Keeping high hygiene standards in your restaurant should be one of your primary concerns. Aside from the fact that having poor hygiene standards is simply not good for the restaurant business, it can also be a serious health hazard.
The vast majority of foodborne illnesses are caused by bacteria or poisons produced by bacteria. The fact that bacteria spread incredibly fast, especially when food is not properly stored, is a concern you should always keep in mind. Needless to say, preventing these scenarios is of utmost importance both for your business and customers. Here are some of the most frequent contributing factors:
- Improper storage of food
- Contaminated and dirty hands
- Improper refrigeration
- Lack of sanitary standards
- Contamination caused by pests
- Contaminated work area and lack of staff hygiene
While these are the most common factors that contribute to foodborne illnesses, there are plenty of other factors most people aren’t even aware of.
Establishing Good Hygiene Standards
In order to establish high hygiene standards in restaurants, most people refer to common sense. While that isn’t inherently a bad idea, it’s simply not enough. Here are some other things you should keep in mind.
Minimum Equipment Requirements
The first step towards good hygiene is having proper equipment that’s maintained on a regular basis. Apart from that, there are certain legislation elements that have to be met. In case you’re not familiar with the requirements, don’t hesitate to contact the local Department of Health office and ask for instructions.
However, there is some equipment that’s mandatory and generally applies to all businesses. This includes:
- A sink for the disposal of contaminated water
- Hot and cold water at all faucets
- One hand washing sink located in the area where food is prepared
- A restroom for both workers and customers
Bear in mind that these are only a few requirements that have to be met, there are plenty of others that accompany the aforementioned list.
Relevant Agencies and Departments
In Florida, three agencies share responsibility when it comes to ensuring that proper standards are in place. Those agencies are:
- Department of Business and Professionals Regulations – DBPR
- Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – DACS
- Department of Health – DOH
The DBPR is responsible for licensing and inspecting caterers, food stands, and restaurants.
The DACS is responsible for conducting inspections of food processing plants, storage, distribution points, and grocery stores.
The DOH works with all food businesses including bars, schools, theaters, and lounges. They are also responsible for addressing temporary food events, vending machines, hot dog stands, etc. Bear in mind that County Health Departments are the ones that issue food certificates for these businesses if proper conditions are met.
In case you have any uncertainties or questions regarding these legislations, contact your local County Health Department.
Want to Learn More?
In case you’re interested in finding more about hygiene standards and codes, you may download the official Florida Administrative Code from the Florida Health website. Furthermore, you can find numerous PDF files and download links for various food certificates, and submit them to your local county health department.
Bear in mind that some of these applications require you to submit a set of plans that have to be drawn to scale, as well as the permit fees and plan reviews. While it seems quite complicated and tedious, it’s something you can do on your own, without having to spend ridiculous amounts of money on professionals.
With that being said, it’s highly recommended that you consult and hire a professional to help you go through the process as seamlessly as possible.
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