Monthly Archive for August, 2009

Do You Trust The Food You Serve?

Outbreaks of food poisoning have been in the news a lot as of late; as you know, many of these outbreaks were traced to restaurants. No matter where in the world you are, there are safety regulations which must be followed and Victoria, Australia is no exception. Regardless of the kind of food you serve in your establishment, cleanliness and following safety regulations with regard to food handling are good habits to keep and can prevent food poisoning.

Salmonella is a bacterium which can taint many types of food items. Usually, raw meats are the prime suspects in salmonella related food poisoning cases, but pet reptiles can also carry these bacteria. There are two ways to prevent salmonella form causing food poisoning which are guaranteed to be effective: thoroughly cooking food before serving and regular, thorough hand washing before, during and after cooking or eating.

Escherichia coli (or e-coli for short) is a form of bacteria which can cause serious illness or even death. Found naturally inside of the human body and in some foods, some strains can be lethal. E-coli produces harmful, toxic substances and includes unpleasant (to say the least) symptoms including watery and/or bloody diarrhea. A healthy adult can generally weather a case of e-coli food poisoning, but the elderly, the sick and young children are at risk of getting very ill if infected. As with salmonella, the way to prevent e-coli infection is thorough cooking and regular hand washing, along with careful cleaning of all cooking areas. Hand washing should become a thoroughly ingrained habit. You use your hands to pick up everything ? even harmful microbes.

It is understandable that with all of the headlines about food borne illnesses that many may feel as if dining out is tantamount to playing Russian roulette. You can ensure that your restaurant is safe from the hazards presented by infected foods by following the HACCP standards (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). These standards are designed to ensure the safety of foods made for human consumption. Most are common sense rules, such as putting perishable ingredients like milk back into refrigeration after using and dating items put into the freezer. Running a restaurant kitchen requires that you stay on top of a lot of different things. If you?ve got employees whom you supervise, you must make sure that they are up to speed on HACCP standards and adhere to them. You don?t want all of the work you?ve put into your restaurant to be ruined by one mistake made out of ignorance of the HACCP rules.

Any certifications or stickers you have received from health authorities should be posted where your customers can easily see them. You can let them know in this way that your restaurant has a clean kitchen and they can dine without worry. Your customers will then know that your kitchen has nothing to hide and the food that you serve them is wholesome and can be enjoyed in confidence.