Recent media attention about meat related food safety has increased consumer focus on this vital area. It is also a timely reminder for food business owners and management that assuming processes and best practices are adhered to is a flawed position.
Food manufacturers, retailers and eateries staff members, from trainee to management, part time to full time, should be conversant and compliant with legislation across all food types; the consumer expects the establishment and its team to maintain their safety, optimise hygiene and diminish any risks of cross contamination.
Education should be ongoing
Food safety training and health and safety training are mandatory for new starters but bad habits, memory lapses and a lack of dedication or sense of responsibility could compromise employees, consumers and the people they come in to contact with. Understanding the importance of food safety courses and meat preparation processes is essential to successful operations.
Food safety courses should be refreshed at least every three years to update knowledge and maintain compliance.
Meat is a high-risk commodity
When handling, storing, chilling and cooking meat the potential for cross contamination that can lead to life threatening illnesses is high. Failing in one part of the preparation through a lack of washing hands, not changing utensils or not cleaning work surfaces correctly could result in not only consumer misery but fines, legal action, loss of reputation and in the worst instances, closure.
HACCP’s role in the workplace
On site compliance via a food safety management system based on HACCP (Hazards Analysis Critical Control Points) is essential to conform with UK and EU standards. HACCP offers the means for all employees to assess risks and control measures to the highest standard.
It is often evident to the Food Standards Agency inspectors which businesses employ HACCP and the ones that don’t; the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme score is frequently higher for HACCP led food operations.
Food safety courses
Responsibility for food safety lies with everyone involved in preparation, they need to maintain best practices to ensure that Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter, E-Coli and less threatening food poisoning issues cannot occur.
Raw and ready to eat items should not be mixed, hands must be washed before and after handling raw food and the uncooked meats and fish should always be housed below other items in a fridge, or in a separate fridge, to avoid cross contamination.
Whilst these points may seem obvious, are you confident that every member of your team is adhering to the rules 100%? Food safety training doesn’t just need to be retaken every three years but when issues are recognised and knowledge gaps are identified.
Many food safety courses from leading specialist training firms like Food Alert are accredited by the CIEH or RSPH and courses can be taken in house, in training centre or, at lower levels, online.
The small investment in knowledge acquisition is always less than legal action and lost business from mismanagement of meat and food poisoning.
Don’t shatter a consumer’s good faith, carry out tasks safely.