Displaying and Serving Food Safely

Food Safety SupervisorAll venues must be aware of the high-risk practice of self-service and display of food.  If venues employ this practice, strict controls must be put in place to avoid contamination.  Here are just a few of the risks involved with serving food in an open display.

Bacterial contamination

  • Food poisoning can occur if food is stored too long in the temperature danger zone of 5° to 60°

  • Mixing new and old batches of food can also spread food poisoning bacteria

  • Poor food-handling, such as not washing hands or wearing gloves before preparation

  • Hot food that has not been cooked through and is then placed in hot holding units can cause food poisoning bacteria to multiply

  • Storing hot food below 60° will also cause bacteria to multiply.  Bain-maries and hot holding units are not designed to store hot food safely

  • Overloading hot food holding units will cause some food to be heated at lower temperature, thus increasing the risk of bacterial contamination

Tips for displaying and serving food

  • Audit your food storage equipment and ensure that all equipment is functioning, and make adjustments where necessary

  • Using separate display units and physical barriers between raw, cooked and ready to eat food, is a great way of preventing contamination

  • Ensure all kitchen utensils and food preparation tools are sanitised and are not used across multiple food items

  • Prevent packaged food from being damaged and exposed

  • Dispose of any single-use items after they have been in contact with food

  • Ensure that ingredients and pre-prepared food have not expired

  • Serve reheated food as quickly as possible, or store it at 60°

  • Provide accurate product information readily available for customers with allergies

  • Prepare food with known allergens separately from other dishes, and train staff to handle enquiries about allergens

Enrolling in a Food Safety Supervisor course is advisable for employees working within a food preparation role.  Reduce food poisoning by learning about correct food handling procedures, and understand your obligations under current legislation.