Food outlets are particularly busy during the lead-up to Christmas, but this is no reason to neglect food safety standards. Here are some tips on how to keep on top of hygiene checks to ensure your customers remain healthy when eating your produce.
1. Date food properly
The festive season is a great time for local producers, with many consumers choosing to buy homemade chutneys, cheese, cakes, bread and pastries rather than supermarket brands. However, it is just as essential for small producers to display date labels clearly.
Some products may need to be eaten fresh over the holidays while others could be stored for longer or in the freezer. However, it is important to mark this on the packaging so customers do not risk eating out-of-date food.
2. Label allergies clearly
For some people, the addition of nuts to chocolate truffles, toffees and stuffing is delicious at Christmas. However, for those who are allergic to nuts, there would be nothing more dangerous than picking up a product that does not have this distinctly labelled.
In addition to marking it clearly, all staff should be made aware of how to avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen. You do not want utensils that have been used in nut-based foods to also be utilised for nut-free products, as they will be polluted with traces of nut.
Make sure you use separate equipment, form chopping boards to pans, and another preparation area in the kitchen for nut-free goods to keep customers as safe as possible.
3. Ensure all staff are trained
If Christmas is a particularly busy time of the year for you – as it is with most food producers – then plan ahead and hire more staff. However, it is essential that employees have undergone a food health and safety course in the UK so they are fully trained in all aspects of food hygiene before they are allowed to handle your produce.