Foodservice sector needs to toughen up on hygiene, claims expert

The foodservice need to put in better incentives and training for its staff to improve hygiene in food preparation areas, a top food safety consultant has advised.

Speaking at the Foodex show on Tuesday, Dr. Lisa Ackerley spoke how food premises can ‘Stay off TV and Out of Court’ in television programmes that she has been involved in such as Watchdog and Rogue Restaurants.

Dr. Ackerley has found that common issues in food preparation areas is a lack of proper hygiene management and accountability as well as proper training for all staff members

She said: “To some degree you can put bonus schemes in place, try and reward people for good behaviour. Also one of the things that is helping is the Scores on the Doors system which is gradually filtering through the UK so people can now be visibly seen to be improving by the number of stars they’re getting.”

Dr. Ackerley advised that key areas to keep clean that Environment Health Officers are looking out for, are where staff members wash their hands and where staff change for work. She also added to be aware of cloths used in food preparation areas for wiping hands and surfaces as they are hub for many harmful bacteria.

“The obvious solution to this is to ban the cloth. The cloth is the superhighway of bacteria in a kitchen and I could say that everytime we’ve sampled cloths in any circumstances they are always the ones which have masses of bacteria seething around the them and of course are then ready to be taken elsewhere round the kitchen.”

Dr. Ackerley added that it was utter nonsense to believe that dropping food on the floor but quickly picking it up would be still be acceptable to serve. Known in the trade as the ‘30 second rule’, she has also come across workers going to the toilet and not washing their hands when are about to prepare food and in one case, a toilet leading directly into the kitchen when the door was missing.

>>FVO finds UK hygiene failings

>>Processors jailed for “wicked” hygiene breaches

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