Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How to Keep Your Food Fresher for Longer

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Most people understand that different food must be stored and prepared in specific ways. If you are in the restaurant or hotel business, you and your staff must have up-to-date and relevant qualifications so they know how to handle food so it is safe for human consumption. These procedures are of paramount importance when you think of what can happen to your customers. The restaurants first line of defence against infection is hygienic staff, clean utensils, good commercial refrigeration and correct cooking.

What Happens When you Handle Food Badly?

Many bacteria and viruses can inhabit food as well as its packaging. When it is not stored correctly (such as at the wrong temperature or on top of a dustbin), or it is handled and cooked with the dirty hands and utensils, any bacteria and viruses can build up to infect customers. These are very nasty little bugs, such as Salmonella, Listeria, or Staphylococcus Aureus, which can cause severe symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea) and in some cases death for your customers or evening dinner guests. Any place serving food must have the procedures and equipment in place to control this problem.

Keeping Food Fresh and Safe to Swallow

You may be aware that nowadays most of the food and drink we consume travels many miles, sometimes many hundreds of miles, before it reaches our tables. It is just one of the advantages of the globally commercial world. Cherries at Christmas, Spring Lamb in November and snap peas flown from Africa, picked yesterday on your plate today. However, for most people over the age of 65, produce was once only available when in season, spring lamb was just that, sold and eaten in spring. In any restaurant, the goal of its staff is to provide quality, safe food and still make the restaurant profitable. Although you may be using commercial refrigeration do not over order fresh products, it may appear to be cost effective but they start to go off much faster and you risk infecting your customers. If you have a walk in fridge or commercial cold room, you should date and type all of your different produce as a reminder for when food has passed its use-by-date and no longer safe for serving.

When taking delivery of fresh and more importantly frozen products, make sure you inspect them. If frozen goods are thawing out, do not accept it as the potential for bacteria to spread is particularly high. Never refreeze meats that have defrosted, even if you have commercial refrigeration, as the decomposition has already started. Wines and beers also need to be stored at constant and controlled temperatures, if not they will start to taste unpleasant and lead to many more side effects than tipsiness. By following these simple rules, as well as maintaining hygiene amongst food handlers and disinfecting equipment before and after use, your food service will not pose a health threat to the public.

The main advantage regarding commercial refrigeration is the fact that you can store and contain a higher volume of fresh food. However, it is important that you label and date everything to ensure you know how long you have had it and can work out what needs using first.

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