We are delighted you want to cook!
Cooking for others is an amazing way to share your talent and time. However, it does come with great responsibility and commitment. Here are some ways to ensure you are a responsible cook:
- Good personal hygiene reduces the likelihood of food contamination and applies to every food handler.
- Hair should be tied back and covered with a hat, cap, etc.
- Do not touch hair, nose or mouth during food preparation.
- Food handlers should not spit, sneeze or cough over food.
- Do not attend work if you are unwell.
- Cover cuts and sores with a waterproof dressing.
- Wear minimum jewellery (a plain wedding band is acceptable).
- Keep fingernails short and clean, with no false nails, nail varnish or other nail decoration.
- Use tongs whenever possible when handling food.
- Sample cooking with a clean spoon each time.
Wash hands thoroughly in the hand wash basin. Use antibacterial liquid soap, a nail brush, and warm water and dry with disposable paper towels:
- on entering the food area
- after going to the toilet
- before handling food
- when hands are dirty or soiled
- after handling raw food
- after taking a break, eating, drinking or smoking
- after using a handkerchief, coughing, or touching hair, nose or mouth.
- Place perishable food in the refrigerator for storage immediately after delivery.
- Left-over food must be refrigerated as soon as possible.
- Store raw meat (including poultry) in a separate refrigerator, otherwise store at the bottom of the refrigerator so it cannot drip or spill onto other food.
- Stacked food must be covered at all times.
- Do not cover food with tea towels.
- Ensure good stock rotation.
- Do not overload the refrigerator. The air inside must be able to circulate.
- Refrigerator temperature should be at or below 4ºC.
- Freezer temperatures should be below -18ºC.
- Defrost food in the refrigerator.
- Keep the refrigerator clean and defrost regularly.
- Record daily temperatures in the Food logbook example (PDF 43KB).
- Refrigeration and freezing does not destroy germs.
- Food still ‘goes off’ in the refrigerator.
- Refrigeration and freezing is just a temporary safe storage method.
- Cook food to a minimum of 75ºC core temperature.
- Cooked food must be rapidly cooled and then refrigerated within one hour. Use shallow containers with food about one inch in thickness and stir to aid cooling or place food container in a clean sink with cold water and a sufficient amount of ice.
- Food being hot held for service must be kept in pre-heated equipment above 60ºC. If 60ºC cannot be maintained the food must be either reheated within in two hours or disposed of.
- Reheat food to a minimum of 75ºC core temperature. Do not reheat again.
- It is advisable to conduct temperature checks of equipment using thermometers and a temperature probe for food and record the results.
Wear a clean uniform and change into your uniform at work to prevent contamination from outside. Do not wipe hands on work clothes, apron or kitchen clothes.
Cook as close to the transfer time as possible, unless it is a freeze-ahead meal.
Make sure the food is in proper containers to keep it hot or cold, depending upon requirements.
Absolutely no smoking while cooking or around food.
If you are ill in any way, you should cancel the order (or postpone it). Do not cook while sick!
Ensure all meats are cooked to the proper temperatures. Refer to this site for proper cooking temperatures.
Buy all fruits, veggies, and meats within 24 hours of cooking.
- must not be used if its ‘use by’ date has expired
- stock should be used on a first-in-first-out basis
- which is damaged must be removed
- such as dried food should be stored in waterproof containers
- which is existing should be used first. Don’t top up with new stock
- which can cause allergic reactions should be kept separate from other foods.
- designated utensils should be used for the handling of raw food and separate utensils for cooked or ready-to-eat foods
- use a colour coding system. The following colours are commonly used:
- Red – raw meat
- Yellow – raw poultry
- Blue – fish
- Green – vegetables
- White – dairy
- reduce the handling of ready-to-eat food. This may be achieved in various ways such as the use of dedicated tongs and serving spoons. This will assist in reducing the risk of cross contamination
- when cleaning, it is recommended that high risk areas are cleaned before low risk areas, especially when the same equipment is being used
- use separate cloths for cleaning raw areas from cooked or ready-to-eat areas. Cleaning cloths can help to transport bacteria around your premises.
Separate raw, cooked and defrosting foods
- use separate refrigerators for raw and cooked or ready-to-eat foods, where possible. If not possible, store raw food in the bottom of a shared refrigerator and below the cooked or ready-to-eat foods
- raw meat must be stored separately from raw vegetables
- raw food which is being defrosted should be stored on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator in a tray or bowl that will catch any ‘drip’ as the food is defrosting
- all foods in the process of being cooled should be kept separate from raw foods
- store food containers off the floor to prevent them picking up dirt which could be transferred to the work surfaces
- separate designated equipment should be used for raw and cooked or ready-to-eat foods. If this is not possible, then it must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised between uses
Keeping your kitchen clean, using clean equipment and having a personal hygiene policy in place will help you produce safe food.
This is vital to prevent food poisoning as harmful bacteria can build up on equipment, surfaces, chopping boards, crockery, utensils, switches, door handles, taps and other areas that you and food can come into contact with.
Here are some tips:
- Ensure a constant, easily accessible supply of cleaning cloths, cleaning chemicals and hot water is available at all times
- Use clean cloths, mops, buckets and hot water for cleaning.
- Store cleaning equipment, detergents and fluids in a separate compartment away from food.
- Clean all bench and food contact surfaces with detergent or degreaser to remove the dirt, then use a food grade commercial sanitiser to kill the bacteria.
- Always read the labels on cleaning chemicals.
- Use a commercial grade dishwasher to wash all utensils ensuring the rinse cycle temperature is above 83º C.
- Never use tea towels or multipurpose cloths for cleaning.
- Sanitise or boil cleaning cloths at the end of each day. Colour coding your cloths can help, such as red cloths for raw meat and blue cloth for cooked meat.
- Do not use food sinks to fill or dispose of dirty water.
- Clean food waste containers weekly or as necessary to minimise odours.