Mistakes caused either through lack of training or an embedded culture in the kitchen need only be small to have devastating consequences on the health of diners.
The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has exposed the kind of serious failings taking place behind the scenes which are putting customer health at risk.
The independent health education charity, which is dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and well-being of the general public, noted the kind problems which were arising, despite the UK’s high food-handling standards:
- Buffet bacteria
Leave a dish out for more than an hour and you’re allowing food to reach “the danger zone” – temperatures between 5 and 63°C where bacteria may thrive.
- Working when ill
Staff absence does nothing to alleviate the pressure of a busy night ahead, and the prevalence of zero-hour contracts in the hospitality sector means kitchen staff are unwilling to bow out of a shift due to illness. But vomiting bugs can be easily passed on, even when the sufferer is no longer showing any symptoms.
- Allergen contamination
Without a fail-proof method of communicating allergen information to customers, or adequate training to prevent cross-contamination, there will continue to be death or near-death incidents due to undeclared allergenic ingredients. Currently there are around 10 fatalities a year.
- Dirty cloths
Wiping down surfaces with a cloth that’s simply been left to dry all night is a futile exercise. Instead of cleaning food prep areas it can help spread the kind pathogens that cause illness.
- Monitoring food temperature
Instead of just going off the fridge reading, staff should probe the food itself to ensure it’s safe for consumption. An overcrowded fridge or heated food which has not been allowed to cool evenly could cause problems.
While it’s best to avoid causing illness in your customers in the first place, public liability insurance can come to the aid of your business if a mistake has been made and your customers suffer as a result.
This is a common feature of insurance packages designed for restaurants, cafes, bars and takeaways. Find out more by getting in touch with the Chartered brokers at Hine Insurance on 0161 438 0000.