Top 10 Food Safety Tips for the Restaurant Kitchens

food safety

American consumers are becoming more and more concerned with where their food comes from, how it is prepared and whether or not it is actually safe to eat. Allay any food safety fears your customers may have by following these food safety tips

1. Be sure all staff and managers are properly trained.

Shift managers, general managers and staff must have proper food safety knowledge because the health inspector will ask questions, and a restaurant can be fined for showing inadequate knowledge of safe food handling practices. There are several options available to have staff certified in food safety

2. Wash your hands.

One of the main culprits of foodborne illnesses is person-to-person contact resulting from dirty employee hands. Restaurant employees must regularly and thoroughly wash their hands in order to protect customers and the restaurant from a food poisoning outbreak.

3. Wash all produce.

Fresh produce is not always cooked before serving, so washing by hand is the only way to remove any bacteria that may be on the surface.

4. Properly store refrigerated foods.

Refrigerators must maintain a temperature at or below 40 °F to minimize bacterial growth. Also, refrigerated foods can only be stored for a certain amount of time before they start to go bad.

  1. Cook foods to appropriate temperatures.

In order to kill any bacteria present, foods must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature and sustain that temperature for at least 15 seconds.

6. Clean and sanitize all food contact surfaces.

Countertops, cutting boards, utensils, pots and pans and employee hands are all food contact surfaces that must be cleaned and sanitized before and after they touch food items.

  1. Perform self inspections.

Walking through your establishment once or twice a month will help you identify any potential food safety concerns. You can download a self health inspection form or ask your health inspector for some of their forms, so you know exactly what areas pose the greatest risk.

  1. Know your local health codes.

State and county health departments are the direct enforcers of local, state and federal health regulations. When opening or operating a commercial kitchen, it is important to know the local health codes to avoid fines and prevent foodborne illness outbreaks.

  1. Regularly check temperatures.

Food either in commercial refrigeration or warming and holding equipment needs to be checked every two hours to assure that it is not in the food Danger Zone. It is sufficient to just check the equipment thermometer on refrigerated foods to assure that they are within safe levels. But for prepared foods, like soups and buffet items, it is necessary to check the food’s internal temperature to assure that it is above 140 °F.

10. Check all incoming food shipments.

Food can be contaminated anywhere along the supply chain, so it is important that food service operators purchase foods from approved sources and know when to accept or reject fresh meat, poultry and seafood.


Deadly Cancer-causing chemical exposed to Workers

An Oklahoma plating manufacturer is facing over three dozen safety violations carrying $341,000 in fines for exposing workers to deadly levels of hexavalent chromium, a cancer-causing health hazard.

Reasons for fine: failure to

◾provide PPE for workers exposed to chromium

◾demarcate regulated area where chromium was sprayed

◾prevent ingestion of food and drinks and absorption of cigarettes in chromium-regulated areas

◾properly train workers exposed to the facility’s chromium, caustics and corrosives

◾provide adequate walking and working surfaces

◾provide separate locker space and storage for street and protective clothing

◾perform PPE hazard assessments

◾guard power transmission belts

◾failing to fit test employees for respirators and implement a respiratory program

◾inform workers of their chromium exposure records

◾provide adequate washing facilities

◾label chemical containers

Inspectors said workers were exposed to the chemical in the spray painting and dip tank operation areas and in the lunchroom and smoking areas of the Grove plant.




Ever think you know more than an OSHA inspector?

This case shows you might — even OSHA inspectors can get things wrong. In the unlikely event an OSHA inspector shows up at your door, make sure you gather the same evidence as the inspector – photos, records, etc. If you disagree with the inspector’s conclusions, be prepared to raise concerns during the closing conference or fight the citations in court.

Here’s a challenging court case you could encounter at your facility: This company was hit with citations for improper fall protection, despite an OSHA inspector giving the safety plan the OK. The company is sure it’s in the right. Can you guess the outcome?

The OSHA inspector told the manager the fall protection was good enough while on the site, but when he got back to his office and talked with others, he determined there was a safety violation. However, when in court, the inspector was vague and did not seem to remember specific details about the site or the conversations he had with the manager that day.

In contrast, the manager came to court prepared and confident. He had years of experience with this type of work and demonstrated that he knew the rules for fall protection well. He also knew the exact circumstances of the job site and could defend his choices clearly. The court determined the fall protection used was within the rules and dropped the charges.

Experience speaks the company was successful and the court threw out the citations. Know your OSHA’s rules!! your inspector may not.

September is Emergency Preparedness Month. Is your business ready to face an emergency or natural disaster?

The National Safety Council (NSC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offered reminders that September is Emergency Preparedness Month. Coming up with a plan that will keep your business safe during an emergency, and help it get back on its feet after a disaster, is an important way to protect your employees and resources. FEMA and the NSC provided several suggestions for keeping your company safe when disaster strike.

Have a plan in place

Getting your business back on its feet after a natural disaster might seem a bit daunting if you’ve been hit hard, but a little pre-planning will make the process go a lot smoother. Some steps to take:

◾Make a list of necessary equipment, such as computers and other machinery, and store extra supplies offsite. Also, plan for a temporary location for your business to use if you need to relocate after a disaster

◾Have back-up copies of all important business records stored offsite on hard drives at least 100 miles away

◾Keep essential phone numbers handy, including those of suppliers, employees, customers, utility companies, local media and emergency agencies

◾Have at least one corded phone attached to a wall jack in case there is an electrical outage

◾Use a reliable high-speed internet service that will maintain your emails and other information if your network fails, and

◾Keep a back-up generator ready.






Protect your Business from Heavy Fines!!

A Chicago engineering company, classified as a severe safety violator by federal regulators, was cited and fined for failing to protect workers from trench cave-ins. The company was placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program when it was issued for safety violations for failing to comply with trenching standards. Violations carry penalties of $105,600. Protect employees and your business by

  • protecting workers from cave-in hazards while in a trench over 5 feet deep
  • support street pavement above the trench from collapsing on workers
  • remove employees from known cave-in hazards

With safety in place your business is Safe avoid hazards by keeping up with OSHA’S Safety guidelines.


Machine Guarding Safety Protect Workers from Amputations

Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe workplace injuries, such as crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, or blindness. Safeguards are essential for protecting workers from these preventable injuries. Any machine part, function, or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded. Machine Guarding Focuses on recognizing and controlling common amputation hazards associated with the operation and use of certain types of machines.




What to do: To help keep Temporary Workers Safe

OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have put new Recommended Practices in place to protect temporary workers in the workplace.

Concern for the well-being of temporary workers has been a concern for OSHA and NIOSH lately. Their newly released Recommended Practices provide ways for staffing agencies and host employers to work together to provide a safe environment for these workers.

The Recommended Practices include:

◾Staffing agencies and host employers must work together to ensure the safety of these workers — both are responsible for these workers’ well-being.

◾Before working with a new host employer, staffing agencies should evaluate work sites, identify safety issues and the types of training temporary workers will need.

◾Agency staff should be trained to recognize safety hazards so they can work with the host employer to ensure that proper measures are taken to prevent an incident.

◾Be sure that staffing agencies and host employers know and understand each others’ safety plans. This way, they can mutually hold one another to the highest standard when it comes to the safety of temporary workers.

◾The host employer and agency should create a contract stating who will be responsible for each aspect of the workers’ safety. This means defining the workers’ job requirements, who will provide the necessary PPE, and agreeing on everyone’s rights and responsibilities.

◾Host employers and agencies should have open communication about any incidents that happen on the job. Both groups should agree on an incident reporting system so that all information is communicated quickly and effectively.

◾Both the staffing agency and host employer are responsible for providing adequate safety training for temporary workers. It is the responsibility of the host employers to train temporary workers as they would any other permanent staff.

OSHA’s focus on protecting temporary workers doesn’t stop at the companies hiring the short-term help. Inspectors are also paying close attention to staffing agencies.