Posted on: 27 April 2021

Reducing the risk of foodborne illness

Many businesses in the restaurant industry have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which will hopefully be a thing of the past one day. However, something that will continue to be a risk for businesses who work with food is the risk of the spread of foodborne illnesses.

Take a look at some tips on preventing the spread of foodborne illnesses in your business.

Food safety steps

The best way to prevent illnesses from food poisoning is to make sure that you are handling, cooking and storing food in a way that prevents harmful bacteria from growing. Here are some of the ways you can do this:

  • Clean hands and work surfaces regularly.
  • Keep different food types separate so that you avoid cross-contamination.
  • Cook food at the right temperature.
  • Refrigerate and store leftover food as quickly and as safely as possible.
  • Wash any chopping boards or cooking utensils thoroughly with soap and hot water if they have been in contact with raw meat.

Safely handling food

Safe food handling is a key part of keeping food safe to eat and reducing the risk of spreading foodborne illnesses. Take a look at some of these methods for handling food safely.

Storing perishable foods

Any perishable food, such as meat or vegetables, should be kept in a fridge or freezer. Refrigerators should be set at 4°C, whilst freezers should be at -17°C or less. Make sure you are using an accurate thermometer designed to accurately measure these temperatures.

Food should be thawed either in the refrigerator or by running it under cold water. Food should not be left at room temperature to defrost.

Perishable foods should not be left out for more than two hours. If the temperature is above 32°C, food should not be left out for more than an hour.

If you have pre-cooked food that won’t be eaten for at least two hours, keep it in the oven at 60 degrees and cover it with foil.

Poultry and other meats should not be kept in a refrigerator for more than two days. Seafood should also be kept in the refrigerator until it is ready to be cooked.

Storing non-perishables

If the packaging of any food items, such as cans or packets, is damaged or out of date, do not use them and discard them immediately. Any food that shows signs of mould should also be thrown away immediately.

Condiments such as ketchup or mayo can be stored in cupboards, but once opened should be kept in a refrigerator.

You should also never store any food items near cleaning products or chemicals.

Foodborne illness symptoms

Food poisoning can have mild or severe symptoms, but identifying them early can help prevent further cases. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Upset stomach
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever

If any customers present these symptoms, make a note of what they have eaten, and investigate the cause of the illness in your kitchen. You should take immediate action and follow the necessary protocols if you identify a source of a foodborne illness at your business

Hospitality insurance with Premierline

The food and hospitality industry is one of the biggest in the UK, and as such, has a huge amount of variety in the businesses that operate in the sector. This variety means that no two businesses are the same, and will each have unique insurance needs.

At Premierline, we understand this need for a bespoke insurance policy, our insurance advisors will assess your business and source business insurance quotes from some of the UK’s most well-known insurance providers to find you a cover that is right for your business. 

Source: Zywave Inc. – Restaurant Playing It Safe: Prevent Foodborne Illnesses

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