If you think food safety rules don’t apply to your workplace because your company or business doesn’t handle food, think again. Much research has been conducted into proper safety practices in the food services industry. A lot has been written for professionals in commercial and industrial kitchens to guide them through safe food preparation and handling practices. But what if you don’t work in food services? We’ve put together this handy guide to help you understand the risks of poor food safety and to know what you, your staff and colleagues can do to protect everyone in the workplace.
Does food safety apply to me?
Food safety regulations apply if you have a fridge, microwave or any kitchen facilities at work. The same goes if you’ve ever hosted a potluck or dinner at your workplace, ordered food for an event or a staff lunch – or even brought your lunch to work each day. The bottom line is that safe practices are crucial wherever food’s involved. Here are ten top tips for safe, hygienic food practices to exercise around the workplace.
Tip 1: Separate raw and cooked
If you have raw and cooked foods on-site, keep them apart to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. If any raw food spills or comes into contact with cooked food, clean the area and throw away your cooked food. It might seem like a waste, but it’s better to do this than to become unwell or make others sick.
Tip 2: Know the danger zone
You might not be aware that food comes with its danger zone. Bacteria can grow in temperatures between 5 and 60 degrees Celsius, and if they reach unsafe levels, you could be at risk of developing food poisoning. Therefore, you must keep hot food above this temperature and chill foods that are meant to be kept cold.
Tip 3: Stock your fridge wisely
If you have raw food around the workplace, like fruits, vegetables or meats, store them at the bottom of the fridge. The last thing you want is raw food thawing or dripping onto cooked food items or another staff member’s lunch.
Tip 4: Wash your produce
Always make sure you wash fresh fruits, vegetables and pre-packaged salad leaves. Even though these might say they have been cleaned before packaging, it’s far better to be safe. Washing your produce ensures that any dangerous bacteria or pesticides are removed before you eat.
Tip 5: Clean out your fridge
Work fridges can sometimes seem like a no man’s land, stocked with questionable products, ancient containers and generally not looking fresh. Spruce up your fridge from time to time, removing anything that’s outdated or looking a little worse for wear.
Tip 6: Keep things cool
Your fridge should be kept below 5 degrees to do its job correctly. Install a thermometer to ensure it’s at the right temperature.
Tip 7: Clean your microwave
Like fridges, the cleanliness of your work microwave can sometimes be overlooked. Make sure it’s clean and free of any food scraps or debris. You could place a sign in your kitchen space encouraging all staff to cover their food when using the microwave to prevent any splatters or mess.
Tip 8: Take care of leftovers
If you’ve had a staff lunch, you might be left with a pile of leftovers. Ensure all leftovers are packaged separately and refrigerated to prevent dangerous bacterial growth.
Tip 9: BBQ safely
Any barbeque or cook-out meals need to be handled with care. Ensure you cook any meat properly, so it’s safe to eat.
Tip 10: Clean up
Clean-up is as important as preparation. After you’ve made your lunch, heated a meal for lunch or barbecue, or served food to staff, make sure that you clean the area properly and disinfect all benches or preparation spaces.
Want to learn more about food safety in the workplace? Contact us today
Get in touch with the Australian Institute of Accreditation for accredited online food safety courses. We’re a nationally registered training organisation (RTO) and pride ourselves on our in-depth training options, accessible learning pathways, no hidden fees, and 100% satisfaction guarantee for all our students. Call the Australian Institute of Accreditation today on 1300 662 750, or send us a message using our online contact form.