure that your hands are kept clean. Wash your hands:
- After every visit to the toilet
- Whenever entering the food preparation area
- After handling raw food
- Before starting preparation of any food
- After a sneeze or a cough
- When moving from one food item to another
To avoid staff from skipping this practice because the wash area is far from where they are, you can provide one close to each workstation.
When you maintain proper hygiene standards, you can reduce or eliminate cross-contamination or food poisoning cases. This involves preventing any of the four hazards from occurring. With the tips mentioned here, you can ensure your food business adopts and maintains good hygiene standards all the time.