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Safe Food Handling Could Save Your Business

Jul 12, 2008
Whatever restaurant in Melbourne you happen to be the 4 Mile Restaurant & Pub, Chez Michael, or the Heron Rock Bistro, food safety is important. Even if you have the most successful restaurant in all of Melbourne, all it takes is one food handling mistake to seriously damage your business.

The restaurant business is all about repeat customers and public perception of your establishment. Your reputation is everything. If you have even one lawsuit concerning food handling or food preparation mistakes in your kitchen, it can spell disaster- not just for legal defense fees, either. Your reputation could be seriously harmed, even ruined.

You have to take some basic steps to ensure food safety as well as making sure that all of your kitchen staff are well aware of the risks of food poisoning and other food borne illnesses. Additionally, you must be prepared for surprise health inspections, these can happen at any time. An employee who witnesses improper food handling can also be disastrous for your restaurant, since they may decide to tell others - especially should they lose their job.

And there is more to this than simply properly storing food and disposing of waste.

You must keep all food preparation areas clean at all times. This sounds easy but is often neglected as well. Different cutting boards have to be used for cutting meat, vegetables and seafood. Some restaurants use stainless steel counters for this as they are very easy to clean. This tends to dull knives and can also give an off flavor to meats - harmless, but hardly desirable. Better than this are plastic cutting boards which are very sanitary compared to wooden cutting boards and are easy to clean as well. After each use, cutting boards must be washed very thoroughly. Bleach may be used - but be sure to rinse very well afterwards if you are using bleach to clean your cutting boards.

Utensils also must be washed after each dish they are used to prepare.

To ensure that all harmful bacteria have been killed, meats have to be cooked to a minimum internal temperature - 69 degrees for pork and red meats, 74 degrees for seafood. Even if a customer orders a rare steak, it must be cooked to 69 degrees for at least 15 seconds to reduce the risk of food poisoning. If you have any meats which are not definitely fresh, then you must make sure to prepare them very well done.

Preparing raw foods such as sushi requires extreme care. Serving these foods really means that you have to just have a top-notch clean kitchen and preparation staff, period, in addition to making doubly sure your sushi supplier is very sanitary. Disposable gloves and hair coverings or tie-backs must always be worn by people handling sushi and the preparation area should be kept so clean that, as the saying goes, one could eat off the floor. Any sushi that is not at its freshest needs to be thrown out.

It boggles the mind how many kitchen workers do not wash their hands in between preparing meals, even after handling raw meats. Between meal preparation hand washing is a must and washing one's hands in between preparing different foods (switching from meat to vegetables, for instance) is, to say the least, a good idea.

By implementing a strictly sanitized food preparation system, you can be assured that your customers will be safe, your business will be safe from legal suits and bad publicity, and if there is a legal suit you will win because you'll have done the right things.
About the Author
Author: Malcolm J. Richmond will show you how to avoid food safety risks to your restaurant business. Visit the "Food Safety" website for more great information on protecting your business by employing health and safety standards.
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