Food Preparation on Commercial Vessels

Food Safety SupervisorFood that is freshly cooked aboard and served straight away has less chance of becoming unsafe or unsuitable than food that is pre-cooked and then taken aboard to the event. A Food Safety Supervisor must be aware of the challenges that face food handling staff on commercial vessels.

Never use the same utensils for raw meats, seafood and foods that are ready to eat unless they have been thoroughly cleaned, sanitised and dried. Cooked food and other food that is ready to eat, such as salads should always be placed on separate, clean, dry serving dishes.

Use tongs and other implements when preparing food that will not be cooked before it is eaten, such as salads and sandwiches. Gloves can be used, but remember that they should be used for one task only. When you start the next task, make sure you have new gloves on. Remember: never wash gloves – always throw them out!

Always cook food thoroughly. Do not partially cook food and then warm it up later. Cook chicken, sausages and hamburgers until juices run clear – steaks can be cooked to preference.

Thorough cooking will reduce dangerous bacteria to safe levels. But remember that some food poisoning bacteria can protect themselves from cooking and while they will not be present in enough numbers to make someone sick just after the food is cooked, they can start growing again if the cooked food is left at temperatures between 5-60°C for too long. This is why minimising time at unsafe temperatures is so important. Wherever possible, try to cook food as close to the time that you will be serving or selling it. This reduces the chance of the food becoming contaminated after it has been cooked and does not give pathogens enough time to grow to dangerous levels on the cooked food before it is eaten.

Obviously, preparing, cooking and serving food is more challenging on board a commercial vessel but diligent Food Safety Supervisors will overcome these obstacles by implementing sound food handling practices.