It can be safely said that a few years ago the food sector, especially caterers and eateries, saw a paradigm shift. The lifestyle of workers changed. Food hygiene saw a breakthrough. Complicated measures to keeping ingredient secure were implemented. This transformation came when:
- People became cognisant of foodborne diseases
- The practices of careless food handling and hygiene came into the spotlight
- The skills and behaviour of individuals managing the food were found to be lacking
The result was the improvisation of existing rules and the addition of new ones to provide a higher assurance to the customer.
Why should the food industry maintain hygiene standards?
Be it a wedding catering company or a nellai restaurant; food hygiene is vital for both. Cleanliness can define the fate of the business. When hygiene is kept as a priority, it not only ensures the health of every worker but also establishes the image of it. Proper sanitation retains the safety of the food secure and creates a good perception of the caterers or restaurant.
The present-day customer is aware, more than ever. They pick outlets and caterers who offer excellent quality food, great ambiance and beyond par hygiene. So much so, that hygiene has started ranking at the second level right after quality. Ergo, any food business that wants to thrive in the cut-throat competitive world needs to invest in cleanliness and sanitation practices.
It is not just the kitchen and preparation area that needs to be spick and span; the entire location has to be clean. For caterers, it means keeping the cutlery and serving tableware spotless. For restaurants, it means keeping the whole outlet impeccable.
How Can Caterers Uphold Standards?
It takes a few simple steps to keep food and every equipment used to prepare meals disinfected. Some methods that outdoor and indoor caterers can employ are:
- Clean every surface with a mixture of lukewarm water and detergent.
- Once it is cleaned, disinfect it. The step needs to be carried out to ensure that microorganisms that harm food or contaminate it are eliminated.
- To do so, make a mixture of boiling water and a disinfectant.
- The disinfectant has to be non-toxic.
- To sanitise silverware and flatware:
- Get rid of all food scraps and waste on them
- Wash with water and detergent.
- Rinse with hot water. It will prevent future infections.
- Sterilise them in a solution or dip them in water boiled to eighty degrees for thirty seconds. Chlorine is the most common chemical that can be appropriated for sterilisation because it kills a great range of organisms and can be wielded at low temperatures.
- If a dishwashing machine is used, then keep in mind to eradicate all food waste. Only then should the utensils should be placed in the device; else they do not get washed uniformly.
- Make sure that the employee is aware of how to operate the equipment, accurately.
- Do no use a cloth, fabric or dryer to get rid of the excess water after cleaning and disinfecting crockery. Let them air dry at room temperature.
What restaurants can do to practice better hygiene?
Eateries and joints have a physical space that extends beyond a kitchen. Therefore, the practices they need to put in place for sanitation are more extensive than caterers. Besides following the same procedure for cleaning the tools of the trades, as elucidated above, five more habits must be inculcated. The 5 steps explained below can be put in work by professional caterers too.
- Maintaining Equipment
Restaurant kitchens have industrial grade equipment to store and prepare food. Every employee should be educated in:
- How to use it properly
- How to thoroughly clean it
- How to maintain them
It will increase the cleanliness factor of the kitchen which will lead to a better reputation.
- Adequate Ventilation
Cooking, continually, generates heat, moisture, and smoke which creates the build-up of sweat in workers. Hence, another practice that restaurants must apply is proper ventilation. It will offer a more friendly environment for employees and there boost their morale. Plus, food prep areas and storage sections will be more comfortable to maintain when the temperature is controlled.
- Scheduled Checking
Cleaning, periodically, is only part of the story. Another is auditing it. Therefore, the dining and the kitchen area should have a schedule for inspection. A regular check-up will make sure that standards are maintained. An employee should be put in charge to oversee if the required hygiene benchmarks are being met or not.
- Staff Cleanliness
No matter how much you clean the kitchen and keep an eye on its maintenance, the effort goes down the drain if the people handling the food are not spotless. Thus, it is vital to train every worker in keeping personal hygiene. 3 aspects of creating a healthy environment are:
- Clean clothes
- Hairnet and glove utilisation
- Continuous washing of hands
- Create Checklists
Employees are most often overworked. They do not have the time to remember new practices put into place. So, a restaurant should develop a checklist that details all the tasks that should be done to maintain hygiene. Every time a chore or duty is completed, the list can be updated. It will ensure that every worker implements their cleanliness responsibilities.