Food safety is the activities and standards that must be met when producing food. Although you rarely think of a kitchen as a place of dangerous germs and foodborne illness, it is still very important to follow certain rules, particularly if you work in a catering company. Food safety is knowing that the food you deliver will not cause harm or risk to the health of the consumer.
What should you know about food safety?
Food safety is standardized by a number of laws and restrictive norms, which are supervised by various institutions. They are important because they allow consumers to feel safe and protect not only their health but also their economic interests.
The main authorities responsible for food safety in the US are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN)
Every food, before it is sold on the free market, has to pass a number of thorough tests, including microbiological ones. These are very important because they allow us to assess whether the food has not been contaminated or polluted in any way.
The factors that influence food safety are:
- the wholesomeness of the products
- absence of contamination
- the naturalness of the product
The less processed a product is, the safer it is for human health.
How to make sure your food is safe?
As a caterer, it is extremely important that you follow the hygiene rules to prevent mass food poisoning of your customers. These tips will help you cook healthy, tasty, and, most importantly, safe food:
1. Wash your hands.
Hand washing is the golden rule of food safety and the cornerstone of hygiene. You transfer your hands from potentially contaminated surfaces to your face and mouth thousands of times a day – you sneeze into them, touch others and prepare food. The potential for cross-contamination is huge, so it’s extremely important to keep your hands clean by washing them regularly with soap and water.
2. Cook thoroughly under proper temperatures.
As long as the ingredients cannot be eaten raw (like fruits and vegetables), they need to be thermally processed to kill the bacteria. Washing raw meat or eggs is not enough if those are served undercooked.
3. Use different boards/plates/surfaces for raw and cooked food.
Never reuse a plate or bowl that held raw meat during the same cooking session. Anything that raw meat has touched should be washed immediately with dish liquid, this includes cutting boards.
4. Do not leave the food in the open space.
Germs will multiply in cooked foods that are left at room temperature for more than two hours. So if you have leftovers, it’s important to do the right thing and put them in the refrigerator quickly. Leftovers from cooked meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, rice, and sliced fruit should be placed in the fridge within two hours of cooking or cutting.