Getting food safety wrong can kill your customers and your business. Here are 5 ways to avoid killing your customers and your business as a food business owner.

Make sure that your team have access to the correct information about allergens and that cross contamination is avoided.

Using nuts or peanuts without telling your customers, may kill them. Anaphylactic shock can kill. A severe allergic reaction to food allergens, particularly nuts or peanuts, can cause an anaphylactic shock. This can kill the sufferer.

Ensure all food is cooked adequately and keep records.

Some foods, such as poultry and minced meat, contain pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria. These can be killed by adequate cooking. Failure to cook to the required temperature may result in the survival of these pathogens. Some are fatal. This is the case particularly if consumed by vulnerable groups of people. Vulnerable groups include children, the elderly and pregnant women.

Prevent Cross contamination of raw to cooked foods

Similar to under cooking, if some raw foods cross contaminate cooked food, it is possible for pathogens to be transferred and if consumed, these may make the consumer very ill, or even kill them.

Ensure that cooling of cooked foods is fast.

This is because chilling slows growth and some bacteria do not grow below 8C but will lie dormant. Freezing stops growth, but does not kill bacteria. Some bacteria may survive the cooking process, such as spore forming bacteria. You should aim to cool food to less than 8C in less than 90 minutes. Ideally this should be less than 5C. There is more information on the Food Standards Agency website.

Reduce the risk of foreign materials or chemicals getting into the food that you produce.

Make sure that all risks to your food preparation have been reduced or removed. Prepare a HACCP study. Injuries, sometimes fatal, can be caused by sharp objects or chemical contamination. For more information about HACCP, go to my HACCP page.

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