Did you know that over a thousand foodborne disease outbreaks are reported every year? These outbreaks lead to about 30,000 annual cases of illness. Proper restaurant health and safety education is a part of making sure that disease is not spread to consumers. Not only does disease pose a threat to public safety, but it can also cause restaurants to shut down. Requiring employees in food service to take a food handling course is a good idea. Here are some of the basics you can learn in a restaurant food and hygiene course.
1. Cross contamination is a common issue in restaurant settings, and happens when bacteria from one food is transferred to another. For example, someone handling raw chicken might cut up a tomato for salads afterward without changing knives or boards. Knives, cutting boards, and other utensils must be thoroughly cleaned before cooks move from one food to the next. Some restaurants use different colored cutting boards and utensils for different foods in order to reduce the risk of transfer.
2. The CDC reports that 48 percent of all outbreaks in 2010 came from restaurant settings. Poor restaurant health and safety is not just the case for one or two restaurants. Many food service locations in the US adhere to sub par standards. Did you know, for example, that sponges and dish rags can often act as bacterial transfers? It is important to that these items are dried out every few days, replaced regularly, and boiled in between replacements. A food safety course can also inform you of how bacteria is easily spread by well meaning employees cleaning surfaces with sponges that have been exposed to raw meat or eggs.
3. This past month, an Oregon hummus company had to pull thousands of dollars worth of product from shelves after two samples tested positive for listeria. When you fail to follow restaurant food safety guidelines, you risk taking a big financial hit. It is more cost effective to help employees learn when to wear gloves, when to handle food, what temperature to cook food at, and other important fundamentals of food safety.