Why Are There No Standard Food Safety Training Requirements For Food Handlers?

Many restaurants do not teach their staff about food safety, and one must wonder why this is when they make and handle food for the mass. People who prepare food or come in regular contact with them should undergo training to learn about the importance of safe food handling. Basic knowledge of such needs to be understood avoid their patrons becoming victims of food poisoning, as it is completely preventable and related procedures are simple to implement – it is really not rocket science. Cross contamination occurs so easily and the person who ends up being the victim is the diner’s customer, not its staff. You wouldn’t wish a curse on someone that comes and support your business, so why would one want to pass on anything that would implicate someone’s health?

After completing a two year hospitality course, I once worked in a small cafe as a waitress for a few weeks. The practices that it had in place (if you could even call them that) were absolutely appalling. After the owner effectively pissed off and made the barista and chef to quit, she headed the duties of both these roles, and I helped with the coffee making since I was a barista at the previous coffee shop I worked at. The owner had no idea about coffee making, having to make three cups of foam each time – which she leaves everywhere around the area – prior to achieving one presentable cappuccino. She did not know that you must flush the coffee machine regularly to ensure that coffee beans are not stuck and burnt.

She did not understand about food preparation at all. She would be peeling some greens, then put some in her mouth to eat, then keep peeling. She did not know how to poach an egg even though she wrote the menu items. She also not the type of person that would wash her hands after handling money and what not. When I tried to correct her ways, she got her husband to have a talk with me saying how I was young and should not have such strong opinions/ respect elders…all that jazz. Needless to say, I did not return after that.

I once sat upstairs of restaurant looking over at a salad tossing shop in the food court below, a young women had a glove on with what appears to be a blue plaster underneath. That is completely fine and good practice – you don’t want blood in your food! However, during the 15mins that I observed her, she has completed the following of tasks: grabbed vegetables to toss salads, made milkshakes by cutting fresh fruit, emptied rubbish bins, cleaned surface areas with sprays, scooped icecreams, touched her face and hair, used the cash register and handled money β€” and she had never changed glove once. Isn’t that lovely?

Yes, both their kitchen appears to be clean, the dining area is clean, but the crucial part of producing and serving your order to you is not. These are the business owners and staff who do not understand a thing about cooking and handling your food, but here they are, and legally feeding you consumable!

Bon appetit! TC mark

image – Flickr / ChefSteps

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