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Food and Kitchen Safety: Why It Matters

Food safety is important for many reasons, the number one reason? Everyone eats. Food that is handled improperly can make you sick. As a matter of fact, statistically 1 in 6 Americans experience some type of foodborne illness each year. The FDA states, “While the American food supply is among the safest in the world, the Federal government estimates that there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses annually. And each year these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.”

However, the numbers may realistically be much higher, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that in the United States alone, food poisoning causes about 76 million illnesses, 300,000 hospitalizations, and up to 5,000 deaths each year. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) asserts that foodborne illnesses can cause long-lasting disability and even death. Clearly, proper food handling is vital. According to DATA USA, 12.1 million Americans work in the restaurant industry, and an additional 140 thousand work in the food processing industry. Having a food safety training course is the starting place to ensuring food is handled in the safest way possible.

Four safe food handling steps include:

  • Clean: proper handwashing, keeping tools and surfaces clean and dry
  • Separate: keep meat and other ingredients apart from each other
  • Cook: properly check internal food temperature
  • Chill: monitor refrigerator and freezer temperatures

Following the food safety guidelines when handling and preparing food is a must. This includes washing your hands often, keeping meat separate from other foods, cooking food to the proper temperature, and appropriate food storage. All foodservice employees must be educated in the best practices for handling food.

Topics Covered in our Food Safety & Personal Hygiene Training Program:

  • Understanding health codes
  • Hand washing & personal hygiene
  • Cleaning kitchen surfaces and spaces
  • How and why to separate foods
  • Proper cooking temperatures
  • Proper methods for chilling food
  • Additional safety rules

In addition to the obvious risks involved with foodservice, there are less evident risks that employers and employees should take into account. Safety training that highlights these hazards is also an important consideration. For example, some common risks in the kitchen include slips, burns, fire, electrical issues, improper handling of kitchen equipment. Accidents happen; however, excellent safety training can prepare workers with good hazard management skills. In addition to the Food Safety & Personal Hygiene Training we offer a Food Service Safety Orientation Training Program that covers many kitchen hazards that workers need to navigate safely on a day-to-day basis.

Food Service Safety Orientation Training Program Topics:

  • Slips, Trips & Falls
  • Lifting & Posture
  • Fire Safety
  • Burns
  • Electrical Safety
  • Chemical Safety
  • Knives, Slicers & Other Sharp Items
  • Personal Protective Equipment & Clothing
  • Housekeeping
  • First Aid

The importance of food and kitchen safety cannot be overstated. Of course, those with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, elderly people, and the very young are at greatest risk of the most serious consequences from most foodborne illnesses. However, some organisms that cause illnesses actually pose serious threats to everyone. Additionally, accidents caused by a lack of training or awareness can be prevented. It is the responsibility of every employer to ensure that their employees have the resources they need to protect themselves and others.

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