Restaurant Food Safety > Food Preparation
In this series of posts, we have taken a close look at preventing cross contamination in a variety of ways, including preparing and storing food, and upholding good personal hygiene. In this final installment, we’re going to explain how to handle prepared foods. It’s important to note that simply because foods are cooked, it doesn’t mean they are immune from going bad or developing harmful bacteria. In addition to educating your employees, equip your restaurant with a Miami Restaurant Insurance program.
Maintain the right temperature.
Hold hot cooked foods between 140°F and 165°F until serving time. Harmful bacteria can grow rapidly below 140°F. When food is cooked to temperatures of 165°F to 212°F, most food-poisoning bacteria is killed; cold food should be held at 40°F or colder, as harmful bacteria can multiply quickly above 40°F. Cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from growing and multiplying. Freezing at 0°F prevents additional bacteria growth, says Whole Foods.
Preparing, serving and eating food should be done within a 2-hour time slot. Any longer and the prepared foods are at risk for developing harmful bacteria. However, if you serve foods outdoors, especially during soaring temperatures of summer, it’s best if the foods are consumed and put away within one hour to be safe.
If foods are prepared ahead of time in the restaurant, ensure they go into the refrigerator or a warm oven to stay fresh until serving.
As we mentioned in our previous blogs, utensils that are used to handle raw foods should always be kept separate from utensils used to handle cooked foods.
Sweat the small stuff.
All employees who handle and serve food should be adequately trained to hold plates by the edge, wear gloves when necessary, and keep hair tied back.
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