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Everything You Need to Know About Food Hygiene

Everything You Need to Know About Food Hygiene

Food hygiene is incredibly important whether you work in a commercial kitchen or you’re just at home. However, there is a lot that you need to be aware of, and it can be difficult to remember everything. So, in this article, we will cover everything you need to know about food hygiene so that you can make both home and commercial kitchens safer.

If you are someone who struggles to remember the rules of food hygiene, or you work in a commercial kitchen where you need to have the rules on display, we can help with that, too. How? We’ll let you know at the end of this article.

What Exactly is Food Hygiene?

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, food hygiene is a selection of guidelines and practices that we use to ensure that kitchen operations and environments are safe and clean. Within this term, we talk about things like food storage and labelling, handling various foods, and general hygiene in the kitchen. 

Due to how important food hygiene is, commercial kitchens, and even some home kitchens, set up reminders of these rules for people to follow. While this might seem like overkill in our own home, you might be surprised by how often food hygiene goes out the window when you aren’t thinking about it!

Why is Food Hygiene Important?

Food hygiene is incredibly important as it keeps you and others safe. When you don’t use the correct practices, you put yourself (and anyone who eats the food that comes out of your kitchen) at risk. 

Because of this, keeping food hygiene-related signs and posters in commercial kitchens and buffets are always important. They allow readers to educate themselves on how to handle food properly, and reminds them that standards should always be met. 

What is the Danger Zone for Food?

The danger zone refers to the temperatures between around 5°C to 60°C (40°F to 140°F). Within this temperature range, bacteria will thrive and rapidly multiply – which makes your food unsafe and causes food poisoning. 

Because of this, there are strict guidelines in place that tell people to never leave food unrefrigerated for more than two hours when left at this temperature. In as little as 20 minutes, the amount of bacteria on your food can double, which increases the risk of getting food poisoning. 

What Causes Food Poisoning?

Food poisoning can occur when you eat food that has somehow been contaminated. While it isn’t usually too serious, food poisoning can be very unpleasant, and can be more dangerous for some people. 

Bacteria are typically the cause of food poisoning, with the most common culprit being campylobacter. Other sources can include various other bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Because of this, we always need to ensure that we prepare food properly, and get our food from trusted sources.  

What Are the 4 Steps to Food Hygiene?

Everything You Need to Know About Food Hygiene

Although food hygiene can be complicated, we can simplify it into four steps. Within these steps, there are all kinds of key elements that you need to be aware of. 

Here are the four basic food safety principles:

  • Clean
  • Separate
  • Cook
  • Chill

You might find some variations of this, and some use the 5 C’s of food safety – cook, clean, cross-contaminate, chill, and check. Here, we will be focusing on cleaning, separating, cooking, and chilling. 

How to Prevent Food Poisoning

You can help to prevent food poisoning from occurring by following four simple steps – clean, separate, cook, and chill. We’ll quickly break down these four simple components below.

Cleaning

You should clean your surfaces and hands often, especially when you’re working in a kitchen. Since germs (bacteria, viruses, microbes, etc) are usually the cause of food poisoning, you need to minimise their spread around the kitchen. This is done by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap, washing all dishes, cutting boards, and utensils, and always rinsing fresh produce under running water. 

It’s always important to properly wash your hands after handling raw meat of any kind, as well as flour, eggs, and seafood. 

Separating

Separating helps to stop cross-contamination, and is another key step in preventing food poisoning and bad kitchen hygiene. Eggs, seafood, and all kinds of meat can easily spread germs onto other foods, and should always be kept separate. 

It’s easy for the juices of raw meats to come into contact with ready to eat foods, so ensure that you store them in airtight containers or wrap them up tight to prevent this. 

Similarly, you need to use separate cutting boards for raw meats, eggs, and seafood than you would for vegetables and other foods. Never use the same cutting board for raw meats and vegetables. 

NOTE: You do not need to rinse raw meat or poultry, as these foods are ready to cook. Rinsing them will only spread germs.

Cooking

All foods have a safe internal temperature that they need to reach in order to be safe for consumption. Use a food thermometer to get the temperature of your food when you are cooking it to ensure that it has become hot enough to kill off any bacteria lurking inside.

Here are some popular foods and the internal temperatures that they should reach when cooking:

  • Whole cuts of meat (such as ham, pork, veal, beef, etc) – 63°C
  • Poultry – 74°C
  • Finned fish – 63°C
  • Ground meat – 71°C
  • Casseroles/leftovers – 74°C

For a more comprehensive list of when your food’s internal temperatures should be when cooking, please refer to the Food Safety.

Chilling

Finally, you need to properly chill and refrigerate your food. Since bacteria can rapidly multiply when left in the “danger zone”, you need to ensure that you have your appliances set to the correct temperatures and that you handle food properly. 

Fridges should be kept around 4.5°C and freezers around -18°C. Perishable foods should be refrigerated within two hours at room temperatures, and within one hour when the room is above 30°C.

Ensure that you follow the proper packaging guidelines as supplied by the Food Standards Agency, and you should be fine.  

How We Can Help You With Food Hygiene

While we can’t be there to give you the green or red flag in the kitchen, we can help to remind you about food hygiene. Whether you’re in a commercial kitchen or at home, you should remember to take steps to protect yourself and others. 

At Lasting Impressions, we can offer you something that will, as our name suggests, leave a lasting impression. With our range of kitchen safety and hygiene signs, you can always have the reminders that you need to really make a difference. 

Some signs we offer include the following:

  • Hygiene notice
  • Personal hygiene rules
  • Oven safety
  • Food safety checklist
  • Wash hands guidelines
  • Prevent cross contamination
  • Very hot water

The Takeaway 

Kitchen safety and food hygiene is important in everyone’s life, even if they don’t realise it. Luckily for you, we can help pave the way for safer kitchens with our signs and posters, and help to remind and educate anyone who would benefit.

Find out more about us and the various signs we have to offer to help you. These include information signs, general safety signs, and workplace safety signs. We also cater to more specific signage such as fire safety, construction site signs, and even first aid posters

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For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and learn everything you need to know about food hygiene for a safer kitchen experience.