There are many risks in the restaurant industry. One of the most common is cross-contamination of food products. Here are three common ways that food can become contaminated in a food service establishment, and how you can lower that risk.
1. Storing Cooked and Uncooked Food Together
Raw foods may contain bacteria and pathogens that, when improperly stored, can transfer to ready to eat items. This raises the risk that someone will become ill after eating that product. For that reason, raw and RTE foods should always be stored separately.Every food item should also be clearly labeled with information that includes:
- What it is
- Allergy warnings
- Date package was opened or placed in storage
- Temperature (for cold storage foods)
2. Inadequate Cleaning of Prep Surfaces
Any surfaces that contact food during the reparation and cooking process should be fully sanitized. Failure to do so allows pathogens to linger and contaminate other foods later on.
3. Improper Hand Washing Techniques
This is another area where training can go a long way to reducing the risk of contamination and spreading foodborne illnesses. Every staff member who has direct contact with food, kitchen areas, and equipment should be trained on how to properly wash their hands and when it is necessary. Using disposable gloves in serving areas can also help cut back on this risk.
While cross-contamination has been a problem in the food industry for years, it doesn’t have to plague your restaurant. Taking proactive steps to properly train staff, use appropriate cleaning methods and implement sanitation procedures can help minimize the risk.