The importance of observing impeccable food hygiene within a culinary setting cannot be stressed highly enough. There are so many germs and bacteria which can spread and multiply very easily due to cross contamination or incorrect handling of foodstuffs. Also if food is kept at an incorrect temperature this can cause stomach upsets and food poisoning. It is very important for all who prepare food or who work in a kitchen to have a basic food hygiene certificate. This will ensure that they have the knowledge necessary to ensure that they can create good food in a safe and germ free environment.
There are many plus points which make good hygiene a must in any food setting. There are the obvious anti food poisoning aspects which have already been discussed but there are also business benefits. Such as –
- A business will be far more reputable if it doesn’t have a bad hygiene track record
- There will be a good and structured work environment which will allow employees to thrive
- The Environmental Health Department will be happy with the running of the business and will not prosecute of close the business down due to bad hygiene problems / food poisoning cases and so on
- Lower levels of wastage of food as it will all be used in a timely fashion
Food poisoning must never be taken lightly. Many people class this as a bit of a sore stomach but in reality food poisoning can be fatal especially in risk groups such as pregnant women, infants, the elderly and immuno compromised individuals.
It is very important that all food is stored correctly which means that raw meat should never touch cooked or indeed any other foodstuffs in order to stop any risk of cross contamination. It is also important that any equipment within the food setting such as fridges and freezers are well maintained and that the temperatures are checked regularly.
It is important to note that there is always a risk of pests such as insects, birds and rodents being attracted to any areas in which food is worked with. It is also important to remember that wherever these pests are, bacteria and disease will follow. So how do you cope with this risk?
- Keep windows and doors closed unless necessary. Fit fly screens to windows
- Keep your food preparation area as clean as possible in order not to attract vermin
- Regularly inspect the kitchen for signs of pests and if found then alert the appropriate agencies
- Remember that vermin such as rats and mice are incontinent and therefore will contaminate all areas of your kitchen that they touch. This can cause significant illness in humans
- Flies breed very rapidly and are also bearers of disease
- Bird infestations are difficult to control and birds themselves can spread a great deal of disease including campylobacter which can present as extreme vomiting and diarrhoea
So you see that food hygiene is the number one consideration when you are thinking of setting up in the restaurant or café business or even when you consider your own home.