We have put together some general advice on food safety.
Effective cleaning is essential to get rid of harmful bacteria in your kitchen.
All food contact surfaces for example work surfaces, cutting boards, utensils and all hand contact surfaces for example doors, cupboard handles and taps, should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals to prevent the build-up of dirt and bacteria.
It is important that you understand what chemicals should be used for cleaning and disinfection. You must ensure that the chemicals used are purchased from reputable suppliers and are always used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Detergents are products used for general cleaning. These do not have disinfectant properties and if used on their own, are not capable of destroying harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157.
• Disinfectants are products that are capable of destroying harmful bacteria when applied to visibly clean surfaces at a specified dilution and contact time.
• Sanitisers are products that combine a disinfectant and a detergent in a single product. This means that the same product can be used to provide a visibly clean surface and it must be used a second time in order to disinfect the surface
Chemical cleaning involves the physical removal of visible dirt, food particles and debris from surfaces and equipment that come into contact with food, along with the removal of waste from areas where food processing occurs. The detergents selected for use in each situation must be capable of removing all food debris solids and grease. General cleaning should always be completed by rinsing to ensure thorough removal of all residues from the surface prior to stage 2
Disinfectants that have been proven capable of destroying disease-causing bacteria should be applied after general cleaning to reduce bacterial contamination. Disinfection can only be successfully carried out on surfaces that have been thoroughly cleaned to remove grease and dirt, as the effectiveness of disinfection is reduced in the presence of dirt and grease.
Different types of disinfectants require different dilutions and contact times. These are specified and validated by the manufacturer and you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution and contact time to ensure the product is effective. Disinfection should be followed by a final rinse of the surface or equipment with potable water to remove any remaining chemical, unless it is formulated for use without a final rinse.
A cleaning schedule is a good way to make sure that surfaces and equipment are cleaned when they need to be. Work out what needs cleaning every day, or more than once a day, and what needs cleaning less frequently. Your schedule should show:
• what needs to be cleaned
• who is responsible for doing the cleaning
• how often it needs to be done
• how the cleaning should be done
• what to do if the person checking the cleaning finds something wrong
You could also prepare cleaning instructions for your staff showing:
• what cleaning chemicals should be used.
• how the chemicals should be used, including how much they should be diluted and how long they should be left on the surface, as recommended by the manufacturer
• how the chemicals should be stored (in a special place away from food)
A member of staff should be made responsible for checking that cleaning is being done properly. Cleaning record sheets can help them record what they observe.
Thorough cooking is very important because it kills harmful bacteria in food. If bacteria survive in food because it is not cooked properly, it could make your customers ill.
• don’t serve any food that is not properly cooked
• once food is cooked, serve it immediately or keep it hot until serving
• if you’re cooking food in advance, cool and chill it quickly.
How to check
• using a clean probe thermometer check the core temperature of the food. The core temperature of the food should be 75 degrees celsius or above for a least 30 seconds.
• inspect food to make sure it’s thoroughly cooked - for example, check that it’s piping hot all the way through and that meat juices run clear.
Some foods need to be kept chilled to keep them safe, for example food with a ‘use by’ date, food that you have cooked and won’t serve immediately, or other ready-to-eat food. If these foods are not properly chilled, bacteria can grow and make people ill.
These high risk foods should be stored in the refrigerator below 8 degrees celsius. Ideally you should aim to keep your fridge at 5 degrees celsius.
• check chilled food on delivery to make sure it’s at or below 8 degrees celsius
• food that needs to be chilled is put in the fridge as soon as it arrives
• check the temperature of your refrigerators daily, these checks should be recorded
• remember, chilled food must be kept below 8 degrees celsius, ideally 5 degrees celsius
Hot foods must be stored above 63 degrees celsius to prevent the growth of bacteria. Hot foods can be kept below this temperature for a maximum of two hours before being used, returned to above 63 degrees celsius or chilled.
Cross-contamination is when bacteria spread between food, surfaces or equipment. It is most likely to happen when
• raw food touches (or drips onto) other food
• raw food touches (or drips onto) equipment or surfaces
• people touch raw food with their hands
• keep raw and ready-to-eat foods separate
• provide a designated raw meat work surface in your kitchen
• clean surfaces and equipment thoroughly before you start to prepare food and after they have been used with raw food
• wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw food
• supervise cleaning and food handling
• check that raw and ready-to-eat foods are kept apart when they are stored, prepared and displayed
• make sure that your staff know how to avoid cross-contamination
An easy way to prevent cross-contamination is to use different chopping boards and different knives for raw and ready-to-eat food. Try using one colour for chopping boards and knives used with raw food and another colour for those used with ready-to-eat food.
It is vital that good standards of personal hygiene are maintained by food handlers. Contaminated hands will spread bacteria around a kitchen very quickly.
To prevent cross contamination of food it is essential to wash your hands frequently. Examples include:
• before starting work
• before handling food
• between handling raw and ready to eat foods
• after going to the toilet
• after handling raw foods
• after handling waste
• after eating, drinking or smoking, coughing, sneezing or touching your face
• after taking a break
• after handling chemicals
• after handling money