Friday, August 05, 2011



Food handling is a big responsibility. Having someone getting sick from eating at your restaurant is every restaurant owner's worst fear. No one wants to feel responsible for causing the suffering someone experiences from unsafe food.

A Restaurant's reputation is one of its most valuable assets, not to mention the possibility of a lawsuit for medical care and damages awarded to someone who gets food poisoning from your restaurant.

Everyone on you staff needs to know and understand how and why foods need to be kept at a certain temperature (click here) . Keep cold food below 45 degrees F. Hot food must be held at 145 degrees F. or above. If these temperatures are not kept, bacterial can multiply rapidly. Keep a temperature log (click here for pdf) and check the temperatures of your freezer, cooler and hot and cold holding units. Include a thermometer calibration log (click here for pdf) as well to make sure your thermometer is functioning correctly.

Employees need to know why its important to wash their hands before handling food and the right way to wash their hands (click here) . Many instances of food contamination leading to illness can be traced to employees not washing their hands after using the restroom and then handling or serving food.

Use gloves properly (Click here) , washing your hands before you put them on and before changing to new ones. You can never wash all of the bacterial from your hands and when you have gloves on, your hands sweat, causing the bacterial to multiply rapidly.

Personal hygiene (click here) is extremely important for food workers. Employees with cuts, abrasions, dirty hands and fingernails, skin diseases should not handle or serve food. Allowing sick employees is a temptation, especially if you are busy and short on staff, but the potential risk of infecting other people far out-weigh the inconvenience it can cause. Providing employees with free vaccinations can be a good investment, especially with regards to hepatitis.

Always wash all fruits and vegetables and never store bags or boxes of fruit or vegetables on the floor. Mop water contaminates food stored this way.

Make sure your water source is safe. Many restaurants have gone out of business because they used well water that was contaminated with bacteria.

Maintain the proper hot water temperatures when washing dishes and make sure your plates, silverware and glasses are clean and dry before stacking. Wet dishes can be breeding grounds for bacteria.

Hire an exterminator to keep pests under control. Rodents and insects can spread disease and contaminate food. Since garbage cans are breeding grounds for pests, keep lids on them and wash them often.

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