This page is designed to answer the following questions:
- 8.1a Describe the importance of food safety, including hygiene, in the preparation and handling of food (Care Certificate, Standard 8: Fluids and nutrition)
NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2021 as per our Quality Assurance policy.
Food safety and hygiene are essential in the preparation and handling of food in a care setting.
This is because adhering to food safety standards greatly reduces the likelihood of the individuals that you support becoming ill from contaminated food.
Contamination can be:
- Physical objects such as bones or pieces of packaging
- Chemicals such as pesticides or cleaning products
- Allergenics, for example, if an individual is allergic to peanuts or shellfish or requires a gluten-free diet
- Bacterial such as germs that cause food poisoning
Vulnerable adults that you work with may have an increased risk of infection from the food that they eat so it is prudent to be especially careful when preparing or handling their food.
As well as the risks to individuals, legislation including the Food Safety Act 1990 and Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 mean that:
- employers must have food safety controls in place including risk assessments
- all food served must be suitable for human consumption
- unsafe food should be disposed of
- the environment that food is prepared in should be hygienic
Your employer will have agreed ways of working, which you should adhere to so that you can ensure all food that you prepare and serve complies with the law and with best practices. Your employer may require you to undergo food safety training. It is also important to be aware of each individual’s care plan so that you understand their dietary requirements and food preferences.
Some good practices relating to food safety include:
- perform proper handwashing technique
- have good personal hygiene
- clean work surfaces regularly
- do not serve food that is out of date
- wash kitchen utensils and equipment between uses
- ensure food is properly cooked before serving
- store raw meat on the bottom shelf of the fridge
- food stored in the fridge should be labelled and dated
- prepare raw and cooked foods separately