Food safety is one of the most important aspects of any food service business. If your food isn’t safe, then you can bet that customers won’t be coming back. That’s why it’s so important to have a food safety checklist in place.
This article will discuss the significance of food safety and how to create and implement a food safety checklist for your business. Follow this guide, and you’ll be getting top marks for food hygiene!
What is a Food Safety Checklist?
A food safety checklist is a document that outlines all of the necessary steps that need to be taken to ensure food safety. This can include anything from proper food storage and handling to cooking and serving temperatures.
Having a food safety checklist in place is important for any food service business, as it helps to ensure that all of the necessary steps are being taken to keep food safe.
Why is Food Safety Important?
Food safety is important for several reasons:
- First and foremost, it’s important to ensure that the food you’re serving is safe to eat. This means that it hasn’t been contaminated in any way and won’t make people sick.
- Secondly, food safety is important for reputation. If your business is known for serving safe, high-quality food, then customers will be more likely to choose you over your competition.
- Finally, food safety is also required by law in many jurisdictions. If you’re not following proper food safety protocol, you could be subject to fines or even closure.
The Importance of Food Safety Checklist
Food safety is crucial to any foodservice business, which indicates that using a food safety checklist is also of similar importance. It’s a simple yet powerful tool that helps ensure that food quality standards are met and that customers can enjoy safe, delicious food.
A food safety checklist will also help identify food safety threats so that the food safety and quality personnel can execute the appropriate actions to mitigate them. Scheduling regular food safety inspections is essential in promoting and improving the safety culture of your food service business.
Health and safety risks associated with poor food safety are the results of the following factors:
Improper Food Handling and Preparation
Improper food handling and preparation usually happens due to the following reasons:
- Purchasing stale and low-quality food
- Storing food inappropriately
- Preparing or cooking a large amount of food despite insufficient preparation.
- Storing cooked and uncooked food together.
- Cooking food using the wrong methods.
Food Handlers Have Poor Personal Hygiene
This factor involves the following:
- Not restricting food handlers who have illnesses.
- Not restricting food handlers who didn’t undergo any medical checks.
- Food handlers are not adhering to wearing the proper clothing during food preparation.
- Not reacting to food handlers not following proper personal hygiene practices.
Unsanitized Kitchen, Equipment, and Facilities
This factor is all about using unsanitized equipment such as:
- Dirty, uncleaned chopping boards
- Rusty, dull knives
- Unwashed and unsanitized containers
- Failing to clean food preparation areas
A food safety checklist can help avoid these food safety risks by guiding proper food handling, preparation, and storage procedures. It’s a valuable tool that can help ensure the safety of your customers and your business.
5 Key Elements of Food Safety
Turn food safety from an obligation into a culture by following the five key elements outlined below. You can then turn this information into an actual food safety manual where you can list all the procedures and protocols needed to be followed in your food service business. With that said, here are five key essentials to safer food:
#1 Keep Everything Clean
Cleanliness in the food preparation process is critical to incorporating proper food safety standards within your food service business. Harmful microorganisms are usually found in animals, water, soil, and even people. Exposure to these microorganisms through workers’ hands, chopping boards, utensils, hands, and other preparation equipment will result in a higher tendency of acquiring foodborne diseases and illnesses.
The core information for cleanliness during food preparation includes:
- Wash your hands all the time, whether before food handling, during food preparation, or after going to the toilet.
- Wash and disinfect all equipment, tools, and surfaces before, during, and after use.
- Ensure that the kitchen area and food are free from insects, pests, and other animals.
#2 Separate Raw and Cooked
Dangerous microorganisms are also found in raw meat (seafood, poultry, and extracts). Therefore, it’s important to separate uncooked food from raw ones to prevent the latter from acquiring bacteria that could lead to foodborne diseases.
- The core information for maintaining separation of raw and cooked food includes:
- Separate raw meats from other foods.
- Use separate equipment, utensils, and containers for handling raw and cooked food.
- Store food in clean, sanitized containers to prevent potential contact between raw and cooked.
#3 Cook Everything Thoroughly
You can eliminate all dangerous microorganisms when you cook food properly. According to food research and studies, Food is considered safe for consumption if cooked at 70°C (158°F).
Food variants like rolled joints with minced meats, large joints of meat, and whole poultry require special cooking methods and handling.
Important information regarding thoroughly cooking food includes the following:
- Cook food thoroughly.
- Bring stews and soups up to boiling point to make sure they have reached at least 70°C.
- Make sure the extracts and juices are clear from blood and other fluids for meat and poultry.
- Cook food regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms that could cause food poisoning.
- Use a thermometer to determine the internal temperature of the food.
#4 Keep Food at Safe Temperatures
Speaking of using thermometers, keeping food at safe and secure temperatures is also important. According to studies, ideal food storage temperatures are either below 5°C (41°F) or above 60°C (140°F) to slow down or prevent dangerous microorganisms from growing and spreading.
- Here is some essential information to help keep food at safe temperatures:
- Refrigerate all cooked and perishable foods (preferably below 5°C).
- Keep cooked food warm (more than 60°C) before serving.
- Avoid storing food too long (inside the refrigerator at room temperature).
- Don’t thaw frozen food at room temperature.
#5 Use Raw Materials and Clean Water
Even ice and water are subject to dangerous microorganisms and chemicals contamination. Therefore, wash raw materials and store them in a safe and clean container before use.
Some essential information about using water and raw materials include:
- Use safe and clean water. If you’re using a tap, make sure to treat it to make it safe.
- Only choose fresh, wholesome foods.
- Choose foods processed for safety (e.g., pasteurized milk, commercially frozen food).
- Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before preparing or serving them to customers.
- Cook shellfish (e.g., oysters, clams, mussels) thoroughly before eating.
- Avoid using foods that are above and beyond their expiry date.
Create Your Food Safety Checklist Using DataMyte Digital Clipboard
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is the ideal software for creating your food safety checklist. It helps you manage and monitor your food safety compliance with ease so you can focus more on running your business.
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard:
- Is an easy-to-use digital checklist that helps you keep track of your food safety compliance.
- Helps you identify potential areas of improvement in your food safety practices.
- Helps you create a food safety checklist tailored to your specific needs.
- Is a cost-effective way to improve your food safety compliance.
Visit our website now to learn more about the DataMyte Digital Clipboard. We would be happy to discuss how our software can help you improve your food safety compliance.
Creating a food safety checklist is the first step in ensuring your food business complies with all the necessary regulations. Use this guide to create a food safety checklist tailored to your specific needs. And, if you’re looking for an easy-to-use tool to help manage and monitor your food safety compliance, look no further than the DataMyte Digital Clipboard.