It’s bad enough to get a negative Yelp review, but it can be devastating for a business to receive a low health inspection rating or serve food that makes customers sick.

Unfortunately, this happens in some food establishments and it is often caused by a lack of awareness of proper food handling and sanitation among workers.

Thankfully there are several steps employees, managers and business owners can take to prevent foodborne illnesses from occurring.

Basic guidelines for food safety

Health inspectors are very critical of restaurant owners. They take note of everything from food proper storage to appropriate cleaning supplies. If you want to keep food safe and your patrons’ dishes bacteria-free, follow steps like these:

  • Workers should wash their hands often, with an antibacterial soap.
  • Working surfaces should be cleaned with a sanitizing solution, regularly.
  • Raw meat should be organized and prepared away from other food items to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Cooking temperatures should be followed accurately and holding temperatures must be maintained.
  • Food and meats should be thawed out following appropriate FDA guidelines.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. A lot goes into owning a clean and sanitized business, including having the proper supplies.

Having fast access to cleaning supplies and other necessities is important. Restaurant owners should make sure that all of their employees have easy access to items like hand soap and paper towels. Hair nets or hats are items that should also be on hand in a restaurant.

By law, any ready-to-eat food must be handled with suitable utensils or single-use gloves. Powder-free nitrile, poly, and vinyl gloves can help foodservice works prevent the spread of bacteria from surfaces to food items and keep in compliance with the health code. Be sure to have employees wash their hands thoroughly before putting gloves on and after taking them off in order to keep from contaminating fresh gloves or spreading contaminants from used gloves.

Keep in mind that your food is as important as the cleanliness of your business. Do not attempt to spend less by cutting some sanitation supplies from your budget. Cutting corners is bad for business, and you will ultimately pay for it when a health inspector shows up to audit your establishment.

Along with having the proper supplies ready, employee training and kitchen collaboration is essential to keeping your food safe and your restaurant clean.

Properly training employees on food handling and cleanliness is a great way to limit the possibility that something goes wrong. Depending upon your state, employees may need to acquire a food handler permit or certificate. These permits prove to local authorities that the holder has had training in and understands basic food safety practices. Regardless of whether your state requires it, all employees should learn the dos and don’ts of handling food as well as how to properly wash and prepare certain food items.

Once all employees have been properly trained, it is good to leave reminders of easy-to-forget tips throughout the kitchen. For example, hand washing signs, accessible copies of the proper holding temperatures of food items, dress code reminders (ie. hair nets/visors/hats required) and more.

Do you have any specific tips for food safety and cleanliness? Let us know in the comments and help other readers stay in compliance!