Corporate houses and industries are worried about what’s cooking for their employees, and they are going the extra mile to ensure the food their staff eats in their canteens is safe and hygienic. Preparation of most of the food served in these corporate canteens is outsourced and are usually supplied by caterers and base kitchens.
According to Dr. Suchitra Mankar, an ISO 22,000 lead auditor, who teaches public health and nutrition at UNICEF-sponsored programmes at Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) conducts checks on base kitchens. She says that vendors confess that food safety is often compromised, she also adds that food safety includes procurement quality, storage, process and handling, display of food, transport, waste disposal, personal hygiene, and sanitation.
Corporate management needs to know that overlooking food safety best practices may pose a health risk for their employees who could fall victim to food borne illness. Any case of an outbreak of food poisoning means that a large number of employees could report sick leading to loss of many work hours.
The corporate Food Safety Supervisor has to ensure that a number of food safety checks are in place:
- Conduct timely pest control
- Do a health checkup of food handlers
- Keep a steady supply of provision of soap for hand-washing
- Ensure that food handlers wear gloves and headgear
- Employ well-trained catering staff who are aware of food safety
- Implement regular testing of water and food
- Proper inspection of kitchen and dining premises
- Ensure inspection of kitchen surfaces, equipment, cutting boards
- Correct garbage disposal
The corporate organisation also has to have all the necessary food licenses and certifications in place to run the canteen and should ensure that the outsourced caterer also follows the below listed requirements:
- There has to be a licensed/registered FBO with a copy of the license put up in the corporate office
- Follow hygiene and sanitary conditions in the canteen according to Schedule 4 of the FSSA, 2006
- Follow guidelines related to preparing, cooking, storing and serving of food according to FSSAI guidelines
- Follow good hygiene practices as per FSSA
- Procure raw foods and ingredients only from registered and licensed vendors
- Cooking water should be potable and tested in NABL laboratory recognised by FSSAI
- Food must be tested regularly and a swab test of the kitchen surfaces to be taken often to detect fungus, moulds and dangerous bacteria.