Restaurant food safety

At any restaurant within the country, restaurant health inspections can be expected two to four times per year. In most cases, these health inspections are unannounced, and not keeping up on food and sanitation can mean penalties for you and your employees. In order to avoid fines or even restaurant closures, you should ensure that your entire staff is up to date on restaurant food safety and the proper precautions for handling food. If your restaurant is not prepared, you can easily start researching the possibility of obtaining a food handling certificate or taking a food safety course. Additionally, for added convenience, you can obtain a food handlers permit online. Regardless of which food protection course you enroll in, what do you need to know about handling food in order to keep your establishment safe?

According to figures provided by the New York City Department of Health, the city expects to take in more than forty million dollars in health code violation fines from dining establishments in 2012 alone. However, ensuring that your employees are well versed in handling food can help you avoid these hefty fines. This means that anyone who comes into contact with food within your restaurant should be familiar with standard practices. Handling food may involve using gloves, as well as the correct temperatures at which to store and serve food. In addition, many food handling courses will address the proper standards for storing food. According to data provided by the Food and Drug Administration, all food should be stored at least six inches from the floor in order to prevent contamination. However, some local health codes may extend this distance to one foot. Staying in compliance with these guidelines can help your establishment to avoid the nearly five and a half million cases of food borne norovirus within the United States reported in 2011. Out of those cases, nearly fifteen thousand required hospitalization.

Enrolling your staff in a course that addresses handling food can also provide some insight about common commercial kitchen practices, as well. Although many restaurant employees regularly eat or drink within the restaurant kitchen, this practice is a recognized health code violation. Although it may seem silly or unnecessary to do so, employees should be able to easily access an employee break room in which to enjoy their snacks or meals during their shift in order to avoid contamination.