The 4Cs of Food Hygiene

Do you run a restaurant business? Are you doing all you can to ensure that food is safe for public consumption? The very first you should know is that food poisoning is dangerous — it’s something you wouldn’t even wish on your mortal enemy. As a food business owner, it’s your responsibility to protect your customers from food poisoning by practicing good food hygiene — this is crucial. All staff should be suitably trained and have a food hygiene certificate.

For the most part, food poisoning is as a result of eating food that has been contaminated with harmful bacteria or viruses. Speaking of viruses and bacteria, the main culprits include Salmonella, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter, and Giardia. It’s important to note that food poisoning is typically caused by cross-contamination or transfer of bacteria to kitchen surfaces. Moreover, your customers may be at higher risk of food poisoning when you fail to cook food properly.

These avoidable mistakes can give your business a bad name or even attract the wrath of the law.

The good news is, the 4Cs of food safety can help prevent food poisoning — you and your member of staff only need to follow them!

  • Cross-contamination
  • Cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Chilling
  1. Cross-contamination

The very first thing you should be aware of is cross-contamination — it’s one of the primary culprits of food poisoning. For the most part, cross-contamination occurs when harmful bacteria or germs are spread between food, surfaces, and kitchen utensils. The good news is, you can keep all these nastiness at bay by practicing good food hygiene.

For starters, always ensure that raw food is kept far away from cooked food at all times. It’s critical to separate raw meat, poultry, fish and other raw foods from ready-to-eat foods like sandwiches, bread, salads and the like. Moreover, you should never put cooked food on a plate that has been used to hold raw foods. Be sure to wash the plate thoroughly before using it again.

It’s also important to use separate chopping boards for raw and cooked foods. You should also ensure that kitchen staff always wash their hands after touching raw foods and before preparing other foods. Washing your chopping boards and plates properly is yet another simple way to prevent cross-contamination. Finally, be sure that raw foods are properly sealed before placing them in the refrigerator — doing this will prevent the juices from dripping onto other foods. It’s also an excellent idea to use separate fridges for raw and cooked foods if you got the bill.

Cleaning

It’s important to note that hands are one of the primary ways in which germs and bacteria are spread throughout the kitchen. This is exactly why it’s crucial to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before cooking and after visiting the restroom, touching the bin or handling raw food. It’s also essential to wash kitchen equipment and surfaces before preparing food. Moreover, you should remember to change sponges, dish clothes, and oven gloves on a regular basis. It’s also great to clean kitchen surfaces as you go — doing this will keep those pesky germs at bay.

Cooking

One of the surest ways to kill all forms of harmful bacteria in food is by cooking it thoroughly and properly. Always ensure that the food is steaming hot in the middle to be on the safer side. As a restaurant owner, you must make sure that foods like poultry, pork or beef are thoroughly cooked before serving it to customers.

Chilling

Finally, it’s essential to refrigerate food that needs to be chilled in the quickest possible time to prevent it from going stale. Moreover, you should ensure that the fridge super cold or set below 5°C to inhibit the growth of harmful germs and bacteria. You should always remember to store food at the bottom of the fridge and be sure to wrap them properly to prevent the juices from contaminating other foods.

And that’s it! These are just about everything you need to know about proper food hygiene — be sure to follow them and stay safe!