Tag Archive for 'food poisoning outbreak'

Top 10 Worst Food Contamination Outbreaks

We recently blogged about the e coli outbreak in Europe which prompted someone to point out another blog post summarising the 10 worst food contamination outbreaks.

Click on the hyperlink to have a look – it’s pretty scary stuff which once again highlights the importance of good food safety management programs.

We all have a stake in this because we all eat and consume food from a wide variety of sources.

If you come across interesting statistics and data like this, please let us know, we’d love to blog about it.

Outbreak: A Food Professionals Worst Nightmare

If you have cooked in or run a restaurant in Melbourne, you know that you are playing to a tough crowd!  Not only does the city have great restaurants serving all types of food at a range of prices, but you will also find that it is a town with a long memory.

If you give your customers a great dining experience, you can bet that they will be back for more and that they will tell their friends, but if you mess up, word is certainly going to get around. Every restaurant manager fears a food poisoning outbreak, but if you work in Melbourne, you may have more reason than most to be frightened of it.

When you are looking at a food poisoning outbreak, you are looking at your restaurant getting a lot of publicity that it doesn’t need. You’ll find that you may be risking a citation or a warning at best, and complete shut-down at worst. This is how important adequate food safety and hygiene is to your restaurant.

Guests who are unlucky enough to eat at a time when your food safety isn’t as high as it should be may become quite sick, and while many cases of food poisoning can be quite mild, others are extremely severe or unpleasant. This is most common when children or people with weakened immune systems are exposed to tainted food.

Bacteria may easily exist on raw food like eggs, seafood, uncooked rice, or even raw vegetables.  For the most part, good washing practices and cooking will take care of the problems there, but if these foods come into contact with food that has already been prepared, the bacteria are able to pass themselves on. Some bacteria can even be transferred through unwashed hands onto food that is ready to serve. Other pathogens or bacteria will develop on food that as been allowed to grow too warm or that has begun to spoil.

There are many different ways to prevent a food poisoning outbreak. The first and most obvious thing that you need to think about is the fact that your staff need food safety training: to be taught how to handle and prepare food. Strict regulations about hand washing and sanitation on the food preparation floor are things that you really need to drill home.

You will also find that good storage, where raw food is never permitted to come in contact with food that is ready to serve is something that all staff need to be aware of. It is important to establish routine to ensure that staff form good hygiene habits.

The truth of the matter is that there is a multitude of different ways that a food poisoning outbreak can occur, but you don’t need to live in fear. Most restaurant managers aren’t experts in food safety, which is why they will enlist the services of a good food safety expert before anything goes wrong. If you want to make sure that nothing gets overlooked in the food safety of your restaurant, talk to an expert.  If you are cooking in Melbourne, you already know that you are playing to a tough crowd, so don’t make it any harder than it has to be!

Gavin can be contacted at gavin@agbsolutions.com.au or through his website at www.agbsolutions.com.au.

How to Ensure That You Don’t Have Any Sick Customers from Your Food

If you are a restaurant professional in Melbourne, whether your restaurant is large or small, you need to make sure that proper sanitation and health concerns are one of your top priorities.

There is a good chance that you know of, or have even been to a restaurant that has suffered from health code issues. The repercussions of this can be immense.  The most obvious and potentially devastating sign of poor food hygiene is sick customers. This of course is an unpleasant situation for customers and in the best case scenario, they will simply never return to your restaurant again. In the worst case scenario, they will sue!

Recovering from the loss of reputation that results from poor food safety can be nigh on impossible. Because of this it makes much more sense to protect yourself and your customers by ensuring that your food safety standards are high to begin with.

When you are looking at the maintenance of good food hygiene, you will find that at the most basic level, it is a matter of cleanliness.  All of the handling and storage areas should be kept clean and anyone handling the food must be aware of what they are doing and take the proper precautions.

Food should be thoroughly cooked, and whether being stored or served, should be at an appropriate temperature to prevent the multiplication of bacteria.

Cross contamination, especially with regard to meat, is also something that requires constant vigilance. Meat should always be stored in such a way that accidental drippings will not contaminate other foods.

An extremely important aspect of good food hygiene in the kitchen is the idea that anyone who handles food in your kitchen should be well trained and aware of the safety procedures in place.  Before and after handling food, they should wash their hands with warm water and liquid soap, and after washing, they should make sure that they dry their hands on a towel intended for that purpose.  Hand washing is the core of good hygiene in the kitchen and it should be undertaken after going to the toilet, handling money, breaks, and after sneezing or blowing your nose.

Even with a good understanding of food safety, it is important to be aware of the fact that there is a lot to be said for consulting an expert.  You and your staff have a lot going on, and in many ways, it can be difficult to look objectively at a familiar situation and make sure that everything is being done right. However these small details that get overlooked can become a big issue and potentially devastate a business!  It is here that professional services that will assess your safety procedures and suggest improvements come into play.  You can use these services to reduce the chance of a food poisoning outbreak.  In a place like Melbourne where news travels fast, you can bet that this is something that you will be glad you invested in!

Gavin can be contacted at gavin@agbsolutions.com.au or through his website at www.agbsolutions.com.au.

Food Poisoning – Is Your Food Safe?

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 Australia is no exception.

In many cases of food poisoning, Salmonella is the culprit. Raw poultry and eggs are generally the source of this bacterium in foods, but this bacterium can also be carried by contamination from faeces as well as pet reptiles.

Salmonella is a bacterium which can affect many types of food items. Usually, raw poultry and eggs are the prime suspects in salmonella related food poisoning cases, but contamination from faeces and 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.

With all of the stories about food poisoning in the news, it’s understandable that some people are a little nervous about dining out. To make sure that your establishment keeps your customers safe from the risk of infection, be sure to follow the HACCP principles. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points and is a set of principles designed to make sure that foods prepared for people to eat are safe. Many of these regulations are simply common sense, such as putting milk back into the refrigerator after use or dating items before freezing.

Being in charge of a restaurant means that you have to keep a handle on a lot of things at once – make sure that HACCP principles are at the top of your list. All of the hard work you’ve put into your business could be lost if someone gets ill from your food due to a preventable mistake by an employee unaware of the food safety regulations.

Having a HACCP certified kitchen is very marketable. If you have received stickers or certifications from health officials, be sure to place them where your customers can see them. This way they know that the food which you are serving to them was prepared in a clean kitchen which complies with health and safety regulations and they can dine in without getting anxious.