Controlling Cross-Contamination in Catering
It’s vital to avoid contamination in the kitchen and the government promotes strict standards for all commercial catering businesses, as laid out by the Food Standards Agency.
Many of these standards are common sense and learned during training, but it is vital to deliver refresher training and keep awareness high amongst staff, so that messages aren’t lost and sloppy practices creep in. Here are some vital tips to avoiding cross-contamination in your kitchen.
Being Careful with Raw Meat
Be extremely careful with raw meat, especially poultry, which should never be washed. For items that come into contact with raw meat, wash them thoroughly with clean, hot and soapy water – including cutting boards, knives, counter tops and your hands. Use separate preparation areas to minimise risk.
Using the Right Cutting Boards
Never use the same cutting board for meat, fish, vegetables and dairy. Keep separate boards for meat and different kinds of produce. Wooden boards are best avoided for meat, try plastic instead. Most sites providing commercial catering equipment like https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk should have a range of different sizes, styles and colours
Storing Raw Meat
Wrap up raw meat carefully and thoroughly and store it in a container in the fridge on the bottom shelf. It is vital that juices don’t drip from the meat onto other food – you may even have room for a separate fridge if you prepare a lot of meat.
Always make sure staff wash their hands well before handling raw food and that they change their clothes before entering the kitchen. They should change their aprons after preparing raw meat and also be careful to change cleaning cloths regularly as these can harbour germs. Heavy duty kitchen roll and antibacterial spray is a good alternative.
Make sure all hair is tied back and that staff wear protective hats, and remove their jewellery such as watches and rings. No one should be chewing gum, smoking or drinking in your kitchen. If one of your staff is unwell, they should not be allowed into the kitchen – and for 48 hours afterwards if they have a virus or infection. Any cuts should be covered with a bright plaster, and managers should be notified.
With good processes, safety practices and careful management, your commercial kitchen can be free of the risks of food borne contamination.