As an entrepreneur, you may have a dream of becoming a restaurant owner. While it’s a highly competitive space, the low barrier to entry is appealing. However, there are strict restaurant health and safety requirements to which you must adhere and implement. If you violate any of the rules, you could be shut down before serving eggs and tasty bacon to your first customer. You must have processes and actionable policies in place to avoid the following violations. The pandemic has reinforced the need for these rigorous protocols. The last thing we want is for our carefully selected processed meat products to not be served. When restaurants could reopen, the COVID-19 Restaurant Guidelines reaffirmed that employers must ensure employees:
- Discard all food items that are out of date.
- Change, wash and sanitise utensils frequently and place appropriate barriers in open areas.
- Ensure the person in charge is certified and that their certification is up to date, and provide food handler training to refresh employees’ knowledge.
- Tablecloths should be removed where possible.
- Only essential items may remain on the table, in which event it must be sanitised after each sitting.
- Implement cleaning and clearing protocols, allowing for separate containers for different items.
Protocols that must be followed Inside your restaurant
- Missing signs and posters It may sound trivial, but various signage and posters are required to be placed in the kitchen. For example, if you don’t have an ‘all employees must wash their hands before handling food’ sign, you are in breach of the health and safety code.
- Storing expired foods If any food product has passed its expiration date, it must be discarded. It’s important to designate someone to check the inventory regularly and dispose of any expired items.
- Unsuitable food storage Food must be stored in the correct order and at the required temperature. If not, you are exposing your customers to foodborne diseases such as salmonella, E. coli. and listeria, to mention a few.
- Poor staff hygiene Ensure that your staff are trained to practise proper personal hygiene procedures, e.g. wearing hair nets, always wearing gloves when handling food, and regularly washing and sanitising their hands.
- Cross-contamination of meat products According to the FDA, raw meats must be separated from other foods. The institution states:
- Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods.
- Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs unless the plate has been washed in hot, soapy water.
- Don’t reuse marinades used on raw foods unless you bring them to a boil first.