Food safety has been a critical topic in the foodservice industry, most especially in the kitchens of healthcare facilities. Hospitals patients have vulnerable immune systems and can be impacted by food-borne illnesses more intensely than the average healthy person. To ensure safe meal service, train your staff to pay close attention to kitchen operations from food preparation and cooking to food storage and cleaning practices.
Here are easy safety tips to help optimize your healthcare kitchen:
Be Allergen Safe
A variety of purple kitchen smallwares are now available ranging from cooking utensils to storage. Stock up on allergen-safe supplies and set up a station to store these items away from the rest of the kitchen.
Set a Purple Station
According to a Food Management article, several hospitals are creating a separate prep area specifically for allergen safe purposes. It minimizes risk of cross-contamination and allows for meals to be created with dedicated equipment.
So Fresh & So Clean
Have a well-organized shelving unit or wall shelving to hold food or supplies and maintain proper safety. Clean food spills quickly to prevent bacteria from growing and keep floors spick and span. Read about other food safety guidelines here.
Establish a Checklist
Use a checklist to track all areas of your kitchen to ensure prep, food, and utensils follow food safety criteria. LA County Department of Public Health offers a great resource on food safety.
Train Your Staff
Educating employees from the kitchen staff to servers prevents dangers of contamination among patients. Provide proper training on what they need to do while handling food, especially gluten or allergy-free offerings.
Up Your Menu
Craft an allergen or gluten-free menu to accommodate patients with allergies. There are several options out there to help cater to people with food sensitivities. Here’s an article on a hospital chef who has created amazing options.