How to Not Poison Customers: Company Food Safety
Food safety is a critical part of running a successful restaurant or food retail business. Without food safety measures in place, you’re putting your customers in harm’s way by potentially exposing them to food poisoning like salmonella, norovirus, and botulism. These types of food poisoning are all caused by an exposure to bacteria either through improper food preparation or storage. Not only is food poisoning unpleasant and will deter patrons from visiting your restaurant again, but it can be deadly as well.
Here I’ll go through the importance of company food safety, why it matters for your business, and how you can take the proper precautions to keep your customers safe from the risks of food poisoning.
Why food safety is important for businesses
Food safety must be a top priority for any company that manufactures, handles, sells, or prepares food. This includes butchers, bakeries, cafes, restaurants, grocery stores, and many other companies. To ensure a positive customer experience, they must be able to trust that your business you take their health and safety seriously in order to provide the very best quality food.
Without proper precautions and food safety training, your business puts your customers at risk. If there is a health issue that stems from your restaurant or store, the damage to your reputation can be detrimental to your business and may even put an end to your operations. For these reasons, every business that prepares, sells, and handles food must be stringent about food safety – for the good of your customers and for the success of your company.
Food safety basics for businesses
It’s imperative that your business takes a proactive approach to food safety. This means training staff thoroughly and refreshing their training on a regular basis so they can carry out food safety best practices at all times. Do this before a health issue occurs instead of waiting for a problem to arise. To give your customers the best possible dining experience, these basic measures should be followed by all employees at all times:
1 – Wash thoroughly
Washing is a critical step in putting an end to the spread of harmful foodborne bacteria. This includes employees washing their hands consistently, meticulously cleaning food preparation surfaces, and washing fruits and vegetables before preparing them. Washing also prevents cross contamination, which occurs when things like raw meat are prepared, then hands, surfaces, or equipment isn’t cleaned before handling another item.
2 – Cook foods to the proper temperature
While it may behoove your business’ finances to cut corners and prepare food as quickly as possible, these types of cost-saving measures put your customers at serious risk for food poisoning. Always ensure that foods like meat and eggs are cooked to the proper temperature. For raw meat, this means bringing it to an internal temperature of 63 degrees Celsius or higher. To determine whether your food is cooked enough, always use a thermometer to double check, rather than simply relying on time.
3 – Be strict About food storage
Once your food is cooked to the proper temperature, you must remain vigilant in making sure it’s served and stored safely. Ensure that you don’t leave food sitting out longer than needed, and that you serve items like shellfish on ice. Once you’ve finished working with your food, you must store them at a temperature of 5 degrees Celsius or below for refrigeration, or freeze foods completely for future use. Once a food, like meat, fish, or shellfish has been thawed, it must be used and never frozen again. Follow good practices when freezing foods to preserve their flavor, texture and nutrition.
Additional food safety tips for your company
In addition to the critical precautions described above, there are additional measures that you and your employees should always take without exception:
- Adhere by all food expiration dates even if a food seems to be in good condition.
- Develop a company-wide set of food safety protocols and checklists that are easy to follow.
- Follow the “when in doubt, throw it out” mantra.
- Perform periodic checks of your employees food preparation and storage to ensure best practices are being followed at all times.
It’s plain to see that food safety must be at the forefront of any successful food-related business or restaurant. Taking food safety seriously ensures that your customers will have a pleasant experience with your brand and will trust in your products and services.
Food safety is a serious matter and food poisoning is a real threat to customers when proper precautions aren’t followed by members of your company. Proper training on food preparation, storage, and cleaning techniques will give your staff the knowledge they need to ensure that your customers remain safe when shopping at your grocery store, eating in your restaurant, or purchasing the foods that you’ve prepared. Businesses that follow the appropriate food measures will thrive with happy and healthy customers.
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