If you own a restaurant, then food safety is a crucial factor to keep your business up. Any mistake in food safety would cost you your reputation, cause illnesses to your customers, and make you face the nightmares of the health department inspection, which will cuts heavily into your restaurant’s bottom line.
There are the four C’s of food safety that you, as a restaurant manager, should know. These four C’s refer to Clean, Cook, Chill, and Cross-contamination-which you must avoid.
In this article, we will show you The 4 C’s rules to keep food safe in your restaurant, in order to run protected, healthy, and thriving business.
Why should you care about food safety?
You may remember what happened to “A’la Kaifak” restaurant at “Hawlly” city last year. Their “Falafel” poisoned 287 customers. As a result, the health department shut down their restaurant. Their carelessness to food safety cost them their business.
According to the Mayo Clinic, food poisoning, also called foodborne illness, is illness caused by eating contaminated food. Infectious organisms — including bacteria, viruses, and parasites — or their toxins are the most common causes of food poisoning. Contamination may happen at any point of processing or production.
Since food poisoning is serious and potentially life-threatening for your customers, you should never risk offering them any poisoned food. Fortunately, with caution and close attention to the following rules, you would be able to drastically decrease any chance of foodborne illness in your restaurant.
The first C: Clean:
Cleanliness is a basic component of food safety. It is also your solution to eliminate cross-contamination, the one C you should always avoid.
As we mentioned in another article, dealing with food involves special precautions, which your kitchen staff need to take. Make sure that any staff member who may deal with food should wash his hands with hot soapy water for not less than 20 seconds, using antibacterial soap.
Your kitchen staff should wash their hands after:
- Using the bathroom
- Dealing with raw fish, raw meat or raw poultry
- Touching trash or dirty dishes
- Taking a smoke break
- Using phone
- Eating on lunch or dinner break
- Sneezing, blowing their nose or coughing
Cleanness is not only about washing hands, but there are also other rules you should apply to your restaurant:
- Do not allow to put dirty dishes and food residue near recently cooked food.
- Make sure to keep all counters, prep areas, and everything in the walk-in clean and free of residue throughout the day.
- Ensure that dishes, knives, plates, silverware and cooking utensils are always clean and sanitized.
- Ovens, stoves, flat tops, grills, prep pans, and hoods must be cleaned nightly.
The second C: Cook:
Never cook something under its suggested preparation temperature, or else you would create serious problems. When cooking, your cooks and chefs should utilize a food thermometer to ensure all items meet the following cooking temperature:
- 160°F/71.11C°: Any Ground meats such as beef, turkey, or chicken
- 165°F/73.89C°: Poultry, stuffed foods, casseroles, and microwaved animal products
- 155°F/68.33C°: Sausage and hamburger
- 145°F/62.78C°: Eggs, fish, and beef
- 135°F/57.22C°: Vegetables that will be served hot, and packaged and ready-to-eat foods like soup or hot dogs.
The third C: Chill:
Ensure that perishable food or prepared food is not left out, at room temperature, for longer than two hours before putting any leftovers in the refrigerator. If you keep food out longer than that, you give the opportunity for harmful bacteria to grow, since harmful bacteria grow at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit – 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Never risk keeping meat, fish, poultry, salad or any other such item that has been lingering out longer than two hours. Alternatively, discard it immediately. Always remember that food safety takes preeminence over cutting in a few dollars on food costs.
The fourth C: Cross-Contamination:
To avoid contamination, you should store raw food separately from cooked food. Have separated shelves in the fridge for raw food and cooked food to eliminate any chance for bacteria from raw food to contaminate cooked food. In addition, make sure to put raw food close to the ground so that there will not be any dripping or leaking onto other ingredients.
Another way to avoid cross-contamination is to have different cutting boards and utensils for raw meat, ready-to-eat cold foods, and hot foods.
Give the priority for food safety in your restaurant to avoid any potential issues that may challenge you, providing your customers with healthy and happy meals and ensuring they would show up again!