Matt

Matt

13.12.19The recording of wasted food is as vital to the good management of your commercial kitchen’s food safety policies as the recording of fresh and frozen incoming ingredients is. Keeping a record of food waste is also a fast and certain way to pinpoint errors or flaws within your kitchen work-flow system. There are several steps where food waste must be accounted for:

Food must always be checked before it is signed for. Any food that is not of a sufficiently high standard (frozen food beginning to defrost, fresh foods with signs of spoilage, excessively damaged, torn or dirty packaging) can be refused and returned to the driver. This food does not need to be noted as waste as it has not been in the kitchen food system. From the moment food has been signed for, though, it must be accounted for.

Prep stations

Sometimes issues with food are not noted until the food is cut open: for example, lettuce can look fine on delivery, but when sliced open it can possess signs of problems – insects, bite marks, decay. This must be noted on a wastage sheet, with a record of how severe the problem was. This can be used to let suppliers know about ongoing issues with their products if necessary. If they refuse to improve their products, you can change suppliers to a more reliable company, saving money and your reputation.

Cooking bloopers

There is always the risk of spills, mistakes and drops when cooking food in the high-pressure environment of a busy kitchen. Any meals that are made unfit for consumption during the cooking process must be noted on the wastage sheet. This can help to pinpoint errors in the layout of the kitchen, and help to streamline processes should one particular accident happen more often than happenstance would allow.

Left too long

If meals are left under hot lights for too long during a busy time, it might be necessary to scrap and re-make them as the food will become dry and unpalatable. This is not good for customer experience – waiting too long for a meal, even if it is perfectly prepared and fresh from the oven when they do get it, will leave a poor taste in their mouths. Seeing a lot of meals binned because they were left for too long is a sign that table service is lacking and that perhaps a new waiter should be taken on.

Refused by a customer

Occasionally, when a meal is taken to a customer, they will object to it for reasons that can range from the excessively fussy to the potentially life-threatening. In the event of the former, make a note of the wastage and shrug off the loss. In the case of the latter, take this as a sign that your allergy precautions need an instant and thorough overhaul. With allergies, even the tiniest amount of the food can cause severe illness and even death, so any customer mentioning the word ‘allergy’ must be taken very seriously. Seeing too many (or even one) mentions on the waste sheet of ‘meal contained allergen’ should be taken as an indication of a severe problem. This should be a very rare issue, but if it does happen, ensure that everyone in the kitchen is up-to-date with their online food safety training, so they are aware of their responsibilities, and consider bringing in Health and Safety consultants to check your system is fit for purpose.

End of day

Any prepped food must be wasted once it has passed its use-by, hot-hold or cold-hold time limits. These products should be entered on the wastage sheets and used to guide the next day’s preparations to prevent future wastage.

Other occasions

Food inspectors will want to see a list of foods that have been wasted and be able to tie these into the occasional issues suffered by any kitchen. This means that if you have noted that a fridge failed, with the temperature rising to around 10°C for six hours, they will expect to see on the list, dated that day, all the food from the faulty fridge being destroyed to ensure customer safety. Should the two sets of records not match up, they will know that your paperwork is not authentic, which can affect your Food Hygiene Rating.

How to…

As with any internal kitchen system, recording of food waste must be comprehensive and quick – no one in a successful and busy commercial kitchen has time to spend more than a minute or two recording data, especially when this must be done as needed throughout the day. And finally, to ensure that you cut down on even more time, present an environmentally-friendly face to the world and update and maintain detailed records in as small a footprint as possible, consider switching your food waste recording system to an app like DUED in which all your facts and figures can be available with the tap of a button.

For more information or to discuss how Dued can help your business contact us here

 

 

//www.flickr.com/photos/32123311@N00/">plate scraping by jbloom licensed under Creative Commons 4.0

10.12.19Consumers in the UK deserve the best possible food safety standards from all suppliers in the food chain. However, up to one million consumers do suffer food-borne illnesses each year click here . This makes it absolutely vital to record and comply with food safety regulations throughout the entire food chain.

Farm to Fork Hygiene and Safety Recording for Part Cooked and Ready to Eat Foods

No matter where your food business is situated within the supply chain, there are sure to be legislative requirements in place. Even supplying fresh fruit and vegetables from farms to wholesaler markets or selling them via an onsite farm shop will mean identifying potential chemical or microbiological hazards and removing them to ensure foods are safe for consumers to eat click here. Food safety is not just the responsibility of any end of supply chain food business operator (FBO), although the end-user FBO is required to produce the appropriate Due Diligence Defence records when requested by environmental health officials.

The consultancy team here at Magna FHS Ltd recommend the following steps for safety recording of part cooked and ready to eat foods which are distributed from farms to suppliers or manufacturers and then on to restaurants, supermarkets and end-use consumers:

1. Ready to Eat Foods

Most FBOs supply ready to eat foods in some form or other; including salads, smoked fish, desserts, cheeses, and cooked meats. It's essential that all staff are trained in the correct ways to handle all ready to eat foods and that appropriate due diligence record keeping is in place. Just some of the essential workplace practices any food business operator needs to have in place include:

- Continual requirements for employees to wash hands between routine tasks such as handling raw and ready to eat foods. This will limit the spread of bacteria and allergens.
- Thorough cleaning of all equipment used for raw and ready to eat foods, such as slicers and vacuum packers. Ideally, all tasks connected with the preparation of raw and ready to eat foods should be carried out in separate, disinfected areas using different equipment.
- Chilling all ready to eat foods to required temperatures, and ensuring due diligence records of fridge and freezer temperatures are maintained.
- Washing and peeling all fruit, salads, and vegetables to remove any dirt or bacteria.

Find out more about potential hazards posed by ready to eat foods and recording the steps needed for compliance at Magna FHS Ltd.

2. Part Cooked Foods

It goes without saying that businesses selling or storing part cooked foods need to follow strict guidelines with regard to handling, preparation and reheating. Additional responsibilities include:

- Keeping part cooked foods in a separate refrigerator, freezer or chiller.
- Colour coding all knives, chopping boards and equipment that will be used for any part cooked foods.
- Regular checks on all stored foods, with cook-chill foods kept at temperatures of at least 3ºC and frozen foods stored at temperatures of -18ºC or below. Daily due diligence recording of appropriate temperatures will be required.
- Checking all use-by dates and operating a First in First out system, to ensure compliance with all food date codes.

One of the easiest ways to ensure your food business meets all due diligence requirements is to opt for the new Dued app from Magna FHS. Give us a quick call 07540 872146 or email here to discuss your food business operation in more detail and find out more ways we can help ensure the speediest, most accurate systems are in place for recording the safety procedures in place within your organisation.

 

 

//www.flickr.com/photos/11589283@N00/">Cheese Shop by missbossy licensed under Creative Commons 4.0

Wednesday, 04 December 2019 15:36

From Farm to Fork: Cooking and Cooling Foods

04.12.19 CThe safety of the food customers purchase in stores or eat in restaurants is absolutely vital; which means all growers, suppliers, and food outlets need to be conscious about food safety and required legislation. Temperature control can be a tricky aspect of cooking any food if you aren't familiar with how it should be done. Cooking foods and cooling foods is easy once you know how - but until then, food safety could become compromised if you do things wrong.

Compliance when Cooking and Cooling Foods

All UK food businesses need to be registered with applicable local authorities which will entail regular inspections of the premises and potential food hygiene ratings. In addition, most food businesses will require HACCP risk analysis and hazard identification solutions (https://www.magna-fhs.com/news/item/244-what-does-haccp-mean-in-catering) in place in order to demonstrate compliance with food safety legislation and ensure foods can be traced back to sources, such as farmers and growers. Read on to discover some tips that you should keep in mind when cooking and cooling down your food in line with The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013, the Food Hygiene (Wales) Regulations 2006, and the Food Hygiene Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006.

Cooking

When cooking foods, you should aim to follow instructions on the packaging provided. If there is no packaging, always ensure that the oven is preheated before use, and that water is boiling hot when adding rice, pasta or potato to it. This will ensure that heat can get through to the middle as quickly as possible. Here are some general rules of thumb when it comes to cooking foods:

- When storing hot foods, they should be stored above 63-degree Celsius; not doing so will allow bacteria to grow
- Aim to dry vegetables, meats, and legumes before you cook them; this will stop moisture changing the cooking time
- Research what the ideal internal heat of meat should be in order to ensure that the meat isn't raw and thus carrying risks of bacteria. If needs be, invest in a meat thermometer.

Cooling

Following the cooking of your food, if you plan to freeze it then you should let it cool as soon as possible. This is in order to minimise the length of time that bacteria will have to grow on the food's surface. The optimal situation is when food cools to less than 8 degrees celsius in 90 minutes or less. When cooling foods, there are also many other tips that you can follow:

- Cover your food in order to prevent contamination
- Move your food to a part of the kitchen that is away from any sources of heat
- Divide your food into smaller amounts to distribute the heat finer
- Place your food in a shallow dish, for the same reason as above
- For starchy foods like rice and pasta, running cold water can cool it down faster and remove excess starch
- Blow cold air across the surface of the food using a fan
- Place hot foods into a container and keep the container in an ice-water bath

Full Compliance and Traceability on the go

Whether it's related to the regular recording of chiller and freezer temperatures at your food business or the measures taken to reduce risks of cross-contamination of cooked and raw foods, all business owners need to stay up to speed with their legal requirements and learn the most cost-efficient ways of compliance. With the Dued App from Magna FHS, it's much easier to record due diligence and provide full traceability when cooking and cooling food. Find out more by contacting us here

 

 

//www.flickr.com/photos/79892177@N00/">Candy Thermometer by Steven Jackson Photography licensed under Creative Commons 4.0

Wednesday, 04 December 2019 13:15

From Farm to Fork: Freezing and Reheating Foods

04.12.19This latest blog post in our 'From Farm to Fork' series is focused on explaining the important pieces of information that you should know when freezing or reheating foods. Read on to discover what foods can and can't be frozen, the guidelines surrounding reheating food, and if there is any legislation in place regarding the freezing and reheating of food.

 


Freezing

There are many foods that you can freeze to reuse at a later date. These include:

- Cooked rice and pasta
- Herbs, nuts, and flour
- Meat (either cooked or still raw)
- Sliced bananas
- Bread (either sliced or intact as a loaf)
- Stock and wine
- Butter and flour

Ideally, each piece of food that you're freezing should be kept separately in order to prevent cross-contamination. This is especially important when it comes to raw meat products as, if they're handled incorrectly, it could lead to other food types such as vegetables being dangerous to cook with. Vegetables can often be eaten raw, which can be a food safety worry if they're contaminated with meat juices.

Reheating

Any cooked food that can be frozen will also need to be reheated before consumption. With most foods such as carbohydrates or fruits, if you haven't properly reheated your food then you'll just end up with a somewhat unpleasant crunch in the middle of your meal. This could ruin your meal, but it's not likely to do any harm.

However, in the case of meat-based products, failing to properly reheat your meal could allow bacteria to survive, making improperly reheated meaty meals something of a health risk. When you're reheating a meat product, you need to ensure that it is hot throughout in order to be certain of everyone's safety.

Legislation

The law around food freezing is laid out in the government's Food Safety Practices, which is mostly based around businesses doing their due diligence in terms of freezing food products as soon as they're developed. Freezers strictly need to be kept between -18 and -21 degrees, and raw and cooked food needs to be kept apart. In terms of reheating cooked food, the internal temperature needs to reach 75 degrees for two minutes to ensure all of the bacteria has died.

Paying due diligence when freezing food for later consumption has just become much easier with the HACCP-approved app, Dued. Completely digital, you can access forms and record updates, ensuring your food is as safe as possible. To find out more, visit the Google Play Store. For all other food safety concerns or help in training your staff in food safety, browse our website or call our dedicated support team at 07540 872146.

 

 

//www.flickr.com/photos/35342879@N00/">Freezer by milkisprotein licensed under Creative Commons 4.0

30.10.19Last week we talked about the importance of tracking food from farm to fork; starting with the farmers, through to the distributors, and finally to the consumer. This week, we're going to look at the onsite storage of dry food, chilled foods, and frozen foods. UK legislation makes it clear that food must be stored in ways that will not cause harm to the consumer; rules about UK food storage and preparation are laid out in the Food Safety Act 1990. EU Food Hygiene Regulations also set out clear rules for the way meat and other fresh products that are bought and sold within the EU must be prepared, processed, and stored.

The law

Much of the UK's law regarding food storage relates to the temperature that foods can be stored or displayed at for varying lengths of time. These temperature regulations are laid out in the EC Regulation 852/2004, the EC Regulation 853/2004, and The Food Safety & Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013. These regulations set out the kinds of foods which should be kept chilled, including dairy products, cooked or smoked fish, prepared ready to eat foods, and uncooked pastry products. In general, 8°C is considered to be a satisfactory chill temperature for these products when they are not being processed or handled.

Storing food at home

Of course, it's important for consumers to store food correctly once they've brought it home, too. Dry food should be stored in sealed bags, tins, or other containers, in a cool and dark place. Foods which need to be chilled, such as fresh meat and dairy, should be stored at a temperature of below 5°C in the fridge. If needed, most foods can be frozen (below -18°C) to increase their shelf life, though this shelf life isn't indefinite. After between three and 12 months, the quality of the food will start to decrease, so it's preferable to use freezing as a short-term solution.

The DUED revolution

DUED is an HACCP approved app that helps to document the most important aspects of the farm to fork journey, and it can be used by food producers and distributors to use a due diligence system which is 100% digital. Time and space-efficient, the DUED app is set to revolutionise the way we record due diligence information. To download the app or read more about it, click here

 

 

//www.flickr.com/photos/96401256@N02/">Freezer full groceries by tiefkuehlfan licensed under Creative Commons 4.0

21.10.19From a food safety perspective, the ability to trace a product from “farm to fork” is incredibly important. This allows retailers and businesses to respond rapidly to any food quality/safety incidents, thereby minimising consumer exposure to sub-standard or potentially dangerous products. Under UK legislation, all food businesses must be able to identify where their raw materials (including packaging) came from and where their products are going to. Ideally, each firm should be able to take one step forward and one step back in the chain, apart from businesses who sell directly to the end consumer. Product-specific legislation also applies to certain foods including beef, fish and genetically modified crops.



1. Farmer The farmer is responsible for growing the crops/raising the livestock which eventually makes its way to our plate. Depending on agricultural practices, produce may encounter pesticides, herbicides or antibiotics. This should be documented by the farmer.



3. Distributor Once processed and packaged, food is ready to be distributed by a wholesaler. Wholesalers deliver food to supermarkets, local butchers, restaurants and more. Detailed logs, including temperature during transit and delivery notes with itemised lists of goods in transit should be kept to identify any potential cross-contamination.



5. Consumer The consumer is the end of the chain. Any foods purchased by a consumer should contain clearly legible packaging which can be used to identify where the product has come from further down the chain.

Food Safety in the digital era

A new app, known as DUED (Due Diligence Information) helps to document the key processes in the farm-to-fork chain. It’s a HACCP-approved app which allows food producers to go completely paperless and instead make use of a cloud-based due diligence system. It’s the perfect way to save time, storage space and reduce the potential for contamination, and features over 20 different metrics for recording product data. For more information, or to download the app, click here

 

 

//www.flickr.com/photos/160866001@N07/">Packaging of the new McDonalds Burgers Big Vegan TS in Germany with soy and wheat protein based patty with Lollo bionda salad and vegetables by verchmarco licensed under Creative Commons 4.0

Thursday, 17 October 2019 07:44

What does HACCP mean in catering?

11.10.19You're probably already aware that HACCP involves controlling supplies and ingredients coming into a catering business and what is done with them thereafter. However, in this blog, we're going to break this down further, taking a closer look at what HACCP means in catering.

Who does it affect?

Catering businesses which will require a plan based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principle include premises serving food, such as hotels, public houses, restaurants, takeaways, sandwich bars, coffee shops and street vendors. However, it also extends to outside catering companies, hospitals and any other institution with catering operations.

The approach used by HACCP on food safety concentrates a caterer’s attention on the causes of food safety hazards. Allowing a caterer to control and identify safety hazards, there are 7 principles to follow, including conducting a hazard analysis, establishing critical limits and establishing corrective action.

The basic practices of safety in catering

Let's take a look at some best practices to bear in mind if you work in catering or own a catering company.

Proper storage of foodstuffs

Arranging food properly in the fridge reduces the rate of spoiling and contamination. Ready to eat food should be stored on the top two shelves (dairy at the top then cooked food below), followed by raw meat and fish in sealed containers. The most important rule is to follow is to store raw products below, never above, your ready-to-eat or cooked products.

Maintaining optimum fridge/freezer temperatures

Many kinds of food items need to be stored in a fridge or freezer to keep them fresh and safe to consume. A catering fridge should be kept below 5 degrees Celsius and freezers should be maintained at -17.7 degrees Celsius as most of the microbes that cause contamination of refrigerated food cannot thrive under these conditions.

Inspecting employee hygiene

Not only does food have to be thoroughly inspected, but employees who prepare and serve it need to be too. Caterers should not wear artificial nails or have uncovered hair when working around food. Their clothing should be clean and replaced if it becomes dirty.

For the purposes of maintaining high standards of food safety, every stage in the food production process should be carried out with due diligence. Magna Food Health and Safety can provide you with more information on HACCP - get in touch here to find out more.

 

 

//www.flickr.com/photos/90489966@N04/">Catering 2013 by matchfitskills licensed under Creative Commons 4.0

Friday, 04 October 2019 09:15

How to write a HACCP plan

03.10.19The first thing to know about a HACCP plan is that it takes a team. There are several steps in the process, and each step should be run past another person at the very least. This is because it is easy for one person to forget about something, or miss the relevance of a certain location, let us take a look in more detail.

What is a HACCP Plan?

HACCP means Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and it basically refers to working out what might go wrong with your food safety and taking steps to prevent these things from happening. Therefore, the first step of any HACCP plan is to work on the CCP bit and pinpoint all the critical control points – steps in your food production process where things can go badly wrong if not carefully planned.

How to start

Make a list or a diagram of the process your food products follow into and around your kitchen to the customer’s plate. This will be something like:
Loaded onto van at supplier – unloaded from van – brought to kitchen – checked and signed for – put away in appropriate time frame – (defrosted) – prepared for cooking – cooked – kept warm/ rapidly cooled/ served to customer.

Control what you can

Obviously, you cannot control the way your goods are looked after by your supplier or the driver, so checking your goods as they arrive may be a critical control point. Accepting the goods and getting them into the fridges or freezers as soon as possible can mean that you miss a problem. Examine the outer packaging, making sure it is fairly clean, with no leaks coming through from the food inside. Open the packaging in a decontamination zone and bin it, checking the food with a temperature probe and by eye, looking for anything untoward. Only then should it be ticked off and placed into the freezers – and this must all take place within 20 minutes of the food being offloaded, so preparation and speed are key. For this reason, try to arrange deliveries for quiet periods when you can stop what you are doing and devote instant time to the delivery.

Attention to detail: try to cover everything

Repeat this sort of detailed analysis for each of the steps, making sure that highly detailed instructions are easily accessible by your staff member who might have to cover you one day. Keep the information in a file that should always be in the kitchen with details of any physical or online food safety training that you or your staff have undertaken, and all your records of fridge and freezer and hot hold temperatures.

Work with all the members of your kitchen and ask them all to give you some input into the HACCP plan – this is one area of kitchen strategy where too many cooks will not spoil the end result!

To find out more please contact us here

 

 

//www.flickr.com/photos/159770474@N08/">freelancer to do checklist credit to https://1dayreview.com by 1DayReview licensed under Creative Commons 4.0

Friday, 27 September 2019 13:57

What are the four simple steps to Food Safety?

27.09.19Thousands of people are reported to have food poisoning in the UK every year; in 2018, there were large numbers of such cases. Every business or individual involved in the production, processing, handling and distribution of food is responsible for ensuring food safety.

There are four basic Food safety principles that when followed, reduce the risk of food contamination. These four steps, clean, separate, cook and chill, help exercise caution in the food industry.

1) Clean

Cleanliness is the first countermeasure against contaminants and infection-causing microbes in the kitchen and food processing plants.

First, you must ensure that your hands are thoroughly cleaned before touching any food material or tools involved in food preparation. Secondly, clean and rinse food products such as vegetables and fruits appropriately. Finally, clean and dry all the surfaces, utensils and appliances before working on the food.

2) Separate

Separate raw from ready-to-eat foods during shopping, preparation, serving and storing. The goal of separating raw meat from fruits, for example, is to prevent cross-contamination. Food products that require cooking contain dangerous micro-organisms such as infectious bacteria, which can be transferred to the ready-to-eat foods through contact.

3) Cook

Most animal-based food products, such as meats, eggs, and milk, have to be cooked before serving. The cooking not only adds flavour and aroma but crucially kills any potentially harmful microbes. Food must be cooked at the recommended temperature and duration, otherwise, the decontamination becomes ineffective.

Refer to the recommended minimum cooking temperatures chart to learn about the different cooking temperatures for various foods. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the food while cooking regularly.

4) Chill

Storing food at low temperatures slow down the growth of harmful bacteria. Food should not be left out for more than four hours at temperatures above 8°C. The refrigerator should be kept at 5°C or less. The recommended freezer temperature is -18°C or below. Also, remember to check the recommended storage duration for your foods when chilled or frozen.

Get in touch with us here and learn more about food safety and HACCP compliance. Magna Food, Health & Safety is a Food Safety consultant service assisting food businesses achieve acceptable Food Safety levels through training and implementation of safety management systems.

 

 

//www.flickr.com/photos/35068899@N03/">Food Safety using Nuclear Techniques (05710015) by IAEA Imagebank licensed under Creative Commons 4.0

Tuesday, 24 September 2019 09:49

How to make a HACCP plan

20.09.19How to make a HACCP plan

The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a system that is recognised internationally, implemented to reduce safety risks in food. HACCP involves the identification and control of potential chemical, biological and physical hazards at specific points in food handling processes. It is advisable that any company dealing in the handling, processing or manufacturing of food products uses HACCP to improve their food safety.

A solid HACCP plan will ensure that there are no hazards that go unnoticed. Below are the steps involved in the development of an effective HACCP plan.

1. Gather an expert team

The first step in a HACCP plan is gathering experts from departments such as engineering, production, sanitation, quality assurance, and food microbiology to create your team.

2. Analysis of the product

At this stage, the HACCP team issues a description of the food; including its ingredients, processing methods, and the distribution information which covers whether it is to be distributed while refrigerated or at ambient temperatures.

3. Identification of the consumers and intended use

At this point, the expected use of the food is described, and the intended consumers are also identified (infants, elderly, or teenagers etc.).

4. Construction of a flow diagram to describe the process

A flow diagram should depict all the steps that the food undergoes during the production process. This stage can also include the steps immediately before and after the processing occurs.

5. Confirmation of the flow diagram on-site

The HACCP team should review the flow diagram on-site to verify that the processes depicted in it are the ones that are actually performed. Any modifications to the flow diagram are made at this point.

6. Conducting a hazard analysis

This stage involves conducting a hazard analysis where all potential hazards for each step are listed and appropriate control measures are suggested.

7. Determination of the critical control points

Critical control points are points at which the team can apply control in order to prevent or eliminate a potential food safety hazard, or reduce it to a level that is acceptable.

8. Establishment of the critical limits for each CCP

Critical limits are the minimum and/or maximum values to which a chemical, physical or biological parameter should be controlled at a critical control point to prevent, reduce or eliminate the occurrence of a food safety hazard.

9. Establishment of a monitoring system for each CCP

Monitoring involves the planning of measurement and observation sequences which are aimed at ensuring the CPP is under control. Monitoring also enables the production of accurate records to be used for future verifications.

10. Establishment of corrective actions

Corrective actions are measures put in place beforehand to prevent any hazardous foods from reaching consumers. They are the last resort when preventative measures fail.

11. Establishment of verification procedures

These are processes which ensure that the HACCP plan is valid and that it is operating according to plan.

12. Establishment of record keeping and documentation

An effective HACCP system should contain records such as a summary of the hazard analysis and the rationale for identifying the control measures.

For a HACCP plan to be effectively implemented, the management and the staff should all be committed to ensuring it is working successfully.

 

 

//www.flickr.com/photos/147875007@N03/">Business people in a meeting by Rawpixel Ltd licensed under Creative Commons 4.0

Page 1 of 10