You almost never saw Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter, mishandle a snake. Whether it was a friendly garter or a deadly Black Mamba slithering through his hands, ol’ Steve treated every snake with care.
The same rule applies when handling food in the back of the house. While mishandling ground beef isn’t likely to kill any of your customers, it could lead to foodborne illness—and that will come back to bite you. Properly handling and preparing foods are the key factors to decreasing instances of food poisoning. Whether handling raw ingredients or prepared platters, there are a few simple practices that greatly reduce this risk.
Clean All Produce
All produce, even organic, can have dirt, pathogens and pesticides on its exterior. Most fruits and vegetables are served raw, either in salads or whole, so harmful bacteria are still present when the food is plated. As with meat, do not cross-contaminate clean and dirty produce with cutting boards and knives.
Wash Your Hands
The leading cause of food poisoning in restaurants is poor employee hygiene. Health departments require that food handlers wash their hands repeatedly throughout the day or whenever switching tasks. Developing proper hand washing practices can save your customers, your business and your reputation.
Properly Cook All Food
Foods cooked to the proper internal temperature will assure that all bacteria are dead. With the help of a thermometer and this guide, you’ll ensure all food coming out of the kitchen is the perfect temperature.
Minimum Cooking Temperatures
|Food||Minimum Internal Temperature (°F)|
|Holding Temp for prepared foods||140|
|Leftovers and casseroles||165|