In South Africa, the drive for improved food safety standards has largely been by the retailers and certain global manufacturers. Other than major conference centres and multi-national fast food outlets, food safety standards are seldom audited in the hospitality sector including restaurants, caterers and guest houses. The risks in this sector are actually high since they feed large numbers of people at any one time.
International case studies
Since all the people eat the same food at approximately the same time, with good investigation in the developed world, it is relatively easy to trace food poisoning incidents back to specific events or restaurants. A few of these are
- USA 2014 Food Safety summit – 216 people ill with diarrhoea from catered lunch
- Denmark 2013 – Noma restaurant – 63 ill from this famous establishment which was then temporarily closed
- UK 2012 – Essex pub – 1 death and 30 ill on Christmas day
- UK 2011- The Fat Duck restaurant ( Heston Blumenthal)- 40 ill , 400 complaints, restaurant closed for 2 weeks
Training in Catering sector
Restaurants and caterers always have meals to complete to feed their clients. Hence they complain there is no time for training. This course was developed by Foodpath to fit in with their cooking schedules. There are 3 half day modules which can be fitted in before or after shift work if necessary.
Module 1 covers origin of foodborne illness and how bacteria create the problems. Personal hygiene is explained and emphasized due to the frequent use of hands and manual preparation of high risk foods.
Module 2 covers all aspects of the R962 of 2012 from the Department of Health (South Africa – Regulations governing general hygiene requirements for food premises and transport of food). This regulation is enforced by the various municipalities and their Environmental Health Practitioners.
Module 3 builds on the first learning steps and highlights the following in terms of treatment of food: Contamination, Cooking , Chilling and Cleaning (4C’s). Mistakes in any one of these areas are the contributing factor to many food poisoning incidents. Delegates also learn about the risk profile of different foods as well as routes for contamination.
The course improves individual awareness and the importance of their personal participation in food preparation. Food safety must be practiced by all in catering as one weak link can lead to the type of outbreaks highlighted above.