The Significance of Ensuring Food Safety at Corporate Cafeterias

Employees largely depend on the Cafeteria food for their regular meals. The Corporate canteen food is either run by the Corporate or outsourced to the food operating businesses (FBOs).  Since the food is prepared in bulk, it is necessary for all the food vendors to follow strict food safety practices, as the slightest of contamination can affect a huge population. It is necessary that a Company appoints a Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) to supervise the working processes in the kitchen establishments.

Food Safety at Cafeterias

When the catering is outsourced to a private caterer the corporate management needs to be extra cautious especially if the food is being provided at a discounted price. Since the profit margins are slim the caterer could cut costs and overlook a number of food safety norms like

  • pest control
  • health check-up of food handlers
  • provision of soap for hand-washing
  • gloves and headgear for food handlers
  • lack of quality cleanliness and sanitation agents
  • employ untrained staff unaware of personal hygiene standards

The corporate management must understand that any overlooking of food safety best practices can risk the health of the corporate employees who could become susceptible to food-borne illness. If there is an outbreak of food poisoning it could mean a number of employees could report sick and all at the same time leading to the loss of many work hours. Therefore the corporate Food Safety Supervisor must ensure that there is

  • regular testing of food and water
  • inspection of kitchen and dining premises
  • inspection of kitchen surfaces, equipment, cutting boards
  • proper pest and insect control measures
  • proper garbage disposal

Corporate canteens are established with the aim of saving time and providing safe and nutritious food to employees. It is the responsibility of the corporate management to ensure food has been safely and hygienically prepared and is nutritious and healthy. If the canteen is run by the corporate then they must have a license/ registration.          If they are outsourcing the catering then the management must ensure that the corporate canteen is run by a

  • Licensed/registered FBO and a copy of the license must be kept in the corporate office
  • Hygiene and sanitary conditions in the canteen must be as per Schedule 4 of the FSSA, 2006
  • All guidelines pertaining to preparing, cooking, storing and serving of food must be as per FSSAI guidelines so as to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Good hygiene practices as per FSSA must be followed in adhering to personal hygiene as well as to the cleanliness and sanitation of the kitchen, equipment, utensils, and crockery.
  • Raw foods and ingredients must be procured only from registered or licensed vendors.
  • Water used for cooking must be portable and regularly tested in a NABL laboratory recognized by FSSAI for water testing
  • Food must be tested regularly and a swab test of the kitchen surfaces to be taken often so any growth of fungus, molds and dangerous bacteria can be detected before they contaminate foods especially raw foods.

In the absence of a Food Safety Supervisor, the corporation must make sure to get a food safety and hygiene auditor to regularly audit and inspect the food and premises in the corporate canteen. There must be proper documentation of all food, water, hygiene testing reports. Also, corporates must make sure that all food handlers have been examined medically and are not suffering from any contagious disease.

Another important aspect that must not be overlooked is to place posters in the food preparation areas that remind the food handlers about

  • temperature control and refrigeration,
  • food thawing
  • storage of raw and cooked foods
  • personal hygiene, cleanliness, and sanitation

The above practices if followed will assure an effective impact on food safety of the corporate cafeterias. The Facility Manager and the Food Safety Supervisor should consider the above basic food safety requirements and make sure that they are implemented.

If you have any queries regarding the food safety practices or want to know more in detail, click on the below links.

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