Factors influencing safe food handling for restaurants

BY Merle Litshie

When food manufacturer’s (factories) manufacture food they ensure there are food safety systems in place and that the food is safe for consumption. These precautions are taken to ensure nobody is harmed. Food safety should not end after distribution and food should continue to be safe. The following should be taken into consideration when ensuring food is handled safely.

Raw material inspection

a. Check for expired goods as they are received
b. Inspect vehicle delivering goods for cleanliness, pests and foul odours
c. Ensure to purchase from approved suppliers (previously audited)
d. Allergens should be managed separately from non-allergens
e. Inspect if there is dirty and damaged packaging – reject goods if any


a. FIFO (First IN First Out) must be practices and have a system in place
b. Cleaning and sanitation is crucial for storage areas
c. All temperature sensitive products should be stored as per temperature requirements


a. Employees handling food must adhere to good personnel hygiene
b. Hand washing and glove management is crucial, dirty hands have bacterial and the glove does not kill the bacteria but spread it
c. Ensure preparation areas are segregated and grouped accordingly
d. Keep phones away from food as they too carry bacteria
e. Equipment especially heating and cooling equipment must be serviced and calibrated as per schedule


Ensure food is cooked and cooled to the correct temperature and heated food must be held hot while cooled food should be kept cold at the correct required temperatures
In conclusion food safety is very possible in restaurants and what makes it difficult to achieve is the following:
- Lack of staff training and assumptions that employees will catch up
- Inadequate equipment (un serviced and un calibrated)
- Lack of measuring devices such as thermometers and gauges
- Not having adequate workplace (encourages cross contamination)
- Lack of pest control
- Time pressure from management and customers
- Inadequate staff members


If all these factors are taken into consideration, then the restaurant will be handling and serving food safely.

Entecom is a memeber of Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA)

 August 21, 2015
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Food Safety
Merle Litshie

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