Control of hygiene in food preparation

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Food handlers have a responsibility to ensure their personal hygiene does not make food unsafe in any way. Practicing correct hygiene techniques also shows customers that their wellbeing has been considered and may encourage business.

PurchaseHigh risk* (ready-to-eat) foods contaminated with food-poisoning bacteria or toxins (Poisons produced by bacteria).Buy from a supplier only. Specify maximum temperature at delivery.
Receipt of foodHigh risk* (ready-to-eat) foods contaminated with poisoning bacteria or toxinsCheck if it looks, smells and feels right. Check if the temperature is right
StorageGrowth of food poisoning bacteria, toxins on high-risk* (ready-to-eat) foods. Further contamination.High risk* foods stored at safe temperatures. Store them wrapped. Label high-risk foods with the correct ‘sell by’ date. Rotate stock and use by recommended date.
PreparationContamination of High-risk* (ready-to-eat) foods. The growth of food poisoning bacteria.Wash your hands before handling food. Limit any exposure to room temperatures during preparation. Prepare with clean equipment, and use this for high-risk* (ready-to-eat) food only. Separate cooked foods from raw foods.
CookingSurvival of food-poisoning bacteriaCook rolled joints, chicken, and re-formed meats e.g. burgers so that the thickest part reaches at least 75°C Sear the outside of other, solid meat cuts (e.g. joints of beef, steak) before cooking.
CoolingGrowth of any surviving spores or food poisoning bacteria. Production of poisons by bacteria. Contamination with food-poisoning bacteriaCool foods as quickly as possible. Don’t leave out at room temperature to cool, unless the cooling period is short, like a place any stews or rice, etc. in shallow trays and cool to chill temperature quickly.
Hot-holdingGrowth of food-poisoning bacteria. Production of poisons by bacteria.Keep food hot, above 63°C.
ReheatingSurvival of food-poisoning bacteria.Reheat to above 75°C.
Chilled storageGrowth of food-poisoning bacteria.Keep temperature at the right level. Label high-risk ready-to-eat foods with a correct date code.
ServingGrowth of disease-causing bacteria. Production of poisons by bacteria. ContaminationCOLD SERVICE FOODS – serve high-risk foods as soon as possible after removing from refrigerated storage to avoid them getting warm. HOT FOODS – serve high-risk foods quickly to avoid them cooling down.

High-risk foods are those which may easily support the growth of food poisoning organisms and won’t be cooked any further before you serve them, for example; cooked fish, meat plates, cooked eggs dishes, pre-prepared dairy products that may only be re-heated.

Some food-poisoning bacteria can form spores which may survive cooking. If cooling is delayed or takes a long time, these spores may grow or produce toxins (poisons). After cooking, food should be cooled quickly to prevent or reduce this. The list above is not exhaustive but shows some of the hazards likely to be present in any operation. In your catering operation, you may be able to identify other hazards not listed above. If you do so make sure you control these as well.

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