Keeping the food in your restaurant safe requires knowing what can hinder your progress. Here are the top five food safety mistakes to avoid for restaurants.

According to the CDC, over 48 million people each year get sick from foodborne illnesses. Unfortunately, they arrive from food safety mistakes.

If you’re a restaurateur, you know that handling food is a top priority to maintain notoriety. However, pathogens can come in contact with food during distribution.

Although you can’t do much about pathogens, there are still several food safety practices you should avoid to minimize employee and customer health risks. Let’s take a look at them below.

1. Food Contamination

One of the common food safety mistakes is cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods. If you’re handling raw food, you should avoid touching other foods and cooking equipment. It can lead to the spread of diseases such as Salmonella or Norovirus.

To avoid cross-contamination, practice safe food storage by storing food in containers with tight-fitting lids or wrapping them in foil paper. It can keep raw food liquids from leaking.

Furthermore, try to store raw foods and ready-to-eat foods away from each other. If you can’t, stack your prepared foods at the top of your fridge and raw foods at the bottom.

2. Improper Handwashing Technique

The focus on handwashing has increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has always been a staple in the food industry.

Since many people are handling various types of foods, it’s easy for contamination to occur. But with thorough handwashing, you can avoid illnesses. Here is the proper handwashing technique:

  1. Wet your hands with warm water
  2. Lather your hands with soap, including the back, under your nails, and between your fingers
  3. Scrub them for 20 seconds
  4. Rinse and then dry with a clean towel 

It may seem tedious, but following this simple technique can keep others safe and healthy.

3. Incorrectly Cooked Food

Every food has internal food cooking temperatures that it needs to be served at to avoid food poisoning. That’s why meat like chicken can’t get served raw.

Other meats like beef, pork, or lamb, should get served at an internal temperature of 165° F. However, if you’re working with seafood, like shrimp or lobster, you should cook it until the flesh is white.

Guessing when the food is cooked can be detrimental. Instead, use a food thermometer to ensure your food is served at the correct temperature.

4. Not Labeling Foods Correctly

Whenever you cook food and store it, it’s essential to label it with a date so you can determine when to throw it out. Without correctly labeled foods, there may be confusion as to if food is edible.

Food should be stored for a maximum of 3 days. If you’re unsure about the length of time it’s been refrigerated, follow the classic rule, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

However, it falls on you to train your staff to label food properly. You’ll also need to follow guidelines from HACCP and HARPC. 

One deals with seafood, while the other focuses on generals foods. Follow the link provided to learn about more differences between HACCP vs HARPC.

Avoid These Food Safety Mistakes

As you can see, various food safety mistakes can hinder your restaurant. Follow our tips above to ensure your restaurant continues to keep customers and employees safe.

For more food safety guidelines, check out our other blog posts.