We’ve recently seen a trend towards serving food in innovative ways as establishment owners offer authentic dining opportunities to their consumers. Irrespective of how an eatery decides to serve its dishes, the food hygiene levels must be exemplary for consumer and business confidence. There can be no compromises.
The popularity of wooden boards for presentation purposes in food outlets presents hazards which must be managed effectively or cross contamination, food poisoning, loss of reputation and considerable fines could result.
Serving dishes on attractive but unhygienic or damaged wooden boards which house contaminants directly contravenes legislation.
A recent example of a food hygiene lapse comes from a restaurant situated in Birmingham. Of the food safety breaches noted by Birmingham City Council during an inspection was the establishment’s failure to satisfactorily clean the wooden boards they were serving their food on. The risk of cross contamination and therefore to the health of the consumers was significant. A £50000 fine was applied in relation to the restaurant’s food hygiene issues.
This case increases consumer concerns across the country and focuses other businesses using wooden boards on food hygiene optimisation.
Peter Christopher-Ohrt, Managing Director Technical Services, Food Alert Ltd, comments: “The use of wooden chopping boards and equipment is not illegal; however, the boards must be capable of being cleaned and, of course, remain sanitary and hygienic at all times.”
“Wooden equipment should be smooth, without any grooves. Indentations and uneven surfaces allow food, dirt and bacteria to accumulate, therefore posing a significant risk of food poisoning to the consumer.”
“Equipment must food grade and ideally be made from a single piece of hard wood. A method for identifying equipment for ‘Ready To Eat’ (RTE) and non RTE foods should be present. Damaged and split wooden equipment must be repaired or replaced immediately.”
He adds, “Regular oiling of the equipment will maintain its visual appearance. To improve hygiene and safety, food grade paper sheets can be put between the equipment and food.”
Thorough cleaning is essential to food safety maintenance and it should be remembered that placing wooden items in to a dishwasher can cause splits. Items should be washed with detergent and disinfected; attention must be directed towards immediate eradication of cross contamination issues or penalties expected.
Food Alert are a noted food safety training and consultancy firm based in London. Run by experts with expansive knowledge and experience, their food hygiene courses for all levels of staff are accredited by the CIEH or RSPH, including CIEH level 2 Award Food Safety in Catering for staff and the RSPH Level 4 Award in Managing Food Safety for owners and management. HACCP food safety management systems training, managerial and health and safety courses tailored to industry requirements and current legislation are also offered in a classroom or online format.
The wise investment in knowledge acquisition and the employment of stringent practices should negate worries about an eatery finding itself in the same position as the Birmingham restaurant.
For more information please contact Food Alert’s team.