Food Safety in the Restaurant
Did you know that the uniforms chefs wear are a part of food safety? Even the hats are used to keep stray hairs and other materials from getting into the food. These alone will not make someone sick, but germs on them can. In addition, there is an icky feeling associated to anything that ends up in food that shouldn't be there. Food safety is extremely important because food-borne illnesses make thousands of people in the United States sick each year, and some people even die from complications of a food-borne illness.
Did you know that a leading meat packing firm produces at least 2 tons of meat a day that is contaminated? What this means for you is that food must be cooked thoroughly. This ensures that you are less likely to become ill from the food you eat. Many bacteria and other microorganisms are killed when food is cooked appropriately.
The best way to ensure that the food you eat is safe is a collaboration with the meat packing industry and the restaurant business. If the suppliers are not safe, than your food may not be. In addition, the restaurants have to maintain quality checks and make sure that your food is cooked and handled properly. This means that the internal temperature of the food must reach the temperatures mandated, and they must avoid cross contamination.
So, what does this mean? Food safety has to be a core value within the restaurant industry. This means that everything a restaurant staff does has to be related to keeping the food their customers eat safe. Rules must be in place to keep staff from cross contaminating foods. They also have to do many other things to keep food safe.
- Restaurants have to have measures in place to properly wash and sanitize all surfaces that come into contact with raw meat. This includes cutting boards, knives, and flat surfaces. Sanitizing surfaces alone is not enough; they have to be washed.
- Chefs and other staff should stop and wash their hands, and change gloves, after handling raw meat. They also should not touch anything after handling raw meat before they wash their hands. All surfaces that come in contact with raw meat should be removed or washed before anything else contacts it.
- Restaurant staff should have the ability to check the temperature of the meat they cook. Beef needs to reach 160 degrees to be safe, and poultry must reach 165. If these temperatures are not reached, it will not kill off any bacteria inside of the meat.
- Another way that meat gets contaminated is from dirty hands. Employees must wash their hands before touching the meat or any other food surfaces. Without doing this, the food can become contaminated with fecal matter and other illness, causing germs.
Without food handling regulations, none of the food that we eat is safe. Restaurant staff and meat suppliers are the keys to making sure that the food ultimately served is safe and will not make anyone sick.