AJAR.id – Hello Ajarian! Whenever a risk of food contamination has been identified, it must be addressed promptly. It is impossible to identify/predict the hazards that might occur so the following is a representative list of the possible corrective action that may need to take place. You will note many ‘corrective actions’ apply to more than one problem/hazard.
How can food handlers minimize the contamination of hot foods?
In relation to hazards relating to ‘Cooling of hot food’, corrective action may include:
- Ensuring the Two-Step rule for the cooling of potentially hazardous hot foods is being applied.
- Helping hot foods to cool down by placing hot pots/containers into iced water baths – to speed up the cooling process.
- Stirring wet dishes – to help release heat.
- Covering cooling dishes – to protect against contamination.
- Setting clocks, watches or alarms to notify of required timeframes – so cooling foods are not forgotten and left ‘too long’ at room/cooling temperatures.
- Making sure new staff at any change of shift are notified in relation to any food that is cooling – so they can take over management of the cooling food.
- Verifying thermometer readings – by calibrating food thermometers at least every six months.
- Training staff as required in cooling procedures.
- Placing signs around the workplace to remind staff of what is required in relation to the cooling of food.
Contamination is not only occurring because of improper handling when cooling the hot food, but also consider to store and hold the hot food properly. Corrective action possibly relating to ‘Storing and holding of hot food’ may include:
- Training staff as required – in relation to practices such as food handling, heating of food, food display, stock rotation, and cleaning protocols.
- Revamping hot holding procedures – to ensure food stays at or above 60°C.
- Checking operational efficiency and accuracy of all hot holding equipment – and providing professional service/maintenance to units as required.
- Pre-heating all food properly (to 75°C) prior to placing it into hot holding devices – pre-heated food must be placed into pre-heated units.
- Ensuring temperatures of all hot held food are being taken as required using a properly calibrated thermometer – to verify correct holding temperatures are being achieved.
- Revising display protocols if tags, price signs, product descriptions are actually touching food.
- Revamping times when bain-maries and pie warmers are turned on – turning them on earlier to allow sufficient time for them to get to 60°C or above.
- Operating bain-maries and/or pie warmers at higher settings so as temperature of food reaches 60°C.
Whenever any action is taken to address a hazard/out-of-control situation this action should be documented on a ‘Corrective Action Sheet/Report’ or similar.
Recording corrective action taken should not be regarded as an ‘admission of guilt’ in relation to an out-of-control situation – rather, it should be seen as a positive indication you were actively monitoring food safety and took appropriate action when the need to do so arose.
Read more: How to Minimize Contamination when Prepare and Cook Foods
Nurturing You to Grow®
Written by: Alan Hickman
Subject Matter: Comply with workplace hygiene procedures