If you run a food business in the United Kingdom, maintaining a high standard of food hygiene should be a high priority to you. Without good food hygiene, you risk putting your customers in danger and ruining your business reputation. Both of these can lead to serious irreparable consequences.
With that in mind, it should go without saying that in order to run a successful food business, you need to avoid making simple food hygiene mistakes. Here’s a list of real-life food hygiene slip-ups that have caused the end of business for many professional kitchens across the country.
You’ll definitely want to avoid doing any of these…
Mistake #1: Letting uncovered food sit in pans off heat
If you’re preparing food in bulk to portion off to customers, you should never take it off heat and let it sit in the pan while you wait for the orders to come in. Maintaining a consistent temperature is highly important when it comes to avoiding harmful bacteria from forming in food, and letting a pan sit on the stovetop without heat for any period of time goes against good food hygiene practice.
Similarly, it’s best to keep food covered to prevent any unwanted guests from getting into the food and spreading harmful bacteria (think flies or germs from coughing and sneezing around food).
Mistake #2: Letting cockroaches and rodents into your kitchen
This one should be common sense, but we’ll add it to the list anyway because, yes, you guessed it, there are multiple food businesses that have been shut down due to the presence of pests.
If you notice signs of cockroaches or rodents (rats and mice) on your premises, whether by seeing the pests running around your kitchen or simply noticing any droppings, you should take immediate action to resolve the problem. Do not prepare, store, or serve food in any infested area. Call pest control or your local authority in the first instance and keep the kitchen closed until you have the all-clear that there isn’t a single pest left on your premises.
Mistake #3: Keeping rubbish bins close to food
You should have adequate waste disposal on your premises, including separate bins for food waste and recycling. However, if you don’t keep your waste disposal in a location that is separate from the food you’re storing and preparing, you are going against good food hygiene practice.
If food is exposed to dirt and bacteria from sources such as the rubbish bin, you risk causing food poisoning to your customers among other serious issues. Likewise, flies and other insects are attracted to waste, so you need to take measures to ensure that the rubbish bins on your premises are kept well away from food preparation and storage areas.
Mistake #4: Preparing and serving food in dirty clothes
You could have the cleanest hands in the world and your hair could be up in a hairnet, but if your clothes or apron are dirty, you are still posing a serious risk to public health. In the same way harmful bacteria can spread from rubbish bins, you could be bringing harmful outside bacteria into your kitchen with the unclean clothes you’re wearing.
Good personal hygiene goes hand-in-hand with good food hygiene. Be sure to arrive at work prepared to handle food safely and responsibly every day. This means wearing clean clothes and a clean apron to act as a barrier between you and the food you’re handling.
Mistake #5: Serving raw/uncooked meat
Eating raw or uncooked meat can lead to many serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses, with the sickness that comes along with food poisoning being only the tip of the iceberg.
You should be sure that all food you are serving is cooked properly, to the right temperature and for the correct length of time. This is especially the case for meat, which you’ll need to check before serving, because sometimes it’s possible for the middle of meat to be raw while the outside looks otherwise cooked.
Mistake #6: Failing to keep your kitchen clean and tidy
No matter how big or small your kitchen is, it is your professional responsibility to keep it clean. You should be cleaning your kitchen at least twice a day—once before you start using it, and again at the end of the day—but preferably much more often than this.
After preparing food, countertops need to be disinfected and wiped down to prevent cross-contamination. All of your equipment should be cleaned in the appropriate manner at the end of each day or after each use. Any rubbish needs to be disposed of in your outdoor bins and should not be left to rot in the kitchen for any extended period of time.
Depending on your individual kitchen, there are lots of possible areas that need to be kept clean and tidy. And don’t forget to clean the insides of your fridge and freezer every once in a while, too!
Mistake #7: Having a lack of hand-washing facilities (or not using the facilities you have!)
Alongside having a clean kitchen, you need to ensure that you and your staff are washing your hands regularly. This is also to prevent the spread of harmful germs and bacteria, which can easily gather on your hands without you realising.
This is why it’s important to ensure that you always have access to hand-washing facilities, and that these facilities are kept clean and tidy at all times. Antibacterial soap needs to be available along with hot water. In any instance where you might not have access to such facilities (for example, if the hot water gets shut off for the day), you will either need to find a suitable alternative or close the kitchen until all facilities are working again.
Mistake #8: Failing to evidence your food hygiene training
When an inspector comes visiting, you’ll need to show evidence that you’ve taken responsibility for food hygiene training. Fortunately, with our online food hygiene courses, it’s easy to get up to date with your knowledge right away. It takes just 1 to 2 hours to complete an online food hygiene course with us, so why not click here now to see our available training options and start learning today?
For more information or to speak to a member of our friendly customer support team, give us a call on 01327 552136 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today. You can alternatively use the live chat feature available on this website to chat to us during office hours.
The Food Hygiene Company offices are open from 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.