From Farm to Fork: Our Commitment to Food Safety and Sustainability

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Every year on June 7th, we observe World Food Safety Day to highlight the importance of food safety and its impact on public health. Food safety is not just about maintaining hygiene; it encompasses a broad spectrum of practices, from farm to fork, to ensure that food remains safe throughout its journey. This day serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility to uphold stringent food safety standards, protect consumers, and contribute to sustainable development.

Food safety is a scientific discipline that involves the preparation, storage, and handling of food in ways that prevent foodborne illnesses. It is a crucial element in ensuring the health and well-being of people and the sustainability of our planet. The implementation of robust food safety systems is vital in mitigating risks and ensuring that food products are safe for consumption.

At Pate Cafeteria, our food safety systems are guided by the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). This systematic approach identifies, evaluates, and controls hazards that are significant to food safety. Our comprehensive strategy encompasses four key processes: food sourcing, food production, food storage, and food service. We prioritize sourcing food from reputable suppliers who adhere to high safety standards. Our rigorous supplier evaluation process ensures that we procure raw materials that meet our safety criteria.

During food production, we closely monitor critical control points where potential hazards could occur. This includes maintaining proper cooking temperatures, preventing cross-contamination, and ensuring hygienic handling practices. Proper food storage is essential to prevent spoilage and contamination. We utilize advanced storage techniques, such as temperature control and regular inventory checks, to maintain the quality and safety of our food products. In our catering unit, we focus on delivering safe and nutritious food to our customers. We take corrective actions promptly whenever any deviation from standard procedures is detected. Customer feedback is invaluable in helping us continuously improve our practices.

Internal food safety audits are conducted periodically to identify and rectify any non-conformities. This proactive approach ensures that we maintain high standards of food safety at all times. Our commitment to food safety extends beyond our operations to educating our staff and customers about safe food practices.

Safe food handling practices are essential for preventing foodborne illnesses and ensuring that food is safe for consumption. Some key practices include:

Cleanliness:

– Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling food, especially raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.

– Clean and sanitize all surfaces, utensils, and equipment used in food preparation regularly.

– Keep kitchen towels, sponges, and dishcloths clean and replace them frequently to avoid bacterial growth.

Proper Cooking:

-Cook food to the right temperature to kill harmful bacteria. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meats, poultry, and seafood.

– Avoid partial cooking of food, as it can allow bacteria to survive and multiply.

Cross-Contamination Prevention:

– Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables to prevent cross-contamination.

– Store raw meat, poultry, and seafood in sealed containers on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent their juices from dripping onto other foods.

Safe Storage:

– Keep perishable foods refrigerated at or below 40°F (4°C) and frozen foods at 0°F (-18°C) or lower.

– Do not leave perishable food out at room temperature for more than two hours (or one hour if the temperature is above 90°F or 32°C).

– Store leftovers in shallow containers to allow for quick cooling and refrigerate promptly.

Thawing:

– Thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Never thaw food on the counter, as this can allow bacteria to multiply rapidly.

– Cook food immediately after thawing.

Safe Serving:

– Keep hot foods hot (at or above 140°F or 60°C) and cold foods cold (at or below 40°F or 4°C) when serving.

– Use clean serving utensils and avoid touching food with bare hands.

Food Purchasing:

– Buy food from reputable sources and check for expiration dates and signs of spoilage before purchase.

– Avoid purchasing or consuming food that has damaged packaging or an off smell.

Personal Hygiene:

– Avoid handling food if you are ill, especially if you have symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or fever.

– Cover any cuts or wounds on hands with waterproof bandages and wear gloves if necessary while handling food.

Food safety is an ongoing commitment that requires vigilance and dedication. As we celebrate World Food Safety Day, let’s promise to make food safety a priority in everything we do. By doing so, we can protect public health, support sustainable practices, and contribute to a safer, healthier world. Join us in promoting food safety by adopting safe food handling practices and spreading awareness about the importance of food safety. Together, we can make a significant impact on the well-being of people.

This article has been written by Rosalia Mwikali, Operations Manager
School of Tourism and Hospitality

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