Millions of people a year are affected by food-borne illnesses and the majority of these illnesses can easily be traced back to food from restaurants, delis, banquet halls, and schools.
The Major Causes of Food-Illnesses
The four major causes of these food-borne illnesses are as follows; the storage and preparation of ground beef, chicken, and leafy greens, and the hygiene practises of food workers. Many restaurants and foot outlets are pushing their workers to pass a Food Safety Supervisor course authorized by the NSW Food Authority in order to help ensure that hygiene and food preparation procedures are in place at their establishment.
Food safety encompasses a wide range of tasks to ultimately avoid cross-contamination which means designating different cutting boards for raw poultry, utilizing meat thermometers, having employees not come to work when they’re ill, and enforcing hand-washing for kitchen workers.
Food Safety in Kitchens
When we think food safety, naturally we think kitchen workers however the certification is meant to be applied to every person that comes into contact with your establishment. Cross-contamination is the enemy. The food safety supervisor employee course is applicable to all personnel operating at all levels within the hospitality service industry, including but not limited to kitchen hands, cooks, chefs, catering staff, food and beverage attendants, housekeeping and laundry staff, sandwich hands, café and fast food outlet cooking screw, water carriers, and bulk food distribution centres. Employees of any of these environments can easily be responsible for cross-contamination. It could be as simple as not sanitizing properly, coming into work with a bad cold, or accidentally sneezing in the scullery.
Studies have shown that chain restaurants that require this manner of formal food safety training fare better than independent restaurants that don’t. Because of this, more and more independent restaurants are putting in mandatory food safety certification into the job description. Many of these food safety certification programs can be found online. A TABC and food handlers certification program would definitely get your employees educated to safely handle food. No owner/operator wants their clientele to be wake up the next morning with a food-borne illness and to have it attributed to something that they came into contact with at the owner’s establishment. It’s not preferable for the owner nor the customer.
This means retaining purchase orders to ensure that in the case of illness being attributed to an order, one can trace where the food came from. If need be, this means rejecting shipments if part of the order looks decomposed and/or rotten. Food safety comes in many forms, and a kitchen manager must always be weary and on the lookout for cross-contamination.
Kitchen managers need to oversee the kitchen workers more so than any other groups as many kitchen managers will tell you that during rush hour, to keep up with the clientele, it’s tempting to cut corners with sanitizing. Ultimately, kitchen workers must abide by food safety at all times, even when it’s tempting to not wash their hands after handling ground beef with bare hands in order to keep up. Poultry is something else that one must be weary of and there needs to be designated cutting boards assigned to raw chicken as poultry cross-contamination is the #1 cause of death from food-borne illness. That’s right. This isn’t just a tummy ache. For some, the results of cross-contamination can be fatal. That’s why chicken (and hamburgers as well) must be cooked all the way through at the proper temperature while using a thermometer.
Those that have worked in a kitchen or as a server know that there are slow nights and busy nights, and there’s not always money to be made within the industry. Many restaurant workers have admitted to working a shift while being sick with vomiting or diarrhea. To put it simply, a restaurant isn’t a warehouse. Food safety procedures mean that any sick employee must remain at home and away from the establishment as a way to protect their clientele as well as colleagues against catching the sickness through cross-contamination.
This is a very serious issue for clientele, kitchen managers, and restaurant owners. Closures have been issued many times before for conditions identified as “likely to lead to a health hazard or food poisoning”. Many restaurants have been fined. Food safety supervisor employees are certified to ensure that this doesn’t happen. An establishment that puts their food safety first is putting their clientele first.
The environments where food is stored, prepared, displayed, served, and disposed of are all at risk of cross-contamination. Through a food safety supervisor course, one will be trained to properly combat against cross-contamination, identify problematic arrangements, and how to implement procedures to ensure that the kitchen’s clientele are properly protected.
This article was written by Jason Moran, who believes that food safety is of utmost importance if you want to keep healthy and well.