Articles about food safety for those who work in the food services industry are a dime a dozen. After all, it is a food service professional’s job to ensure that food is handled, prepared, and stored in a manner that will maximize the safety of both workers and consumers. The literature regarding food safety that was written for professionals in food services is typically written with the industrial kitchen in mind. This article deals with food safety in workplaces that do not fall under the restaurant or food services umbrella.
What is meant by Food Safety in the Workplace?
Do you think that food safety rules don’t apply at your workplace, because your company doesn’t handle food? Think again!
If your workplace has a fridge, a microwave, or a kitchenette of any type, food safety rules apply to you. If your work has ever held a potluck, food safety rules apply to you. If your workplace has ever ordered in food, food safety rules apply to you. If you bring a lunch to work, food safety rules apply to you. Essentially, food safety rules ought to be followed anywhere that there is food! Below are 10 general food safety rules that apply to all workplaces.
Rule #1: Keep raw food separate from cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination. If raw food is spilled, or comes in contact with cooked food, clean it up and discard cooked food.
Rule #2: Know the Danger Zone! Bacteria can grow in temperatures between 40F and 140F, so keep hot food hot (above 140F) and cold food cold (below 40FC)!
Rule #3: Place raw food on the bottom of fridge. Avoid having raw food thaw and drip on other refrigerated items by placing raw food on the lowest shelf.
Rule #4: Wash fresh fruits, vegetables, and bagged salads and spinach. Washing produce ensures that harmful pesticides or raw food bacteria are removed before consumption.
Rule #5: Clean your work fridge out from time to time. Removed outdated products, questionable looking items, and any Tupperware that looks like it contains a science experiment.
Rule #6: Keep the work refrigerator cool (below 40F). Install a thermometer in the fridge to be sure.
Rule #7: If you work has a microwave, be sure to keep it clean and free of debris. Have all employees cover their food when microwaving to prevent food from splattering.
Rule #8: To avoid harmful bacteria growth after a pot-luck lunch, ensure that all left overs get packaged up separately, and refrigerated right away.
Rule #9: If your work has a barbecue and hosts cook-outs for staff, ensure that meat is grilled to the appropriate internal temperatures. Have a meat thermometer on hand.
Rule #10: After preparing your lunch, heating a dish for a pot-luck or a barbecue, or dishing out some ordered food, ensure that proper clean up and disinfecting of all prep areas is completed.