Proper food sanitation practices can feel repetitive and maybe even unnecessary at times, but they’re absolutely essential. Sometimes, unfortunately, it takes news headlines of a restaurant being slapped with FDA fines to remind us all how important food sanitation really is.
Here are some questions you might be afraid to ask yourself about food sanitation:
1. Do I have a problem with pencil-whipping my food safety reports?
A lot of restaurants have issues with quickly checking off food temperature logs at the end of the day or before an inspection to make it seem like they’ve been on top of their reporting. Many times, this happens without the manager even realizing it.
And sadly, many times it’s the manager themselves who’s doing it. Aside from the fact that you're showing your employees that it's okay to be dishonest, you’re taking major shortcuts with food safety that are going to come at the expense of the health of your customers. If someone gets sick, you won't have a record of what actually happened if they say they ate a specific food at a specific time.
2. Do I need to wear hairnets for my hair and beard?
You absolutely do. Yes, they’re uncomfortable and it takes extra time to get prepped for the shift. Like putting a helmet on to ride a bike, you may feel silly wearing it but there’s an important reason for it.
First, and foremost, the hairnets will prevent hair from falling into the food. Isn’t that the worst thing when you find hair in your food and you’re not sure if it’s from you or someone else? Second, people will notice when they look in the kitchen and see someone preparing their food without a hairnet so if you do it enough, you may cost yourself return customers.
3. Is it bad to eat in the kitchen?
We’ve all seen restaurants in which the staff is snacking in the kitchen. Maybe that’s your restaurant. Like the lack of hairnets, this falls squarely into bad personal hygiene habits in the kitchen. It’s unhealthy, unprofessional, and should never happen!
4. Do I need to have a separate knife and cutting board for every item?
The answer is yes. Even though it's going to take you extra time to clean the dishes, it’s critical to prevent cross-contamination. Whether it's meat or veggies you’re cutting, you should always use clean, fresh utensils.
At the end of the day, there are many, many more questions like this that we all find ourselves asking throughout the day. And if you’re honest with yourself, you probably already know the answers!