Advance production of food in restaurants, pubs and takeaways

Many food businesses now prepare food in advance, cool, refrigerate and then reheat it before service, or serve it cold. Poor control over this practice may lead to a deterioration in food quality and the presence of food poisoning bacteria.

The chief hazards associated with this method of food production are:
  • Cross - contamination from raw ingredients, poor handling practices, poor personal hygiene and dirty equipment.
  • Multiplication of food poisoning bacteria in food during long slow cooling, poor refrigerated storage and keeping food too long.
  • Survival of food poisoning bacteria due to inadequate cooking.
A food poisoning incident may result in loss of consumer confidence, prosecution by the Local Authority and civil action by the customers affected.

Food Poisoning is preventable if you follow some simple guidelines when handling, processing and storing ready to eat foods.
  • Keep your food premises clean, well maintained and well organised.
  • Clean and disinfect work surfaces, equipment and utensils before and after use.
  • Ensure food is bought from reputable suppliers.
  • Ensure food handlers maintain high standards of personal cleanliness and follow good food handling practices.
  • Keep raw and cooked / ready to eat foods separate.
  • Ensure foods are thoroughly cooked and use a disinfected probe thermometer to check the core temperature is at least 75°C
  • Keep the temperature of chilled foods at or below 5°C and use within 2 days.
  • When reheating, the core temperature should reach at least 82°C to ensure the food is safe to eat.
  • Cool food as quickly as possible, up to 1½ hours after cooking.

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