Despite the large number of food hygiene regulations which exist to protect diners from the illnesses caused by poorly stored, handled or cooked food, worrying outbreaks of food poisoning still occur on a regular basis. Bacteria such as salmonella, campylobacter, listeria and shigella can all cause poisoning. An unpleasant indisposition for some people, in others, particularly those from vulnerable groups, the effects can be extremely serious, and even fatal in some cases. Here we take a look at a recent outbreak of salmonella, along with consideration of how best to reduce the risk that this could happen in your commercial kitchen.
Melbourne restaurant at the heart of the salmonella outbreak
Reported in early May, it appears that a significant outbreak of salmonella affected around 30 people in the Melbourne area. The source of the outbreak appears to have been the Lincoln Bakery Cafe, in Carlton. However, food hygiene officials are carrying out a full investigation to confirm the source of the outbreak.
The cafe was closed as soon as the outbreak was reported. Luckily, it appears that all sufferers have made a full recovery, but to prevent another outbreak, it’s vital to find out how the infection came to be passed on. This is one example of where a break down in food hygiene could have had severe consequences.
The consequences of a food poisoning outbreak for your business
If your catering business suffers from an outbreak of food poisoning, it’s not just the people who catch the infection that are adversely affected. Food hygiene officials will obviously investigate, with the consequences ranging from prosecution through to having your premises shut down on a permanent basis. Not only does this mean a temporary loss of livelihood, but it can also mean the end of a commercial enterprise. Once word gets around that a cafe or restaurant has had an outbreak of food poisoning, it’s unlikely that it will be successful in attracting customers, even when re-opened. For all these reasons, hygienic premises are vital. This means that appropriate food hygiene certification is an essential requirement for all staff.
Why offer food handling certificates to all employees?
First and foremost, protecting your livelihood is vital. Staff who have a good understanding of food hygiene are going to take the precautions necessary to ensure the safe preparation, storing and handling of your ingredients. This means that your customers will benefit from fresh, wholesome meals that have been made in line with all relevant health and safety requirements. Not only does this protect them, it all means that the food you serve will benefit from optimal freshness and presentation.
Food hygiene regulations and best practice alters over time
Like any other body of knowledge, the information around food hygiene is always growing. From time to time this means that practices which were previously considered acceptable are updated, in line with best practice and new science. Regularly updating food hygiene knowledge is the best way to ensure that your business remains ahead of the game when it comes to keeping the operation safe.
Food hygiene saves you money
Needing to throw away food which has perished due to incorrect storage is a costly business! Particularly in the catering business, where margins can be narrow, discovering that meat has gone off, dry goods have been invaded by rodents or milk has been left to sour all have an impact on your bottom line. If staff know how to store your ingredients correctly, the risk of unnecessary wastage is minimised.
Investing in training staff boosts loyalty and builds capacity
Training enables your staff to put more into your business and run it to a higher standard. Not only does the acquisition of a food handling certificate benefit your business, but it also helps to upskill your employees. Many employees love the fact that they have acquired a marketable skill, helping to promote loyalty and hopefully reduce the risk that they will desert to work elsewhere!
Confidence in your staff to keep your operation hygienic
Knowing that your staff are competent in keeping your business up to scratch when it comes to food hygiene frees you up to concentrate on other aspects of the business. Business owners with properly trained staff can be confident that their business is running smoothly and delivering the safe, high-quality food that their customers deserve.
Food handling certificates equip your staff with the skills needed to avoid a deadly salmonella outbreak! Why risk it?
We offer the fully accredited Food Handling Certificate (Level 1) as required (per course enrolment) or for busier businesses we offer a subscription-based solution where you can enrol all your staff for just $39.95 per month.