Keeping Guests Healthy – The Importance of Sanitation in the Catering Industry
When you are planning a special event, whether it be a corporate catering gig, your wedding, or a cowboy bar event, you want to ensure that your food and beverages are not only amazing, but that your caterer is practicing proper sanitation habits. Nothing would be worse for your event than a breakout of a foodborne illness that could have been avoided. And any reputable caterer should be taking steps to ensure that they are clean, well-groomed, and doing their part to reduce the risk of illnesses.
At A’BriTin Catering & Hospitality, we take sanitation very seriously. Here are a few of the recommended best practices and health code recommendations that we follow to ensure you and your guests stay healthy.
The art of clean hands and handwashing
For a catering company, when it comes to health and safety, nothing is more critical than ensuring those hands stay clean and don’t come into contact with your food. To that point, did you know that there is an actual art to handwashing? If not, here is how anyone in the foodservice should wash their hands.
· Turn on the water with a dirty hand
· Soap your hands and rub the soap in for as long as it takes you to sing the ABCs in your head (in your head please unless you can really belt out a tune)
· Rinse your hands thoroughly under the running water
· Leaving the water running, grab a paper towel to dry your hands and discard the paper towel
· Grab another paper towel and use that to turn off the running water
In addition to utilizing proper handwashing techniques, servers, chefs, line cooks, and the entire catering team should ensure that gloves are only used when serving ready to eat foods such as sandwiches and salads. Gloved hands, while creating an impression of clean, doesn’t actually mean clean. Since hands need to be washed before and after serving food, bare hands are likely more sanitary. Those who wear gloves throughout the day aren’t likely washing their gloves between food services, and thus can be carrying accumulated bacteria around with them throughout the day.
We take handwashing very seriously. In fact, if we are going to be catering at a venue where sinks are not available, we bring our own portable free-flowing handwashing stations. With a free-flow unit, it means that dirty hands remain under the running water until clean and do not have to constantly press a button or turn a lever for more water to flow. And, we use the same handwashing techniques with our portable units as we do when we’re in a real kitchen.
Caterers don’t come to work sick
Though most employers would prefer that their employees stay away from work when sick, this can’t get much more important than in the food services and medical fields. Professional catering leaders should encourage staff that is unwell to stay home until they are better. At a minimum, and is generally expected for health code purposes, staff should remain home and away from any food prep or handling for a minimum of 24 hours after an illness event (since we like to talk about food… we’ll let you use your imagination on what that illness event might entail… assume it is not appetizing).
Pull back that hair
Nobody likes to see someone’s strand of hair in their food, even if it is their own. Though a single strand of hair won’t cause you to run for the emergency room for fear of staph bacteria, we agree with you – it’s gross. In most cases, the hair that you find in your food is your own, we do what we can to ensure that on our end, our hair stays on our heads.
While hairnets are not required in the catering industry in Minnesota, we know that it might not be appetizing to see a member of the catering staff with hair blowing around their face, or coming into close proximity to food. Therefore, we require that staff come to work with clean hair that if long, is pulled back into a ponytail during their work shift.
It’s getting hot in here
In addition to the above strategies that we take to ensure our catering services is clean and sanitary, we also take great lengths to ensure our food is served at the proper temperature. We ensure that all meats are cooked to the proper temperature first. Since pork is one of our specialties and is the primary source of catering for our This Little Piggy events, we ensure that it is always cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, we ensure that it is held at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.
Bacteria is everywhere, unfortunately. It’s in the soil, the air, the water, and in the foods we eat. When bacteria have the right combination of nutrients, moisture, time, and the right temperature, it can grow rapidly. Bacteria often increases exponentially to the point where it can cause serious (or at least unfortunate) illness. So, we take temperature checks very seriously and never travel to a site without a thermometer.
Distinctive Catering & Events aims for a clean kitchen and a safe catering experience – each and every time
We are the premiere catering provider for Minnesota businesses and residents looking to celebrate their most important occasions. Our mission is to listen to our clients and treat them like family to provide a meaningful, trusting, and lasting relationship.
We have the right brand for any catering need and bring experience in all types and sizes of events. Whether it be buffet style, a formal sit-down dinner, or a series of stimulating and tantalizing food stations, you and your guests will be amazed by the core values, colorful food presentation, and professionalism of A'BriTin Catering & Hospitality from beginning to end. Our ultimate goal is to complement your important day with a meal and service that will be remembered for a lifetime.
At Distinctive Catering & Events, we align impeccable service with incredible food for all of your important events. Throughout the planning process, our Food & Beverage Coordinators are here to guide you with their kindness and trusted experience. Our chefs have the capability of customizing your appetizers, food stations, meals, desserts, and late-night snacks, making them truly distinctive to your occasion.