Food hygiene Health and SafetyBefore I discuss about food hygiene health and safety I would like to just give you a quick background on the restaurant that I choose to attend as an Intern or trainee. The restaurant is set of 14 employees, cozy and comforting but full of battles every lunch and dinner service. Workers are very accommodating to us intern like me. They are very generous in providing ideas, learning’s, techniques and very strict when it comes to cleanliness and sanitation food safety I would say.
The establishment is not so big can accommodate from40 to 50 person max. Light and cozy ambiance on the dining area. Ventilation are good inside the kitchen fairly spacious, you’ll sweat but breathable. Set with different stations from grilling to pastry. Everyone is busy having their own task, most busy hours are lunch and dinner service, tickets are running a bit wild but manageable thru the talent and skills of all the employee working inside the kitchen.
Each and every day I learned a lot of things from day 1 to the end of my training from being inconsistent to be consistent, from being slow to be fast and to the extent of absorbing me to be a part of their working family, I’m working with them now. Now to move forward food hygiene, food safety, health, and planning inside the kitchen is very important here is where our success can add up to be possible and I learned and now practicing these points to serve people without giving them any harm of food poisoning, food contamination or food borne diseases, by obliging to the rules and laws made by certain government department or agencies. Like what I have read from the books there are a lot of law for food industry Regulation for example this law (EC) 852/2004 (Act) of the European Parliament and the Council of 29April 2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs not to elaborate more about it. Here in our country we follow this law and some more. [REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10611]AN ACT TO STRENGTHEN THE FOOD SAFETY REGULATORY SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY TO PROTECT CONSUMER HEALTH AND FACILITATE MARKET ACCESS OF LOCAL FOODS AND FOOD PRODUCTS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. This law consist of all rules and regulation that must be properly met of follow. We are proud to met all the rules written in this law when it comes to food safety management.It is very important to keep in mind and to always practice food hygiene, health and safety inside a kitchen or working place, this way we can fully avoid accidents and also to always keep employee healthy. We can also avoid food, water contamination that causes food borne diseases by inspections and adhering to the regulations made by health organization and local health department. Let’s all start with Hygiene it is a must to practice hygiene inside the kitchen. In the kitchen I’m working as of the moment we always practice good personal hygiene starting with trimmed nails, wearing hairnets, shaved beard and mustache, wearing clean proper uniform. Also we practice 1 hour wash rule for example we make sure to wash our hands often, every 1 hour we make sure to wash our hands so that we are sure that there are no contaminants transferred to the food that were handling more importantly with cooked foods. Wearing hairnets, shaving mustache and beard are part of good hygiene practice. Those mentioned above are some key points that are needed to be practice day bay day in a working kitchen so that we can also follow the rules and regulation set by local health department and officials like FOOD SAFETY ACT OF 2013.In this case if rules are not followed it may result to penalty or worst closure of the establishment. Sanitation also plays a critical part working inside the kitchen. A fever, vomiting or headache are some of the symptoms for food poisoning guest might have if food are not properly handle. With this said, from the smallest utensil to the largest tool it must be properly sanitize to proper standards set by the health officials, in this way we can avoid bacteria and contamination. Maintaining a clean work environment is critical in preventing food borne illness. Bacteria can grow on unsanitary surfaces and then contaminate food. Just because a work surface looks clean does not mean that it is sanitary. Always ensure that you clean and sanitize a work area before starting to prepare food. What I experience working in a kitchens that we make sure everything is clean and properly sanitize, the tools that we are using for cooking, knives, chopping boards, ladles etc. Also all department inside the kitchen practice proper sanitation. Cleaning stoves, rotisserie, grill, oven, chillers all the big items etc. inside the kitchen are a must practice. Cleaning with soap and other detergents is just one step of the cleaning procedure. It is also necessary to sanitize. Cleaning will remove any dirt or grease, but will not necessarily kill any bacteria or other pathogens. Only a sanitizer will kill bacteria and ensure the area is safe for food preparation. Leading sanitizers used in the food service industry are chlorine solutions (bleach), quaternary solutions (quats), and iodine. A sanitation plan is important in any food service preparation area. It ensures that all surfaces are cleaned on a regular basis and reduces the risks of transferring bacteria or other pathogens from an unclean surface to clean equipment such as cutting boards or tools. All equipment must be routinely cleaned and inspected. Older equipment may have nooks and crannies where dirt and bacteria can hide, which can be difficult to clean effectively. Proper cleaning procedures must be established and followed at all times with regular review to ensure that procedures are working. If equipment is replaced or cleaning materials change, the process may have to be adjusted. If we notice any safety concerns with the equipment while cleaning it, such as a frayed cord, missing guard or loose parts, we let our supervisor knows it immediately. Also before our shifts start floors are properly swept, as for me my station must be properly clean or any station I’m assigned, we always make sure everything is clean until our shifts end everything must be clean and properly sanitize. It is also a must for us to practice proper sanitation, Inspection refers to the examination of food, food production facilities or establishments, and the management and production systems of food businesses, including the examination of documents, finished product testing and registration, and of the origin and destination of production inputs and outputs to verify compliance with legal requirements by an agency mandated to perform food safety regulatory and/or enforcement functions. Health officials are making surprise visit to us for them to make sure that we are following the set guidelines, they are also checking or inspecting our water supply if the right Ph are met or if its safe to use for cooking and other matters. Drainage and sewer system are checked as well if functioning properly so it would not cause insects and parasites that may cause food contamination or food borne dieses. If the health inspectors or SANIDAD found that you or the establishment failed they can file a case on the owner and possible penalized for the act and worst closure. The health officials are doing these surprise inspection at least twice or trice within a year as per my Head Chef told me. Also in disposal of waste products or waste we are advice to use HACCP hazard analysis critical control point. We are also trained to properly disposed wastes, we make sure to always empty trash bin inside the kitchen for it may cost bacteria or pathogens to grow. We also separate waste materials of products such as, wet and dry waste also proper disposal of used oil. Also sinks must be clean as soon as possible it may cause bacteria to grow. These are the things that I learned working inside the kitchen.Safety inside the kitchen is also vital. Employees must have a safe environment inside the kitchen. For my experience, I witness an inspection made to my working place. Electrical lines are properly check to avoid short shortage or ground that may cause a person to got an accident, also they check if smoke detector are properly installed in case a fire accident happen, I also remember it was Fire Protection month. The inspection were made by the Bureau of Fire Protection, it helps the owner and also the employee to have a safe working place and that is just one of many when it comes to safety workplace. Also I learned the safety procedure inside the kitchen, even we study it on the books but hands on work are different. For example before we start our shift, it is a must for us or whoever assign to checked the gas, gas range if there is no gas leak. In this way we can avoid danger or possible accident that may lead to fire. Proper usage of tools to avoid accidents, proper knowledge in operating equipment or machineries, we are also given proper knowledge on the standard procedures needed inside the kitchen to avoid accidents. Proper signage on the floor if the floor is slippery or wet, proper knowledge on what to do if accident happens. We are also given proper knowledge about hazards inside the kitchen, like proper storage of chemicals for cleaning and sanitation, we are also given proper training on using these items. It is also our responsibilities to give safety to our guests, like the food that they are eating on how 101% we are sure that the food that we are serving are safe to eat. I’ll set an example my Head Chef told me that before they are using the FIFO or FIRST IN FIRST OUT, but now a days we are using date method or the expiration date in this case we can make sure that the food is safe. Also the products that we are using for cooking like fish that we are serving must be fresh and how we handle the fish, how it was stored, how it was cook, like for the meet, how it was stored, how fresh is it, how to determined if its not spoil, how we cook it. These are just some examples on how can we say that the food that we are serving is fresh and safe to eat. Also the health officials inspects for the products that we are using for example. They are asking for the receipt of the meet products so that they can determine where the meat came from, whose sells it in the market, meat shops that are registered and approved by the Bureau of Food and Drugs and Department of Trade and Industry under FOOD SAFETY ACT OF 2013. It is a must for us to bring safe to eat foods for the guests. Also for storing items, we make sure to label it properly; meat must be stored it a very cold place like freezer, also fish or seafood’s are stock properly, items such as canned like mayo, ketchup and etc are properly label by expiration date. Cleaning or Sanitizing items are properly stored away from all the items used for cooking to be exact in the kitchen I’m working in , we do have a small room for all the sanitizing and cleaning materials to be safe also to avoid food contamination or poisoning. It is a must to practice these methods so that we can make sure that we are properly following the rules set by the government agencies for health and food safety.Health is very critical as well inside the kitchen. In my experience before setting foot inside the kitchen we are oblige to get or go through medical and physical examination. Employers give these guidelines to make sure that all workers inside the kitchen area are healthy or fit to work. As a trainee I go through a lot of exams like, blood testing for a certain disease like hepatitis, lungs if I have tuberculosis and more tests. In this way the employer can avoid any further problem that may occur like food contamination, co-workers being infected with the same diseases, unhealthy workplace that may lead to closure of a certain business. Also as for my experience if my co-worker or co-trainee go to work but they do have fever or colds, they are advice to take a sick leave and take a rest. If they feel that they are already fine, they are needed to be checked by a doctor and get a medical certificate if they are already fit to work before they can start working again. It is a good practice to have a healthy working place. Also we are advice to get a two fifth teen minute break and one full hour break to rest or to eat. In this way we can keep ourselves healthy not overworked. Also twice a year a inspection is made by the Department of Health to ensure all employees are healthy or having a healthy workplace, if inspection are not made, we are oblige to get a annual physical and medical examination to be submitted to the Department of Health. Also by this kind of practices we can avoid affecting guests and customers to be ill or have a health issue. Food hygiene plays a key role inside the kitchen. It is critical for it may cause food borne illness if products, items are not properly stored and prepare carefully. As for what I experience working inside the kitchen, food hygiene plays a very big role. Like for example storing goods or products use for cooking, we are also given knowledge and we train to handle food storing carefully, uncooked meats or carcass are stored in a very cold temperature as low as -0 degrees to suppress the bacteria that may grow, Label refers to the display of written, printed or graphic matter upon the immediate container, tag, literature or other suitable material affixed thereto for the purpose of giving information as to identify components, ingredients, attributes, directions for use, specifications and such other information as may be required by law or regulations. We are labelling and using log sheets to keep it monitored on the day it was deliver to the day it was taken out inside the storage room, canned items are checked, labelled and listed properly by expiration date, also other products are listed by date and it is monitored daily from the start of our shift until the end of our shift. These are the methods we are using on how to follow the proper standards in food storing. It is a way as well to lessen food waste or spoil item if labelled properly. On preparing our foods we make sure that we are clean before handling a food most specially cooked foods. In our kitchen when handling cooked food we are advise to use clean plastic gloves or rubber gloves to make sure while we are holding the food we are safe in food contamination. Also the chopping boards are properly colour coded. Like for example we are advise to use red colour chopping board for fresh meats, blue for fresh fishes or sea foods, white for vegetables, brown for raw chicken and yellow for cooked foods. Also to add we are advise to use set of knives to avoid contamination. Clean pots, pans and other kitchen utensils must be properly sanitize before using it to prepare a dish. Proper Temperature are use to cook food, on how we can determine if the food is on the right temperature before serving it to a guest, we can also determine by temperature if the food is cooked already. Also to add like I said a while back Health Officials check or inspect water Ph level so they can determine if its safe to use for cooking or preparing food. We make sure that we wash or clean the vegetables using clean water before cutting or preparing. Like what we are doing inside the kitchen in preparing salads. Greens are properly picked; black or dry spots are remove, washed properly before putting in a cold bath. As per the dining area waiter and waitress are also oblige to take hand sanitizer once every hour to keep the bacteria away, utensils that they are arranging are stored also in a very sanitize buckets before air drying and arranging it to the tables, dining area floors are also maintained to be swept at least an hour before a service, mirrors and glass door panels are properly polished and clean before and the end of each shift, glasses are properly sanitize as well properly air dry then wept by a clean sanitize towels or cloths this way we are sure the there are no contamination they would take place while we are serving our guests. These are some of the things that I observe and learned while training. In Catering or buffet is bit different approach than a fine dining when it comes to sanitation or food control analysis. As I remember in a buffet set up utensils are thoroughly cleaned, spoon, forks, glasses and other food utensils that are being used. When it comes to food preparation, maintaining its freshness or should I say safe to eat food. The set up is set every 4 hour. Even the food that is being prepared are not fully consumed, food that is being served must be removed and replace by a newly prepared same dish or different one. The reason behind it is that within those 4 hours that is the only time the food is safe to eat even it is in the warmer or shaving dish. As I remember like my Chef told me even the food is warm or heated, a long exposure of food might still get food contaminants also the outcome of a certain dish, freshness and other factors is at risk if the food served is exposed more than the allotted time or should I say not meeting the proper time frame for quality control or quality control checklist.Also as a trainee I undergo FOOD SAFETY MANAGEMENT this specific training is given to each one of us working inside the kitchen, to make sure that we are well knowledgeable and we are complying on the rules and regulation made by the Health Department on food safety management. Also in time to time our Head Chef set up a meeting on how we can improve the level of standards in preparing our dishes. Also our Assistant Head Chef make sure that we are all following the guidelines set by the management, he even have a checklist everyday checking each and one of us is observing or following the set guidelines. Every end of the week as a trainee we are given a one on one talk so he can provide rooms for improvement if standards are not met properly, actually it is a good practice that my Assistant Head Chef is doing or providing so feedback. I can only say that it is very critical to follow the right procedure standards made by local or international officials to creates health law when it comes to food safety and food handling so that we can assure that the food we served are safe to eat and avoid guest from any harm.