The Importance of Food Safety In Your Restaurant

When it comes to operating in the food service industry, food safety is of the utmost importance. Some food preparation and safety may seem obvious, however even the most skilled kitchen workers may slip up from time to time which is why it’s always important to do a refresher of proper food safety every so often to make sure everyone is up-to-date on food safety standards. 

1) Teach Your Employees About Hygienic Habits

Since COVID-19 the importance of washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water seems like second nature. But there are many other hygienic habits that need to be remembered as well when you are working in a kitchen and around foods. For example any cuts or injuries need to be completely covered to ensure there is no chance of contact with food. Employees who are handling food should never touch their face or other body parts while they are handling food, and if they do they should go wash their hands before resuming. These items may seem basic, but they are absolutely important to remind your staff of periodically. Every restaurant and business should have a safety checklist offered to all employees when they first begin training, should be available in several languages, and should be posted up throughout the kitchen and other areas of the business so that the basic safety checklist is visually available. 

2) Store Food In A Safe Temperature Range

When working with food it is imperative that you keep any meat, dairy, and other temperature-sensitive foods away from what is considered the “danger zone” - generally between 41°F and 140°F. Any time food’s internal temperature exists within this danger zone range for around 2 hours or more it is at risk for dangerous bacteria to grow and thrive, which is why it is important to keep food’s internal temperature above or below that range.

3) Clean Surfaces Are Your Friends

Keeping your hands clean is one part of kitchen cleanliness, but countertops and other surfaces are just as susceptible to contamination and should be cleaned and sanitized as often as possible. Prep areas, storage areas, walls, floors, trash areas… all of the areas need at least daily cleaning to ensure that they stay clean and don’t invite bugs and other rodents. 

4) Kitchen Equipment Must Stay clean

Just like cleaning surface areas you need to ensure that kitchen equipment stays clean as well. If you have a spill or something breaks inside the walk-in cooler or freezer you need to make sure that it is cleaned up as quickly as possible. All it takes is a small piece of food that gets knocked into a piece of equipment or underneath an oven to go bad and spoil, leading to contamination of that area. Or if you have cutting equipment, such as meat slicers - they should be taken apart and cleaned regularly so that those components that are constantly cutting food can be cleaned and sanitized. A general rule of thumb is to try and soak this type of equipment in water exceeding 171°F for more than 30 seconds, or run equipment through a high-temperature dish washer.

5) Properly Wash Produce

When you purchase fruits and vegetables they are often covered in dirt, pesticides and bacteria which is why it is very important to thoroughly wash all produce as soon as it gets delivered. Soak and rinse produce in a large bowl or tub with clean, cold water. Or you can use a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water for an extra boost of cleaning power. Even when produce is being sold as “pre-washed” you should still create the habit of thoroughly washing all produce once it’s delivered before being prepped or stored. 

6) Keep Up To Date

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) are constantly posting and publishing alerts on their websites about food recalls and other information related to food products so staying up to date with those websites will keep you in the know of any food recalls which may affect your kitchen. 

It may seem overwhelming at first to implement cleanliness rules for your kitchen, but if you set up a system to teach these items to staff as soon as they begin training and keep up with regular refresher courses for existing employees, these habits will become routine enough where it won’t even feel daunting. Food safety is absolutely necessary for any kitchen to run successfully which is why it is so important to get your checklist done and make sure employees follow it so that your kitchen staff and your customers are safe. HoodMart provides our customers with a wide range of walk-in coolers and freezers - as well as all walk-in accessories such as door hinges, kick plates, and light fixtures. HoodMart Walkin Coolers are Guaranteed To Pass ALL City & State Codes. ALL HoodMart® Walk-In Coolers and Freezers are UL Listed Panels and Doors, NSF Listed, EISA & U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Compliant, and Listed and Certified for all States, including City of Houston, State of Oregon, New York City. Custom Hurricane Approved Units Available. If you still have questions regarding the purchase of your walk-in cooler or freezer, please feel free to contact one of our experts today by calling us at 1.800.715.1014 or by contacting us through our live chat system.