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Hygiene Food Safety
Newsletter October 2020

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Many traditional Halloween activities can be high-risk for spreading viruses. There are several safer, alternative ways to participate in Halloween. If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.

This month we discuss some good tips around food safety, eggs and those in the catering industry. Also look out for a special offer below. 

3 Easy Ways To Prevent Food Poisoning In The Kitchen

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Preventing food poisoning in the kitchen is the ultimate goal of hygiene and food safety standards. No one wants to cause food poisoning, and no one wants to get food poisoning. So there is a reasonable expectation that food prepared and sold from the kitchen should be done in a manner that prevents food poisoning from happening.

This requires a good understanding of the risks in the kitchen when it comes to handling foods. This also means understanding how bacteria grow and survive and what the risky practices are when preparing, cooking and displaying foods.

Here are 3 quick tips for preventing food poisoning in the kitchen:

 

 1. Cross-contamination

There are 2 main ways that germs and bacteria are introduced into the kitchen.

  • Dirty hands
  • Raw meats & vegetables

Hand washing and good personal hygiene are said to be the number one way to prevent food poisoning. This means washing your hands after:

  • handling raw foods
  • using the toilet
  • entering and leaving the kitchen

Separating raw and ready-to-eat foods helps prevent cross-contamination where bacteria can get into foods that shouldn’t have them. This means good storage in the fridges and freezers. Following a colour-coding system also helps prevent contamination during the preparation of foods.

2. Temperature control

Raw meats and vegetables by design, naturally have a high bacterial load (high amount of bacteria). Which is why we need to cook meats before we can eat them. Download a temperature chart here.

  • Cooking foods to an internal temperature of 75º C (167º F) is the safest temperature that confidently kills bacteria. 
  • Keeping food outside of the critical danger zone 20 – 45º C (68 – 113º F) eliminates the number of bacteria that grow.
    • This relates to the cooling of foods, defrosting of foods and the display of foods on a buffet or servery.
    • Refrigerating foods minimises the number of bacteria that grow.

Check out our tips on why sandwiches are risker than you think!

3. Cleaning

A clean and sanitised kitchen ensures that bacteria doesn’t spread in the kitchen. Using suitable cleaning and sanitising products is necessary to eliminate bacteria. This means cleaning crockery, cutlery, cutting boards, equipment and tables on a regular basis. Items that come into contact with food directly need clean-as-you-gowhere all other items need daily or weekly cleaning. Rinsing and washing fruits and vegetables is also a key element in the food safety process.

Following these 3 principles are the basic elements of any food safety system. There are many other requirements that help eliminate the risk of food poisoning, but none more so that these 3 tips.

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Eggs And Salmonella: How Safe Are Our Eggs?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Chicken eggs are probably the least well-treated protein in the kitchen and food industry as a whole. It is the only protein that is commonly left out at an ambient temperature in the retail stores.

Salmonella is synonymous with chicken, eggs and Salmonella is one of the most common food poisoning bacteria throughout the world. So why are our eggs handled in this way?

Salmonella enteritidis

S.enteritidis is the disease-causing species that causes salmonellosis. S.enteritidis is a gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria.

S.enteritidis species are like E.coli and can be considered the big brother of Salmonella. They are similar because they cause infection in the same ways. Especially via the faecal-oral route. Salmonella is also thought to be one of the major causes of traveller’s diarrhoea.

E.coli is tougher than Salmonella because they can survive harsher conditions. Such as higher temperatures, lower moisture and higher salt contents.

Food microbiologists say that if there is E.coli present you are likely to have Salmonella as well. But this does not mean that we shouldn’t be concerned about Salmonella. In fact, this bacteria is most infamous for contamination of eggs rather than red meats and in the gut.

Chocolate has also had cases of contaminated with S.enteritidis. In general, we expect E.coli to be present in red meats, and Salmonella in chicken. Yet, E.coli is also present in chicken as well as fruits and vegetables. So focusing on eradicating E.coli will usually address Salmonella as well.

Salmonellosis is likely one of the most common forms of food poisoning throughout the world.

Eggs need to be pasteurised

Eggs are pasteurised in order to reduce the risk of causing food poisoning, especially Salmonella Enteritidis bacteria and Avian Influenza virus that may be present on or inside the eggs. Because eggs have a protective shell, once pasteurised, eggs are then considered free from pathogenic bacteria.

Eggs are laid in an environment where hens’ excretion and airborne bacteria may be present. This means that bacteria can be present on the eggshells. Bacteria from the environment can enter the pores on the eggshell if the natural protective layer if breached.

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Tips for Improving Quality and Hygiene for Catering Services

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Over the last few years, there has been a trend of chefs moving away from larger catering services to small one or two-man operations. Going it alone for a chef does present its own challenges as any entrepreneur will tell you. There isn’t any easy way to go about it.

What we’ve found over the years, is that these ‘start-ups’ often tend to forget that in order to get good contracts there are some quality standards, including hygiene and food safety requirements that need to be met before any client worth their salt will take you on. Hygiene for catering services is an essential part of cooking food. 

Common mistakes small caterers make when starting out.

Firstly, you can’t just cook in your garage. There are some basic legal requirements in terms of the physical structure of a room that must be set up before you a caterer should get started.

Kitchen design

First, the physical structure needs to be of a suitable condition. This means smooth and easily cleanable floors, walls and ceilings. Doors, windows and ceilings that are weatherproof and prevent dust and pest entry. Check out this kitchen design resource.

Gaps in the walls, doors and ceilings need to seal. This will help you with maintaining a clean environment for cooking.

Read More

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