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Suzanne Blair

Client Relationship Manager

Health & Safety for buffets

We love a buffet, and just writing this article is making me hungry! We help our clients to ensure that every bite is not just delicious, but also safe. Behind every dish is a meticulous attention to hygiene, and below we’ve listed some key practices to uphold in the kitchen:

  • Ensure that all kitchen staff practice thorough hand hygiene. Regular handwashing, especially after handling raw ingredients, is non-negotiable. Consider placing hand sanitisers strategically for added convenience.
  • Prevent cross-contamination by implementing a strict separation of raw and ready-to-eat foods. Color-coded cutting boards and utensils can be invaluable tools in maintaining this division.
  • Use food thermometers to monitor cooking and storage temperatures accurately. This not only guarantees food safety but also ensures the food retains its intended flavours and textures.
  • From ovens to cutting surfaces, regular cleaning is the backbone of kitchen hygiene. Implement a robust cleaning schedule, including deep cleans for appliances and equipment to eliminate the risk of bacterial buildup.

Outside the kitchen doors, maintaining the right temperature is paramount for hot buffets. Hot foods should be kept at 63°C or above to prevent bacterial growth. Regular temperature checks and swift discarding and replenishment ensure that every dish served is not just delightful but also safe for consumption.

Cold buffets, filled with fresh salads, and chilled dairy products, present their own set of challenges. Keep cold foods below 8°C to inhibit bacterial growth. Regularly monitor refrigeration equipment, and promptly discard items that fall outside the safe temperature zone to uphold hygiene standards.

The law allows food to be left at room temperature for limited periods during service or when on display. The temperature of chilled foods can exceed 8 C for up to four hours, while the temperature of hot foods can fall below 63 C for a maximum of two hours. However, these flexibilities can be used only once for each batch of food. In other words, the same food can’t be left out at room temperature for more than one period. After one period at room temperature, food should be thrown away or chilled until final use.

We have a suite of relevant and engaging e-learning specifically tailored for those involved in catering, such as Level 1 Food Safety (2 CPD Units) and Level 2 Food Safety (3 CPD Units) approved by CPD, Gatehouse Awards, Institute of Hospitality, IIRSM & IOSH. Linked to Level 2 Food safety, we can also provide access to Allergen Awareness e-learning which covers food intolerances and allergens, and is approved by CPD, IIRSM, Gatehouse Awards & Institute of Hospitality. Just drop us a note to find out more about our courses.

For those in a supervisory role we can also offer Supervising Food Safety – Level 3 (6 CPD Units), a detailed course which goes further in to how to create efficient and successful food management systems.

Need a hand with managing your buffets? Get in touch today.

Our content is correct at the date of publishing, but should not be taken as legal advice, and our articles don’t replace Risk Assessments. Armour will not be held accountable for any legal actions the reader may take.