This article examines the use of checklists as found in the app Zip HACCP as a means of helping to ensure that proper food safety and sanitation are maintained in food service businesses.
One of the major concerns for most food service businesses is the continued maintenance of food hygiene and proper sanitation. It’s certainly an important one, to be sure; restaurants have been shut down over the slightest violation of the health code, costing the business years of hard work and, in most cases, many people their livelihood. Sanitation is something that should be taken as seriously as it often is, no doubt about it.
The thing is, the effort involved in making sure that a business maintains the appropriate levels of food hygiene is often a sincerely stressful ordeal. There’s the need to rely on each employee to do their part and to make sure that they each follow the rules to the letter to maintain compliance with FDA and HACCP rules. Then there’s the need to determine which employee is responsible for which task, and to ensure that those tasks are completed. It involves not only a large amount of trust in employees but also a significant amount of planning. This level of planning can potentially be the most stressful aspect of the entire maintenance process, but it doesn’t have to be.
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There is a lot of software out there now that provides solutions to these concerns. Among them is something we here at Hubworks offer, an app called Zip HACCP. This post will discuss some of the key features of the app, specifically as they relate to the task of food hygiene and sanitation, and how they can help your business improve or streamline the process of keeping up with these standards for cleanliness.
Common Food Hygiene Tasks
Before we discuss the exact role that Zip HACCP will play in improving your restaurant’s food hygiene, let’s first go through some of the tasks that your staff will be responsible for to maintain this improved level of food sanitation. We won’t spend a lot of time on the specific tasks themselves so much as what goes into organizing them.
The most obvious of these are the various types of cleaning that need to occur. Whether this means something as routine as dishwashing, or as involved as deep cleaning all of the equipment for food preparation, the level of importance remains the same. It is just as vital to have clean silverware as it is to have clean cutting boards or countertops. All of these play a direct role in the proper degree of sanitation and hygiene that occur within your business. The countertops, in particular, help to ensure that things like cross-contamination don’t occur, a major issue with food hygiene.
Another major component to maintaining proper levels of food hygiene and sanitation is the storage of the food. We’ve mentioned this briefly in other articles, but it bears repeating here. The main issue with food storage arises when raw meats or other foods that are meant to be cooked before consumption are stored with foods that are meant to be consumed without being cooked. The reason behind this, as you’d expect, is to do with the bacteria often found in meat before it’s been cooked contaminating the raw foods, which might cause anyone that consumes them to become sick, potentially very sick.
One final major component of maintaining proper food hygiene is storage conditions. We’ve discussed the way that food is stored, but just as important are the conditions under which it is stored. Specifically, here we are referring to things like temperature and humidity. Raw meat, for example, needs to be stored in at least a refrigerator before cooking, but definitely in a freezer for a more long-term storage solution. This keeps the meat from spoiling, which can pose both a hygiene risk and can run the risk of becoming wasted, which, though not directly related to sanitation, will certainly cause your business to see a serious hit on the financial front. Either way, ensuring that food is stored at the appropriate temperatures based on FDA and HACCP regulations is key to guaranteeing hygiene compliance.
Zip HACCP and Food Hygiene
Now that we’ve broken down some of the major components of ensuring proper food hygiene and sanitation rules are followed in your business let’s assess the ways Zip HACCP can aid in this quest.
As we’ve mentioned, one of Zip HACCP’s strongest assets is its ability to create, monitor, and update lists that are accessible by all staff members from any major electronic device. The app can also produce progress reports for you that show the trends in rates that tasks are completed, who completes which task the most efficiently, etc. When we apply these task lists specifically to the realm of food hygiene and sanitation, the potential for improvement is massive.
For example, when we look at things like routine cleaning and maintenance, the app holds a significant potential to streamline a previously cumbersome process. Before you were reliant on things like paper lists, something easily lost, forgotten, or destroyed. Now, with Zip HACCP, the lists are all electronic, meaning they can never truly be lost or destroyed unless you, the administrator, delete them. Not only that, but you now possess the ability to assign tasks directly to employees, and to monitor their progress in completing these tasks in real time. This improves accountability and also acts as a motivator for employees to ensure the work gets done and done efficiently.
One of the other strongest features of Zip HACCP that relates directly to sanitation and hygiene is the temperature monitoring feature. The app allows the user to sync to Bluetooth thermometers, which can then be used to monitor a range of vital food service temperatures. While the most obvious use might be for food preparation, it can just as easily be used for food storage monitoring as well. This feature is an excellent way for administrators and other staff to be sure at all times that the freezers and refrigerators are maintaining the appropriate temperatures as outlined by the FDA and HACCP regulations.
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So there you have it, our look at the key components of proper food hygiene and sanitation, and how Zip HACCP can help manage them. We hope this has given you not only the foundation of knowledge but also the motivation to engage in the process of sanitation in a more direct, results-driven way.