RSPH reveals areas of malpractice and misunderstanding amongst catering staff

With just 15 to 20 cells of Salmonella in food required to make someone extremely ill, it is vital that rules and regulations in catering are strictly adhered to.

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Are your staff making any of these mistakes?

1 Not reporting illness to their line managers

Illness and diseases can be spread by catering staff and quickly infect large numbers of people. All illnesses, no matter how trivial they may seem, should be reported, with some illnesses requiring a set period of time before the staff member can return to work.

2 Not checking or recording temperatures

It is a legal requirement that cooking temperatures are recorded and there are rules that outline the temperatures food being cooked must reach before being deemed fit for consumption. Fridges, freezers and chilled areas also need to be checked and food probed to ensure it is being kept at the required temperature. All these temperatures then need to be recorded and kept in the event of a complaint or allegation of food poisoning, or for when the local authority make their statutory visits.

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3 Leaving buffet food out for too long

According to the Birmingham Mail, food can be left at room temperature for limited periods during service or when on display. The temperature of chilled foods can exceed 8 °C for up to four hours, while the temperature of hot foods can fall below 63 °C for a maximum of two hours. Many establishments are breaking these rules, allowing potentially harmful bacteria to grow in food as it reaches the ‘danger zone’ between 5 °C and 63 °C.

4 Cross contaminating foods

Many staff also do not understand the control measures for avoiding cross contamination, increasing the risk of bacterial contamination. Commercial dishwashers from suppliers such as https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk/bar-supplies/commercial-warewashers can take the worry out of correct washing procedures for boards and knives, however, all staff need to be trained to know what the main risks are and how to avoid them.

5 Not understanding the hazards of allergens
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3 Leaving buffet food out for too long

According to the Birmingham Mail, food can be left at room temperature for limited periods during service or when on display. The temperature of chilled foods can exceed 8 °C for up to four hours, while the temperature of hot foods can fall below 63 °C for a maximum of two hours. Many establishments are breaking these rules, allowing potentially harmful bacteria to grow in food as it reaches the ‘danger zone’ between 5 °C and 63 °C.

4 Cross contaminating foods

Many staff also do not understand the control measures for avoiding cross contamination, increasing the risk of bacterial contamination. Commercial dishwashers from suppliers such as https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk/bar-supplies/commercial-warewashers can take the worry out of correct washing procedures for boards and knives, however, all staff need to be trained to know what the main risks are and how to avoid them.

5 Not understanding the hazards of allergens

Many catering staff don’t understand that they need to take necessary measures to prevent allergens coming into contact with other foodstuffs. Staff need training to know the procedures and there must be clear communication to customers so that they can make informed choices when it comes to foods containing allergens.