Brushing up on food safety basics now will prepare you for the future

Get ready for the future of food safety by brushing up on the basics.

Sponsored by Ecolab

Third-party research firm Datassential reported in March that consumers will be even more hyper aware about restaurant cleanliness perhaps more than ever before. While the majority of consumers want to see foodservice workers wearing protective gear, 40% expect to see more signage about food safety and sanitation when operations reopen. 

It’s important, however, to practice what you preach. Ensure that your kitchen staff is following standard food safety practices at every step of the way, from receiving and handling food items to preparing, packaging and storing the food. Here are some other tips for enhancing workplace safety and sanitation. 

Focus on employee hygiene and awareness.

This is the most important first step to creating a cleaner environment. Chefs are responsible for creating a culture of safety in their establishments. That means you’ll  need to stay informed of public health news in the industry and your community while keeping tabs on the infection status of all employees.  Closely monitor employee health; encourage symptomatic employees to stay home. In the kitchen, encourage your staff to follow proper hygiene and sanitation procedures — and set a flawless example yourself. Consider taking staff member’s temperatures when they arrive at work and remind your staff to wash their hands and change their gloves more frequently as well as to cough into their elbow, not into their hands. 

Give high-touch areas extra care.

In addition to properly cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces and utensils, increase cleaning and disinfecting frequency for high-touch surfaces, including menus, beverage stations and food dispensers. Or, consider using disposable menus. Also, make sure your staff understands product applications and follow labels exactly for proper cleaning and sanitizing of food contact and non-food-contact surfaces, the latter of which includes floors, walls, ceilings and equipment. Ensure that dishwashing staff know when to use high-heat settings or chlorine sanitizing and how to determine proper alkalinity.

Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations throughout your space.

Include these in the dining room, kitchen and near entryways and bathrooms. On that note, make sure you clean and disinfect the restrooms as specified on the product label. Use only sanitizers suitable for use in a food manufacturing facility, and again, following label instructions.

If you haven’t already, document your food safety program and protocols.

Include in that standard operating procedure clear and detailed information related to onsite assessments, coaching and training. They can help you identify and minimize potential food safety risks, drive behavior change and improve health department inspection ratings.

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