Food Safety Introduction
Food safety hazards are present in many different stages of food preparation, so attention must be paid at all steps. Here are tips for each of the stages, from truck to table.
1. Choosing reliable suppliers
- Seek out established, professional suppliers with good reputations.
- Look at both price and reliability.
- Test the quality of their products.
- Inspect your deliveries thoroughly but do not let it stand at room temperature.
- Familiarise yourself with product specifications.
- Always check the packaging for damage and read the optimum temperature for storage: fresh chilled food at 5°C or lower, frozen food at -18°C or lower.
- Check for expiry dates on processed foods and dry goods.
3. Storage & issuing
- Items should be immediately processed where necessary (e.g. whole fish filleted) or stored immediately at the correct temperature.
- Always wrap and label items (date received, production and expiry date, quantity) for easy reference.
- Observe the First In, First Out (FIFO) method of stock rotation.
- Fresh ingredients should be stored and transported in the same condition.
- For dry/frozen ingredients, check the expiry date, ensure the packaging is intact, and change the boxes or cartons hat the ingredients are delivered in.
- Check with your supplier on the best ways to keep ingredients fresh.
Ideally, all fresh ingredients should be consumed within the day. However, not all restaurants get fresh ingredients every day, so it’s important to learn how long ingredients can be kept and prepped beforehand. This not only allows staff to better adhere to the FIFO system, it is also important for product tracing.
Here’s how long ingredients can be prepped beforehand:
Meat & seafood
- Should be consumed within a day once thawed and never refrozen to prevent the loss of nutrients.
- Cook within 2 hours once removed from the fridge.
Fresh vegetables & dairy
- Store between 2-4°C.
- Remove from the chiller only when needed.
Prepped food should also be labelled with:
- Date and time of preparation.
- Initials of the person who prepared the portion.
Here’s how to properly thaw frozen fish, meat and poultry:
- Inside a refrigerated cabinet (0-4°C).
- Use a microwave oven.
- In a sealed plastic container under running water.
- As part of the cooking process.
5. Cooking & holding
- Cook food thoroughly to kill or reduce microorganisms to an acceptable level.
- Monitor batch cookery. Sometimes, not all foods are cooked evenly in batch cooking.
- Cook at the required minimum internal temperature.
- Keep hot food at 57°C and cold food at 0-4°C.
- Hold food for service in small batches so it will not reach the TDZ.
- Measure internal temperatures every 2 hours while on display.
- Reheat food to a minimum internal temperature of 74°C for 15 seconds.
6. Plating & serving
- Food servers must observe proper hygiene in handling cooked and ready-to-eat food.
- Use only clean and sanitised utensils at all times.
- Serve food at the right temperature.
7. Managing leftovers
- Untouched leftovers: Reheat and serve, or recycle as an ingredient for another dish. Uncut or whole vegetables can also be used for cooking or garnishing.
- Touched leftovers: Throw away.
8. Product trace & recall
This process uses proper data gathering to investigate any defects in product quality.
- Immediately recall food from storage, kitchen and service.
- Backtrack activities starting from when the food was served down to how it was made, stored and received.
Managing food safety complaints
- Secure the product in question, customer details and transaction details.
- Get information from the customer and trace food eaten in the last 24 hours. In serious cases, offer to bring the customer to the hospital.
- Instruct the kitchen supervisor to do a product recall and put the kitchen on hold.
- Trace the cause of the problem and work backwards, from serving to storage.
- Form a crisis management team and assign a spokesperson to handle the media.
Congratulations, you’ve completed The Good Food Safety Practices topic!
Continue on to the next topic, pick a related topic from the Food Safety module, or go back to the Chefmanship Academy modules page.