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When it comes to food safety there can really be no shortcuts. The damage that can be caused by a slip-up and an outbreak of listeria, botulism or salmonella is far too unpleasant to contemplate. If it can be linked back to your restaurant, takeaway or food production facility then the reputational damage could be fatal. However, that will be nothing compared to the possible legal action that you could face.
Despite these difficult thoughts, there are ways to avoid any of this unpleasantness with the adoption of simple basic food hygiene and food safety practices.
There are many Government and local authority guidelines that you need to follow. We shall have a look at some of the things you will need to adhere to when you are running an establishment producing and selling food products.
- Staff. Staff need to be adequately trained and fully aware of all the food safety practices that are involved. For example, the use of clothing to protect the products from hair shedding or accidental sneezing by the colleagues on the food prep, packaging and presentation section are paramount. This involves the wearing of gloves and hats or hair nets. Increasingly the use of face masks is also required as part of the uniform.
- Cleaning. The Environmental Agency insists that areas of the business are kept clean and sanitised. Again, this falls to the Staff to ensure that they are thoroughly cleaning the surfaces where the food is prepared. This is also true of the utensils that they are using. It is important that a schedule of cleaning is drawn up to make sure that all areas of the food preparation area and the utensils are cleaned on a regular basis and this is recorded.
- BRC Audit. These can be conducted by companies like https://mqmconsulting.co.uk/services/brc-audit-global-standards-consultancy/ and look at all the key areas of your food production and preparation. They take into account the training that you have asked your staff to undertake as well as processes and procedures that you have in place to ensure that cross-contamination does not occur, procedures for identifying allergens and your cleaning procedures.
- Cross-contamination. This can be a big issue for food businesses and not only looks at ways in which you can minimise the possibility of high-risk products such as raw meat coming into contact with vegetables, but it also looks at the top allergen ingredient such as nuts and ways in which you mitigate them coming into contact with other foods that do not contain them as an ingredient and so may be labelled as safe to eat for those with nut allergies
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