James is 19 years old; he lives with his parents, twice a week he goes bowling or to the cinema with his support workers. They also go with him to the local college where he is studying Horticulture. At his last care planning meeting James expressed a wish to live independently with someone of his own age. His mother is against any change; she has dedicated her life to caring for him since he was diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome. She is particularly worried that James will be at risk because he has limited experience of living independently. She is concerned he will make himself ill because he has limited experience of general health and safety in the kitchen and has no understanding about food safety. She will not discuss it with James or the social care workers. James is very angry with her.
Legislation and company policies are used to ensure that food is handled safely in a social care setting as well as promoting good practices to minimise risk of harm and illness.
Food should be stored correctly as indicated by the packaging. Chilled foods should go in the fridge, frozen foods in the freezer and other foods in cupboards. Fridge food should be kept on the correct shelves (for example, raw meat should be kept on the bottom shelf in case drips cross-contaminate food below it). Leftover food should be cooled before transferring it to the fridge or freezer and covered and labelled with the date. The fridge and freezer should also be set to the correct temperatures.
A good level of hygiene should be practiced when preparing food, which includes washing hands using correct methods and washing between handling different types of food. All utensils and work surfaces should be clean and different utensils used for different food types (e.g. a red chopping board for raw meat, a green chopping board for vegetables etc.) Any spillages should be cleaned up quickly.
Food that has gone out of date should be disposed of quickly and bins emptied regularly.
Food should be cooked at the correct temperature and should be checked that it is thoroughly cooked before serving.