Food Safety at Work - What you need to know

Food safety at work is an important part of hospitality. When dealing with food it is important to remain in control of your station as any mishaps can lead to severe consequences for those who suffer from an allergy. Beyond that making sure the kitchen is run efficiently and smoothly is imperative to providing great customer service and experiences. When a team can work together quickly and safely it makes life easier. So what are some of the things you need to be aware of when considering food safety? 

What are the allergens I need to know about?

There are many different allergens, and the confusing thing is that people can be severely allergic, or only sensitive to them. This can make the food industry a difficult place to navigate, however understanding what the main 14 allergens are and how to keep them separate is always best practice. The main 14 allergens are, Celery, Cereals containing gluten, Crustaceans, Eggs, Fish, Lupin, Milk, Molluscs, Mustard, Nuts, Peanuts, 

Sesame seeds, Soya, Sulphur dioxide. You can read more about the 14 allergens in our recent blog here.

What is cross contamination?

Cross contamination isn’t only related to separating allergens. While it is important to keep all major allergens separate in case a customer is allergic. Cross contamination happens when foods that shouldn’t be in contact with each other come into contact. Raw meats and fish should always be separated from cooked foods as well as other fresh produce. 

What do the different colour chopping boards represent

We’ve all seen the rainbow of chopping boards. While they look great sitting on any kitchen counter, those colours have meaning. It is important in a professional kitchen you adhere to the meaning of each colour chopping board. This helps prevent cross contamination.

  • Red chopping boards are specifically for raw meats.

  • Blue chopping boards are for raw fish.

  • Yellow chopping boards are for cooked meats.

  • Green chopping boards are for salads, fruit, and fresh vegetables.

  • Brown chopping boards are for root vegetables. 

  • White chopping boards are for baked goods and dairy products.

  • Purple chopping boards are specifically used with ‘free-from’ ingredients such as gluten-free produce.

While it is easy to grab any chopping board while working in a busy kitchen, please consider the effects that action can have. This won’t be an issue for those with allergies as everyone can be struck with cross contamination from raw meats. Taking the time to pick up the right board for the food you are preparing could make all the difference to someone's health. 

Do I need to wear gloves and hair nets?

While it is not stated in the law that all who work in a kitchen should wear a hair net it is considered best practice. Wearing suitable hair coverings protects from any fall out landing in food. This is extremely important when handling unwrapped foods.

This same rule applies to gloves, while it is not in law sometimes it is best to wear protective gloves. Gloves should not be used as a replacement for handwashing and it is still imperative that all kitchen and serving staff maintain good hygiene practices. Ensuring chefs wash their hands between each item they are preparing will prevent any cross contamination and any harmful bacteria to be passed on.

What else should I know about food safety? 

Maintaining high standards of personal hygiene as well as cleanliness will ultimately be the best way to ensure a safe kitchen and working environment. Wearing protective clothing and aprons over your clothes will help prevent the spread of bacteria, as well as ensure you follow all rules in regards to food prep. If you are ever unsure about food hygiene always speak to your manager or supervisor as they should be up to date on best practices.

Ultimately, food safety at work needs to be taken seriously. There are many things that can occur while handling food, especially in a busy kitchen environment. Allowing yourself the time to understand best practices as well as how to implement them will make the difference. 

Here at Allergen Checker, we see the dangers that poor food handling can lead to, that’s why with our system you can keep on top of your menus and allergens. Contact us now for more information.

The information provided in this blog is purely informational. Please speak to your GP for further information on any concerns you have regarding allergies. Sources for information are: