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Safeguarding customers in hospitality - key food safety mistakes

In the hospitality world, it is vital to ensure the safety of your customers. The industry, encompassing restaurants, cafes, pubs, and much more, is not immune to the pitfalls of food safety oversights.

This blog delves into key food safety mistakes within these settings and outlines preventive measures, underlining the imperative of meticulous practices in safeguarding both reputation and health.

Hot food bubbling away with temperature recorded

Uncovered hot food: a recipe for disaster

Leaving hot food uncovered is a cardinal sin in the realm of food safety. Not only does it compromise the quality of the dish, but it opens a gateway for bacterial invasion.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), improper hot holding temperatures contribute significantly to foodborne illnesses, with over 50% of reported outbreaks originating from restaurants.

Preventive measure: Employ well-fitted lids and designated hot-holding equipment to maintain food at the recommended temperatures (above 145°F or 63°C). Regular temperature checks should be incorporated into standard operating procedures.

Cross-contamination: A silent culprit

In busy kitchens, the risk of cross-contamination can easily occur. Mishandling raw and cooked foods on the same surfaces or using the same utensils without proper cleaning poses a substantial threat to food safety.

Preventive measure: Implement colour-coded chopping boards and utensils to segregate raw and cooked items. Regular staff training on proper handwashing and surface sanitisation is paramount.

Broccoli and chicken being cut on same chopping board

Inadequate pest management: An uninvited guest

Pests not only harm the aesthetics of a dining space but also pose severe health risks. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that pests like rodents and cockroaches can carry over 30 types of bacteria, triggering foodborne illnesses.

Preventive measure: Establish a rigorous pest control plan, sealing entry points, and maintaining a clean environment. Regular inspections and proactive measures such as waste management can prevent infestations.

Improper storage practices: Spoiling the stock

Incorrect storage practices can lead to food spoilage and wastage. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 in 10 people fall ill annually due to consuming contaminated food, often stemming from poor storage.

Preventive measure: Adhere to the FIFO (First In, First Out) method for inventory rotation, maintain appropriate storage temperatures, and regularly inspect perishable items for signs of spoilage.

Food stored in fridge

Lack of employee training: Ignorance is not bliss

Well-trained staff are the linchpin of food safety. The Food Standards Agency notes that failure to train staff adequately is a leading cause of food safety breaches.

Preventive measure: Conduct regular training sessions on food safety protocols, hygiene practices, and emergency response procedures. Ensure that all staff members are well-versed in the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and the company’s Food Safety Management System.

When it comes to food safety, precision and due diligence are of the utmost importance. The hospitality industry must prioritise food safety to ensure the well-being of customers and the longevity of its reputation.

By addressing these key mistakes and implementing stringent preventive measures, establishments can transform their kitchens into areas of safety, creating an experience that nurtures health and trust.

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