There are many basic catering food safety rules that most people would think of as common sense. Then there are some that not everyone would thinking of. When catering for any group or event, food safety precautions must always be taken by all staff to protect everyone’s health.
The Food Standards Industry has warned that the biggest cause of contamination is food being handled improperly. To make sure everyone knows how to handle food, each member of any catering staff should complete a Food Handler Certification. This will help ensure that all staff are trained to know what temperatures are safe for foods, how to safely transport foods, and how to safely prepare foods.
Preventing Cross Contamination
Cross contamination is a significant concern that caterers must be prepared to prevent. Separation of foods prevents food material from spreading from one food to another or from a surface or piece of equipment to another. This type of cross contamination can occur when raw poultry and meats are not separated from fresh produce. Caterers must always take special care to ensure that this is prevented.
Different chopping boards should be used for each food as it is being prepared. All utensils, bowls, and equipment should be washed in hot soapy water immediately after use. All counter tops should be cleaned, and caterers must wash their hands thoroughly after handling food. Gloves should be changed after you have prepared one food before touching another food.
Make sure your knives are sharp. You will have better control of your knife if it is sharp and it is safer to use a sharp knife. No wood cutting boards should be used in preparing foods. Keep the food that you are thawing away from the foods that are raw.
Safely Preparing Food
When preparing foods ahead of time, you need to know what temperature foods must be stored at and what containers to use for each type of food. You can not prepare foods to far ahead of time. They will most likely spoil if you do. Once foods spoils, they must be thrown away.
Temperature for Foods
Learning the proper temperature for foods is a very important safety feature. Foods should always be cooked to the right temperature. Hot foods should always be held at above 145 F and cold foods held at below 40 F during transportation. Foods should be checked once they arrive at the party, to make sure they stayed at safe temperatures.
Safely Serving Food
Customer safety always comes first. Cold foods should not sit out on a table more than 2 hours at room temperature. Caterers usually use smaller bowls so they can be refilled with fresh foods. That way no cold foods are in danger of spoiling. Hot foods are usually kept on warmers to maintain a safe temperature.
Storage of Foods
Internal and external thermometers should be used so you can tell what the temperature of your refrigerator is inside without opening the door. Use proper containers for all your foods. Do not over stuff your refrigerator. Air needs to circulate around the foods to keep them cool. Always use airtight containers for foods and keep poultry and meat on the bottom shelf. You do not want those foods dripping onto other foods as this would risk cross contamination.