Foodborne illnesses are serious business. If you own a restaurant, one of your biggest concerns should be limiting your risk of exposure to foodborne illnesses for both your patrons as well as your employees. Doing everything you can to reduce your risk and keep it under control is one of your most important responsibilities as a restaurant owner. It can also be the cause of devastating financial loss if an outbreak of foodborne illness is ever associated with your business. In addition to having proper insurance coverage, you should also do everything within your power to be fully prepared when it comes to keeping your risk low.
Educate Your Staff
One of the first things you must do is educate your staff. There are certification programs that are available that will allow them to learn what they need to know to be effective when it comes to keeping your risk low. These certification programs not only teach your staff the basics about foodborne illnesses, they also provide them with the skills required for deep cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and utensils that are often used in the kitchen and dining areas. For your staff to be fully prepared, providing them with the education they need to do their jobs correctly is important. Allow them to receive the certifications they need. It is beneficial for you and very rewarding for them.
The Dangers of Raw/Undercooked Foods
It is important to do what you can to educate your customers as well. Many will order foods that are raw or undercooked. This is commonly one of the most high-risk areas where foodborne illnesses are found. Warn your customers about the dangers of eating raw or uncooked foods. The final decision will be up to them; however, it is up to you to ensure they know the risks before placing their order. Encourage them to choose foods that are properly cooked and prepared.
Cross-contamination occurs when you place raw or unprepared foods on unwashed surfaces and then touch other items. Transferring germs from one surface or item to another is one of the quickest ways to spread the germs that are often associated with foodborne illnesses. Properly cleaning each surface or utensil after you use it is essential. You must also wash your hands after you finish with each type of food, especially the meat. Cross-contamination in the kitchen is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness.
Proper and Frequent Handwashing
Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to eliminate cross-contamination and the spread of germs associated with foodborne illnesses. Using mild soap and warm water is an essential part of maintaining a clean restaurant environment. With proper handwashing techniques and remembering to wash your hands every time you finish with a specific task, you will be able to lower your risk of not only foodborne illnesses but other illnesses as well.
Extra Cleaning Precautions
Go beyond just cleaning your kitchen and dining areas. Cleaning is fine, but you should also be sanitizing and disinfecting your work areas as often as possible. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with what it means to perform a “deep cleaning.” Utilize these practices often, and you will be able to reduce your risk of foodborne illnesses tremendously. State health guidelines require certain cleaning practices to be performed daily. To make sure you are fully protected against various forms of bacteria, sanitizing and disinfecting your kitchen and dining areas on a daily basis is highly recommended. This is in addition to the surface cleaning you do throughout the day.
No matter how hard you try to eliminate your risk of foodborne illness, there is always a chance of someone getting sick. If you have concerns or are interested in learning more about what you can do to keep your risk low, contact our agents at RMS Insurance Brokerage, LLC. We have the answers you are looking for and will gladly help you take the precautions you need to reduce your risk.