Unit 8 -L.O 3.2(e): Describe the importance of food safety, including hygiene, in the preparation and handling of food

Course: NVQ Level 4 Diploma In Health And Social Care (RQF)

Unit 8: Health and safety in health and social care settings

LO3: Be able to work safely in health and social care settings

Assessment: Comply with current guidelines for: 

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3.2(e): Food safety

The four main guidelines for food safety are to keep food clean, separate food, cook food properly, and store food safely.

The kitchen, if not cleaned properly on a regular basis, can become a source of bacteria. Therefore, it is important to have one person assigned to clean the kitchen, and this task should be given first priority when all the chores are completed. This person should be responsible for cleaning the sink, countertops (inside and outside), refrigerator and oven, and he/she should have a supply of cleaning materials that can be used to thoroughly clean these surfaces. All utensils should be washed with soap and water after each use.

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The next step in ensuring food safety is to separate raw foods from cooked or ready-to-eat foods. While cooking, one person should work on preparing raw foods and another person should work on preparing cooked or ready-to-eat foods. When storing food, the raw and cooked/ready-to-eat foods must be stored separately.

Once food has been cooked, it should be placed in a container that is at least 2 inches deep and will hold the food without overflowing. This way, opened containers can be quickly refrigerated or frozen until they are needed.

Keeping foods at safe temperatures is the final task to ensuring food safety. If refrigerators are used, they should be set at 40°F or below. For those using freezers, they should be set to 0°F or below. All cooked and ready-to-eat foods should be stored in the refrigerator if not consumed within two hours. These foods should be eaten as soon as possible after preparing to prevent the growth of bacteria. All perishable foods (such as meat, poultry, milk and eggs) should be cooked or frozen within 2 days of buying them.

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