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Food hygiene: The rules to respect in the restaurant

The Regulatory Obligations of the Restaurateur 20 June

Do you handle food in your work? Food hygiene is crucial to ensure the safety of the food we eat. In this article, we will discuss the fundamental principles of food hygiene and how to apply them effectively.

What is Food Hygiene?

Food hygiene is not just about washing hands or cleaning surfaces; it is a complex system of practices and standards to ensure that the food we eat is safe and healthy at every stage of its journey, from production to consumption. This includes the implementation of strict hygiene control measures, consistent with regulations established by bodies such as the DDPP (Departmental Directorate of Population Protection), which oversee and govern these practices.

Strict control means that every aspect of food handling is assessed to prevent any risk of contamination by pathogens such as bacteria, viruses or toxins. These measures are designed to minimize the risk of foodborne illness, which can have serious consequences for public health.

The Basic Rules

1. Hand Washing

  • Hands are often a vector of germs. Regular handwashing is crucial to prevent food contamination.
  • Use warm water and soap, rub for at least 20 seconds, making sure to clean between fingers and under nails.

2. Surface Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Work surfaces may harbour bacteria. Regular cleaning and disinfection is essential.
  • Use disinfectants suitable for food surfaces and follow manufacturer’s instructions for maximum effectiveness.

3. Food Preservation

  • Poor storage can lead to bacterial growth.
  • Store perishable food at the correct temperature (refrigerator at 4°C or below, freezer at -18°C or below) and adhere to best before dates.

4. Separation of Raw and Cooked Foods

  • Avoid cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods.
  • Use separate cutting boards for raw meats and ready-to-eat foods.

5. Proper Cooking

  • Cooking destroys harmful bacteria.
  • Cook food at sufficient temperatures (for example, 75°C for poultry) and use a food thermometer to check.

6. Water Quality Control

  • Water used for cooking and cleaning must be clean.
  • Make sure the water comes from a reliable and safe source. If in doubt, boil the water before use.

The Benefits of Food Hygiene

Adopt strict food hygiene practices as described in Good Food Hygiene Guide (GBPH) and food hygiene regulations, offers several advantages:

  • Reduction of Food Diseases: Less risk of food poisoning and illness from contaminated food.
  • Consumer Confidence: Rigorous hygiene practices reinforce customer confidence in your products and services.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Compliance with current standards and regulations, thus avoiding sanctions and closures of establishments.

Premises, Equipment and Materials: Ensuring Optimal Food Hygiene

Food hygiene is not limited to food handling, it also includes the premises, equipment and equipment used. Premises should be designed and maintained to prevent contamination, with easy-to-clean surfaces and separate areas for the different stages of food preparation. Equipment and equipment must be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure that it is in good working order and free of contamination. The use of suitable equipment, such as calibrated food thermometers and separate cutting boards for raw and cooked foods, is essential for avoid cross-contamination.

In addition, compliance with food hygiene regulations and HACCP guidelines ensures that cleaning and disinfection practices are effective, reducing the risk of foodborne illness. Regular training of staff on the hygiene of premises and equipment, possibly via free or online food hygiene training, is essential to maintain high standards and protect the health of consumers.

Food Hygiene Training: Ensuring Standards

food hygiene training is essential to ensure that staff handle food safely and in accordance with regulations. Becoming a food hygiene trainer or auditor requires a thorough knowledge of HACCP principles and good hygiene practices.

Many food hygiene training options are available, including food hygiene courses, HACCP training, and free online food hygiene training. In 2022, more than 40% of food hygiene training was completed online, facilitating access to a greater number of professionals. These courses cover topics such as quality control, cross-contamination prevention, and cleaning and disinfection procedures.

Food hygiene training organizations offer comprehensive programs for food industry professionals, helping them meet the strict standards imposed by food hygiene regulations and ensuring consumer safety. Through these trainings, companies can strengthen the competence of their staff, improve customer confidence and maintain optimal sanitary conditions.

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