Are you sure that your employees are aware of legislation regarding food hygiene and their responsibilities in the work environment and to their colleagues and customers?
Unless you have a rating of 5 from the Food Standards Agency then there is room for improvement.
Human beings are creatures of habit and these aren’t legislated so some of these habits may compromise your business’ food hygiene record without an employee feeling that they’ve acted in any way out of their normal manner.
Do you let staff use their mobile phones in the workspace?
Do staff always wash their hands with soap and water?
Is this hand wash as thorough as it should be or a few seconds?
Have you got a team member who touches dirty and washed vegetables without washing their hands between processes? They could be transferring dirt to the clean food.
Are refrigerated goods left out at room temperature for longer than they should be?
Are meats or fish placed on a high shelf in a fridge which means it could cross contaminate other items?
Do team members blow their noses or bite their nails and not wash their hands before food preparation?
Some of these actions could be caused by what the employee does at home.
Whilst they may have grown up with the saying “a peck of dirt doesn’t hurt anyone,” this logic cannot be used in a business premises that needs to comply with regulations.
“You don’t want to wash your hands too much. It makes you less resistant to germs.” Actually, washing your hands means that others won’t have to come in to contact with any germs that the employee may be carrying.
If they have a cold or the merest sniffle a customer’s meal could carry an extra health consideration.
It’s true that washing your hands repeatedly can remove the body’s natural ability to fight germs until they recover, this takes a short time, but aiming to not wash hands is a serious food hygiene risk that could cost an employer his or her reputation.
“My mobile’s clean,” may be said by many an affronted staff member if challenged but research has proven that a large percentage of food hygiene issues are caused by staff not taking adequate care.
In the US a food hygiene report detailed a worrying finding recently, 1 in 6 mobile phones in food preparation areas carried faecal matter. Therefore, is it worth the risk? No.
So how can you re-educate team members without confrontation or morale quashing lectures? Simply book them on to food hygiene and HACCP training with an expert like Food Alert in London. (HACCP = Hazards Analysis Critical Control Points.) These courses inform people about their errors without referring to anyone personally.
HACCP courses give students the knowledge and ability to identify, analyse and recognise risks and to initiate corrective behaviours. After HACCP training you should find that an employee changes their approach and thinks about food hygiene in a business sense.