A Guide To Transporting Food Safely
Whatever kind of catering business you run, the chances are that you will need to transport ingredients or dishes at some point in the process. It might be moving raw foods from one venue to another, or cooked orders being sent out for delivery. There are lots of guidelines for how to transport food to ensure that no harm comes to the produce or those that work with or consume the food, and we’ve summarised some examples of best practice for you.
Whatever kind of catering you’re passionate about, this guide will almost certainly apply to you.
The basic rules of food safety should be applied when food is in transit, so you should make certain never to transport raw and cooked food, especially meat products, where there might be a risk of cross-contamination. For example, if you are transporting cooked chicken and raw pork, it is essential to store them in completely different containers and to separate them effectively and securely whilst in transit. You need to know that your products will arrive in the right condition, without fear of spillage or any other form of mixing.
If you are transporting fresh food or ingredients that are temperature-sensitive, then these temperatures should be maintained in transit. You must not decide that produce or dishes can be transported without attention to this, as even short journeys without temperature control protocols can have a significant impact on the growth of bacteria in many foods. This may mean that you need to invest in specialised kit or vehicles with purpose-built refrigeration units, depending on the scale of your operation.
Foodstuffs and people should travel separately. You should avoid placing food or ingredients on seats intended for passengers, or equally, placing passengers in areas of vehicles intended for food storage.
You should keep all areas of your transport vehicle clean and tidy, in much the same way as you would maintain the hygienic integrity of a kitchen. This will lessen the chance of your food becoming contaminated by bugs, germs or insects, and will also lessen the opportunity for foreign contaminants to enter the food.
Lastly, the containers and forms of storage you use to transport your produce plays an extremely important role. Ensure that these are fresh or well-cleaned and dried before use, that they are made of an appropriate material and are in a sound condition. In particular they should be designed for use at the temperature the food is stored, and able to be packed and stacked securely.
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