Did you know that foodborne illnesses are 100 percent preventable? It’s true. Avoiding such incidents is not a simple solution, however. As an owner or manager of a food service establishment, the only way to achieve this goal is to establish a food safety culture among you and your staff.
Knowing about food safety is not enough. It is a philosophy that you must teach, practice, and review every day. Your business profits rely on your reputation and the health of customers that consume the food that is prepared. In order to establish a food safety culture at your restaurant, you should do these six things to start on the right path:
1. Educate your staff
A successful food safety culture begins with education and will become a routine practice once established. When your staff knows and understands the dangers of bacteria and cross-contamination, they will be less likely to take shortcuts in food preparation. Let them know the consequences of not following food safety rules and how it may affect the health of the customers. Providing updates and refresher courses for your staff is vital in keeping safety a priority.
2. Establish food safety rules
An employee may know what the rules are, but do they understand why they’re important? Managers should explain the reasons behind food safety protocols. Your staff must understand the dangers of cross contamination, such as prepping different raw meat products on the same cutting surface. Dangerous bacteria can cause illness or even death if consumed by customers. If an employee knows the reason behind the rule, they will more likely comply and make it part of their everyday routine.
3. Set the standards
As an owner or manager, setting the standards for a food safety culture begins with you! It is not enough to have paper certifications displayed on the wall. Your staff depends on your commitment to safety and will follow your lead. Emphasize the importance of following the rules for food preparation and why you will not tolerate anything but total compliance. Once they see and understand your dedication, it will soon become a standard method of operation that will harness positive results.
4. Provide proper resources and equipment
Does your kitchen have all the tools needed to create a proper food safety culture? Make sure to stock items such as calibrated food thermometers for every prep area. Have multiple cutting boards available for staff to use so that raw meats, ready to eat foods, and allergy friendly items do not mix. Temperature logs need to be readily available and maintained on a consistent schedule to ensure all food is safe to eat at all times.
5. Conduct food inspections
When food is delivered to your establishment, you cannot assume that it is safe. You and your staff need to inspect the food items and reject anything that could be deemed as unsafe. Watch your employees in action to ensure that all food safety protocols are being conducted properly. Be sure that all food prep surfaces and tools are being sanitized and take corrective actions when mistakes are made.
6. Utilize back office inventory tracking
Utilize back office inventory tracking to keep close tabs on how long produce and ingredients without a long shelf life have been stored. Make sure to dispose of any unused items past their expiration date.
Creating a successful food safety culture at your restaurant is easily achievable and can boost your reputation among customers. An emphasis on the importance of food safety ensures your staff will work continuously toward this goal.