The Four C’s
THE FOUR C’s
If food is contaminated it can contaminate other food, utensils, work surfaces etc. This is called cross contamination. Staff need to follow the correct procedures for storing, using and cooking food. Cross contamination can be avoided by: keeping dirty utensils and crockery away from clean ones; not mixing old food with new or raw food with cooked; using sterilised cloths for cleaning work surfaces; washing hands at every stage of the food handling and preparation process. Using colour coded utensils and chopping boards for different kinds of food prevents cross contamination, e.g. red for meat, blue for fish, green for vegetables. Keeping food preparation away from pets and tackling any infestations by vermin such as mice and rats.
By keeping food preparation areas and utensils clean lowers the risk of contaminating and cross contaminating food. Understand that certain raw foods need to be cleaned and washed before they are eaten. Clear up and wash up immediately.
Keeping food at the correct low temperatures usually lowers the risk of them deteriorating. It also lowers the risk of bacteria multiplying and contamination occurring. Refrigerators should be kept at lower than 4 centigrade to just above 0 centigrade and freezers at least at -18 centigrade. Food which has been frozen once should not be refrozen as this poses a high risk of food poisoning. Keep cooked foods separate from raw foods and on shelves higher than uncooked foods in the refrigerator.
Know that some bacteria can remain on food or reproduce if the cooking temperature and time are insufficient. Bacteria multiply rapidly particularly between 4 centigrade and 60 centigrade and the cooking time is important to ensure that any bacteria present is killed.