If food safety isn’t a top priority for your restaurant, it should be. Every food service operation is part of preventing the more than 48 million cases of food borne illnesses every year (estimated by the CDC).
The goal of keeping food safe turns into a challenge during the busiest service times—especially with so many moving parts (people and equipment). That’s where this list of commercial food safety hacks comes in handy, giving every food service operation easy ways to protect customers—and their bottom line.
Avoid the danger zone
The danger zone is exactly what the term suggests: the time during which food is most susceptible to dangerous bacteria. This is typically when food is between 40 and 140 degrees. This especially true when food is stored at more than 70 degrees when bacteria cultivates more rapidly. In addition to food safety, improper food storage can also compromise food quality.
There are several ways to improve food safety, especially during busy times:
- Wash containers during slow times so clean containers available for storage.
- All staff need to be thoroughly trained on proper food storage and monitoring.
- Set a regular schedule for checking food temperature, even during extremely busy times.
- Discard any food that is not stored at proper temperatures.
- When stored in a commercial refrigerator, food should be labeled (with a date) and rotated to ensure proper food safety.
Look for automated solutions
Monitoring food items during storage, both cold and warm, is an important part of food safety. There are several types of commercial warming equipment that can maintain food temperature, including holding and proofing cabinets, heated merchandisers, countertop warmers, and forced hot air holding stations. For cooling, there are several types of commercial refrigeration equipment that keep food at proper storage temperatures.
For easier monitoring, food service and restaurant managers can purchase equipment with built-in temperature monitoring. This can help with easier monitoring, though another thermometer should always be used to ensure temperature accuracy.
Make machine sanitizing easy
Cleaning containers and machines is an important part of food safety. Proper cleaning removes all food particles and debris (both visible and non-visible) and can also extend the life of commercial kitchen equipment. There are different ways to make equipment and dish cleaning easy and safe for employees.
One way is to get an automated cleaning system for commercial kitchen equipment. An automated ice cream machine cleaning system ensures that there are no variations in the cleaning process (and disassembly) and that all parts are thoroughly sanitized. An added benefit of an automated cleaning system is that it can be safer for employees to use, especially if they don’t have to lift heavy items or move items around.
Post safe handling signage
Truly, food safety is the task of each and every staff member handling food. To help staff members, food service operations and restaurants should post signage with helpful information in convenient locations. This can include hand washing reminders, instructions for sanitizing machines, food storage temperatures, and schedules for temperature monitoring.
In addition to signage, food service operations and restaurants should also provide the necessary equipment for safe food handling. This equipment, such as gloves, should be monitored by a manager and refilled.
Establish a consistent training program
Training is one of the most essential elements of a food safety program. This should include the basics, such as wearing gloves, and more complicated procedures that they may be responsible for at a later time. In addition to training employees on food safety, this training should include safety information, such as what to do in case of a fire.