Preparing Your Kitchen for National Food Safety Education Month
It’s National Food Safety Education Month! Each September, we highlight the importance of food safety and preventing foodborne risks. With increasing consumer concerns about food safety due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to educate yourself and your restaurant staff on how to properly store, prepare and serve food. Restaurant City is here to help explain National Food Safety Education Month and how to prepare your kitchen.
What is National Food Safety Education Month?
National Food Safety Education Month was developed to educate about food safety and how to prevent food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses. With over 250 foodborne diseases, you must understand how to properly store, prepare, consume, and discard food items. This will keep both yourself and others safe.
How to Prepare Your Kitchen
No matter who you are, you need to practice safe food handling. Whether you’re a chef or a server, if you don’t follow the proper techniques, you could make someone seriously ill. Restaurateurs should also have the storage and cooking equipment necessary to prevent cross-contamination. Here are some tips on how to prepare your kitchen for National Food Safety Education Month and beyond.
To prevent cross-contamination, raw meat, seafood, poultry, and eggs should be stored away from produce and other ready-to-eat food. Raw food can spread germs and diseases, so separating them stops this from occurring. We suggest either having a large refrigerator or storage area so there is enough distance between the food. Another option is to have a refrigerator purely for raw food and another for produce/cooked food.
Similar to storage, restaurants should have separate prep stations for raw food and produce to ensure there’s no chance of contact. We recommend going one step further and even having multiple essential pieces of restaurant equipment like knives, cutting boards, and pans to avoid cross contamination. If you cut a piece of raw chicken before slicing a tomato with the same knife, a customer could get seriously ill. If you’re unable to do this, then wash all equipment used with hot water and soap often.
This goes for both hot and cold foods. If raw food doesn’t get cooked enough or perishables get too warm, foodborne illnesses can thrive. To prevent this from happening, use a food thermometer when cooking. Once the meat is at a safe internal temperature, the germs have been cooked off and it is safe for consumption. The temperature can range from 160 degrees Fahrenheit for poultry and other meats or 145 degrees for fish and seafood. When it comes to perishable food, they need to be stored in an area that is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Any higher and you risk spoiling it.
Having consistent and safe food handling, storage, and preparation practices keeps both yourself and your customers safe. Although this might require an investment for separate prep stations, storage, and other commercial kitchen equipment, the benefits are limitless. If you need help keeping your kitchen safe for National Food Safety Education Month and beyond, Restaurant City is here to help. We’ll answer any questions you have and work with you to find the perfect appliances for your needs.