What is a Food Safety Checklist?

When your food hygiene score is quite literally on the door, getting top marks is crucial for your business. It can be the difference between a potential customer choosing you or your competition.
Gemma Thomas
 • 
Oct 2020
8 min read

Follow this food safety checklist guide and make sure your business is compliant. You’ll be getting that five-star hygiene rating in no time.

Why do you need a food safety checklist?

A food safety checklist is a powerful tool used to reinforce good hygiene practices and to help you comply with food quality standards.

Performing regular food safety inspections can prevent accidents, protect you from legal action, and of course, prepare you for EHO inspections.

What should it cover?

Environmental Health Officers measure the following:

  1. How hygienically food is handled
  2. The condition of your premises
  3. How you manage and document food safety

With that in mind, your food safety checklist needs to cover:

  • Opening and closing food safety checks
  • Cooking and hot holding temperature checks
  • Fridge and freezer temperature checks
  • Allergen separation checks
  • Allergic reaction reports
  • Food poisoning reports
  • Pest activity checks
  • Dishwasher checks

And more… Check out our list of food safety checklists here.

Why it’s essential to use a food safety checklist

Even though there are regulations in place to prevent incidents, food contamination causes 420,000 deaths globally every year.

Carrying out regular food hygiene inspections can help you identify food safety risks, so you can take action and prevent any serious health problems. This not only protects your team and customers, but it also protects your business from any lawsuits (and headaches).

Incorporating food safety checks into your day-to-day operations can also encourage staff to form good working habits. Using a digital checklist system like Trail prompts the right person to complete their tasks at the right time, so compliance becomes second nature for staff.

Risks to food safety

The following factors cause food contamination:

Poor hygiene – if food handlers have bad personal hygiene, don’t wash their hands, or wear inappropriate clothing, they can contaminate the food.

Unsanitised facilities and equipment – unclean chopping boards, utensils, or surfaces can infect food.

Poor food handling – using low-quality food, storing food inappropriately or using the wrong cooking methods, can all impact food safety.

Bad food safety management and documentation – if businesses don’t have a robust food safety management system in place, they are more likely to make errors and have food-related incidents.

4 Steps to better food safety

1. Keep clean 🧼

  • Wash hands before and after handling food, and don’t forget to wash hands after going to the toilet (we’re all seasoned experts in hand-washing now, so no excuses.)
  • Disinfect chopping boards, utensils, and surfaces thoroughly, especially if they’ve been in contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs.
  • Make sure your kitchen and food are free from pests and insects.

2. Cook thoroughly 🍳

  • Food must be cooked at 70°C for food to be safe.
  • Take thermometer readings to ensure you’re compliant.
  • Take extra care when cooking meat, seafood, eggs and poultry.
  • Reheat cooked food thoroughly.

3. Separate food 🥩

  • Use different chopping boards when handling raw foods.
  • Use individual plates and utensils for cooked and uncooked foods.

4. Store food at safe temperatures 🌡️

  • Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours.
  • Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer with an appliance thermometer (the refrigerator should be at 4°C or below and the freezer at -18°C or below).
  • Thaw food in the fridge, not at room temperature.

Food safety inspection checklist template

All of the above can be quite hard to remember. We get it.

Don’t fret; we’re here to help. From opening food safety checks to temperature logs, we’ve got you covered. Check out our food safety checklist templates here.

Switch to Trail for better food safety

Trail takes the guesswork (and the paperwork) out of your food safety. Our digital checklists help you manage risk, save time, and drive a culture of safety. So you can rest easy knowing teams are fit for work and food is being stored, handled and prepared correctly.

Streamline food safety practices – Checklists are woven into your team’s working day alongside other tasks. Everyone knows what to do and when to do it. Food safety becomes a habit.

All-in-one app – No more trawling through binders. No more time wasted on repetitive paper checklists. Just simple bite-sized tasks, all in one place.

Avoid incidents – Trail alerts your teams to take corrective action as soon as a problem is detected. Plus you can record evidence that the problem has been fixed, protecting your business against lawsuits.

Performance visibility – Get insights on your productivity, compliance and more. Dashboards and daily reports highlight issues, so they can be resolved quickly without the need for time-consuming and expensive audits.

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