Caterer, Licensee & Hotelier
Food Safety And Temperature Monitoring In The Independent And Small Chain Sector Of The Hospitality Industry FOOD BUSINESS operators have a legal obligation to comply with food hygiene legislation which states that they must ensure the food they sell is safe for consumption and does not cause ill health to customers. Therefore, a successful catering business relies on good food hygiene practices to prevent food poisoning, achieve legal compliance and attain good food hygiene ratings as well as customer satisfaction and a respectable reputation. Such laws are enforced by Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) from local councils who will also offer support and guidance. However, should they witness evidence of non-compliance or an imminent risk to health they can close the businesses or prosecute for food hygiene offences. They can also publish a low Food Hygiene Rating which is accessible to the public on-line. Poor publicity associated with such actions can be devastating for the company’s reputation. The Mitchells and Butlers case in which a woman died after contracting Clostridium perfringens from turkey received plenty of unwanted attention. The Chef and the Manager were found guilty of perverting the course of justice and jailed for 12 and 18 months respectively. They had fabricated food safety records relating to the cooking of the turkey meat. Adhering to legislation, achieving compliance with best practice and ensuring you are prepared for an EHO visit can appear to be daunting, especially to small and independent businesses. With 30 years’ of experience, Food Alert’s Managing Director Client Services, David Bashford states that with new increased sentences for compliance breaches, increasing customer awareness of food hygiene ratings and reputations on the line, food businesses need to operate at higher standards now more than ever. Achieving compliance is not impossible and does not have to be over complicated. A simple food safety management system should be in place. Small businesses can make use of the Food Standards Agency’s ‘Safer Food Better Business’ system (available from their web-site) or call in competent advice from a company like Food Alert. Effective cleaning is an essential pre-requisite to any food hygiene system. Adequate cleaning ensures food preparation areas and equipment are cleaned in between use, especially inbetween the use of ready-to-eat and non-ready-to-eat foods. Using a commercial cleaning chemical provider (rather than supermarket or cash and carry products) means you will be more effective in achieving high standards of cleanliness with products that are effective against bacteria and viruses. Staff should be made aware of the correct use of such products including the contact time. The use of a cleaning schedules can prove as a useful tool for ensuring cleaning standards have been maintained on a daily basis. Cleaning schedules should outline what needs to be cleaned, the frequency of the cleaning, and
what products should be used. It is a legal requirement for food handlers to uphold a high standard of personal hygiene including wearing clean protective clothing so that individuals do not contaminate the food (it’s not worn to protect the staff!). With regards to training staff, there is no legal requirement to attend a formal training course, rather, food handlers must receive supervision, instruction or training which is appropriate for the task they will be carrying out. However, it must be noted that those responsible for developing food safety management procedures must have received adequate training which allows them to do so competently. Cooking is an essential step to ensuring food is safe for consumption as thoroughly cooking will kill any harmful bacteria that may lead to food poisoning. When deciding what core temperature you wish to achieve, consideration should be given to the following core temperature and time combinations of 70°C for 2 minutes or 75°C for 30 seconds. When holding food hot, food must be kept above 63°C. Safe storage is critical to the safety of food. Keeping foods chilled below 8°C is a legal requirement as it keeps food in the safe zone to slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Delivery temperatures should be monitored and foods transported to refrigeration as quickly as possible. During preparation foods should not be left out of the fridge for any longer than is necessary and the chilling of cooked foods should be done as quickly as possible. Record keeping is a measure of ‘due diligence’ to assist in demonstrating that the food safety controls are in place and are being maintained. Record-keeping should be done so in accordance with the nature and size of the business. Critical control point (CCP) checks do not need to be done at every point all the time instead at regular intervals daily. Yes, temperature records help to show what you did, but it also (and primarily) helps to ensure you are selling safe food. Successful prevention of cross-contamination on hands, equipment, surfaces and foods is fundamental to food safety. It is imperative to prevent cross-contamination between ready and non-ready-to-eat foods. They should be stored and prepared separately, have separate designated equipment such as chopping boards and separate ‘complex’ machinery such as vacuum packing machines and slicers. Sources of support and information:Food Standards Agency – Starting up www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/multimedia/pdfs/publication/sta rting-up-booklet.pdf The Industry Guide to Good Hygiene Practice: Catering Guide www.foodalert.com/services/food-safety/catering-guide-2016 Food Alert www.foodalert.com Food Standards Agency - Safer Food Better Business. www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/sfbb-caterers-pack.pdf
Digital Food Safety And Temperature Monitoring Saves Time, Money And Stress
IF LIKE most food businesses managing food safety paperwork is time-consuming and cumbersome, Checkit will help you. How? Checkit is a completely paperless food safety and temperature monitoring system created with the help of food inspectors. It replaces paper checklists and diaries with a handheld device that prompts staff when to do food safety checks and creates your food safety records automatically. Checkit comes with smart wireless temperature probes for hot and chilled food checks and notify staff if
food is in the safe range and what to do if not. Checkit wireless sensors are placed in fridges, freezers and chilled cabinets and continuously record temperatures 24 x 7. All temperature data is automatically time-stamped and stored securely online for visibility and compliance. When it’s busy in the kitchen it’s easy to miss checks or forget to fill in the paperwork. With Checkit you can make sure your food safety and cleaning tasks always get done and it completely eliminates food safety paperwork from the kitchen. Even in the smallest business, this will save at least a day of time, each month. To book an online demo visit: www.checkit.net/request-a-demo/ or call 01223 371027.
Salmonella Testing Made Fast, Convenient And Accurate AS SALMONELLA bacteria are the most commonly reported cause of foodborne illnesses, never has testing been so important. However, while conventional salmonella test kits involve numerous complicated steps, Hygiena International’s recently developed InSite Salmonella micro-organism colorimetric test is rapid, convenient and extremely accurate. It combines both swab, pre-enrichment and selective enrichment in a single self-contained swab device for testing environmental surfaces, giving results in 24 hours.
Salmonella bacteria are found worldwide in a range of cold and warm-blooded animal species. In most cases, salmonella infections are contracted by ingesting poultry, pork, beef, fish or seafood that has not been heated/cooked appropriately, or was cross-contaminated after preparation. According to the European Food Safety Authority, around 100,000 cases are reported every year in the EU. Designed with the facts in mind, Hygiena InSite is a costeffective Salmonella screening test for food contact surfaces, processing equipment and general environmental samples that combines the principal steps of pre-enrichment and selective enrichment in an all-in-one swab device. The test consists of a large sponge swab pre-wetted with a neutralising agent – to counter the effects of residual sanitisers – and a pre-enrichment broth to enable the detection of low numbers of Salmonella. The bulb contains the AOAC enrichment Salmonella Indicator Broth PDXSIB. After activation and incubation, a colour change of the selective enrichment
broth from purple to yellow is considered as a ‘presumptive positive’ result. A brief pre-enrichment period of just six hours enables the detection of presumptive positive samples within a 24-hour period. Alternatively, optional overnight or 24-hour pre-enrichment permits the detection of such samples in 48 hours. The test requires fewer materials, fewer steps and less manipulation by users. Furthermore, its all-in-one format maintains security by confining hazardous pathogens. Screening for pathogens is a vital element of environmental monitoring programmes for certain food manufacturing plants. Not only does it confirm the effectiveness of a sanitation procedure, environmental monitoring also forms part of a comprehensive preventive control verification programme. It is imperative that testing for the presence of Salmonella is carried out during facilities manufacturing and processing as well as wherever there is packing/holding of foods for consumption. However, while there are probably 40 different methods for salmonella detection currently commercially available, all require a skilled operator and are time-consuming, laborious and prone to errors at several stages. In contrast, Hygiena InSite is quick, straightforward and reliable, while further benefits include reduced risk of cross-contamination and the retention of active culture for any subsequent verification and identification tests. An instructional video explaining the product details and proper use of InSite Salmonella can be viewed at: http://www.hygiena.com/insite-salmonellafood-and-beverage.html For further information contact Hygiena International Ltd, on Telephone: 01923 818821, e-mail: email@example.com or visit www.hygiena.com
Issue #198 of CLH News - the leading monthly trade publication for the independent hotel, pub and restaurant sector of the hospitality indus...