World Food Service Safety Month

Worldwide Food Service Month occurs every December to iterate the importance of safe food preparation and cooking practices across the industry. Food safety is of the supreme importance and covers an expanse of topics such as buying, storing, prepping, and serving food. Since 1994 the month of December has been utilised to remind everyone, from the professional food service industry and to home cooks and hobbyists to take extra care of their practices.

Over the years it has become increasingly relevant as December also marks the start of the festive season, where the indulgence in food and delicacies is quite frequent. Food poisoning incidents are much higher over festive period than other times of year due to overcrowding of fridges and leftovers being stored outside of the fridge. All cooked products should be stored in fridge to reduce risk of micro multiplication. Every year one in ten people become sick from eating contaminated or improperly prepared food. Therefore, it is important to spread awareness and assess our current processes to make each meal enjoyable and most importantly, safe to consume.

There is more than one way to ensure safe food hygiene. Here are some fundamental tips to remember:

- 1 -

Wash your hands. While it sounds quite simple, our hands can carry up to 3,200 different germs belonging to 150 different species. To stay safe wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before handling food, especially when switching between raw and cooked produce.

- 2 -

Avoid preparing food with any cuts and abrasions on your fingers, hands, or wrists. If this is not possible ensure to take the proper safety measures by using plaster and bandages before handling food.

- 3 -

Separate your cooked foods from your raw food to avoid contaminating with bacteria that may cause food-borne illness. Especially applicable to raw meats like chicken being prepared in close proximity to vegetables which may not be cooked at any stage of the process.

- 4 -

Heat is the bacteria killer. The World Health Organisation claim that bacteria are rapidly killed at temperatures above 65°C. Temperature requirements vary for different meats, so it is important to carry out personal research on appropriate cooking execution.

- 5 -

Clean, sanitise and store. Ensure that all cooking equipment is cleaned and sanitised between uses and food preparation areas are thoroughly cleaned. Food should be stored in ways that prevent cross-contamination.

- 6 -

Chill food properly and promptly. Refrigeration cools food quicker and more evenly, slowing the growth and multiplication of most bacteria.

These are the basics that are followed by professionals from all avenues of the industry. As you can fathom there are numerous considerations to be made when correctly prepping and cooking food – and this month is the perfect opportunity to learn and practice them. Whether your're making food for a small dinner party or a family Christmas feast, the paramount consideration should be the wellbeing of the end consumer, be it, family, friends or colleagues.