Food Safety

Joined Aug 21, 2009
The chef jacket post got me thinking about food safety and well how different it is from the manufacturing side of things to the restaurant side of it...

I have worked on both sides of the industry and have a wonderful (really no sarcasm at all) job in a food plant and it is a far cry from the restaurant world...

This is food plant life....

First of all it is paperwork hell and that is all for traceability in the event of a recall...  I have to document every lot code, case number, date received, amount used etc etc etc in everything I do and it is all about being able to trace a single ingredient back to its origin in the event of a recall from one of our suppliers or worse us... and that would involve a few firings as if we had to do a plant recall it would mean we were not doing things to code and yep...firings would happen...

We are issued uniforms from an approved  supplier and they must stay inside the building as do our work shoes.  If we are to leave he building....even if a smoker wants a quick smoke he/she has to change into their street clothes before going outside....same deal applies if we want to leave to buy lunch...gotta get changed up....  Needless to say I am lazy to change so I make sure I bring my lunch and enough snacks to keep me for the day .....

We clean and well we scrub.  Not the spray on and wipe off kind of clean or scrub but the fill a bucket with cleaner and dump it on the table, scrub it with a hand brush for at least five minutes, hose it off and squeegee the results down the drain, sani thte table and move on... that is how we have to clean... all the time....

Then there is the logs....we have cooking logs, cooling logs, packaging logs, production logs, metal detection logs, shipping logs, receiving logs and I am sure there are more and again...paperwork hell all in making sure we can trace every last gram of stuff back to its source so we can account for everything in the event of a recall..

We also have to inspect and document our findings pre operational (before production) and mid operational (during production ) and sign off  on the cleanup at the end of the day.... again lots of checklists but a good resource in the event of a recall...

Before we can enter the production area we have pass through a sanitation zone and we get hit with sanitizer mist and walk through a boot wash sani foam...

We have two sani zones in the in the meat room and the other in the vegetable room...

And they give us tear away aprons to wear in those zones to keep things as clean as possible under the legislation we must follow...

We have sign in and out sheets for knives so they can be traced and it is all about preventing cross contamination....

I know this sounds extreme and I have only just touched on what we do...but well we do all that to keep us safe and the manufactured food we all eat safe for us,...

And then I look at restaurant kitchens that I used to be a part of and just shake my head.....  we have to be over the top because of the law but no one ever died from a cook having a break outside in his kitchen clothes......
Joined Sep 5, 2012
@lenniek. Im am glad to hear that as protecting the food chain is all important and it hits hard home as here we just had 3 elderly people die and hundreds get sick from contaminated frozen raspberries. Now if we could figure out what's killing the bees.
Joined Sep 5, 2012
We different, but we all fruit. [emoji]128516[/emoji]

(Said with bad greek accent. )
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Joined Oct 23, 2013
we have to be over the top because of the law but no one ever died from a cook having a break outside in his kitchen clothes......

Really, you say this as true. Do you know how many people do die each year from mishandled food? Smokers are definitely 100% responsible for many deaths each year. Smoke to mouth to saliva to smoke (fikter) to hand to food. Pretty simple. Watch them wash their hands on the way in during a " quick" smoke during a rush.

No offence but I cant even respect a smokers intelligence these days.

There isnt any apples and oranges here. Life and death maybe. All kitchens should be washing down correctly and keeping logs.

Being clean and not killing people is over the top. Gah.

Food safety is being legislated into All kitchens, it is only a matter of time before someone goes to jail for negligence causing bodily harm or worse.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
apples and oranges really though
Not really...

When you really start to think about it, cooks--any cooks or food processors-- have the power to make a memorable meal, a mediocre one, or to poison, maim, or even kill someone.  Not to be taken lightly.

I've never worked in a large factory setting, but have worked in senior's homes where the majority of the "guests" have weak or compromised immune systems. Those kitchens take hygiene very seriously, and for good reason. 

But by far, the biggest impression regarding food safety and hygiene I ever got was in the Swiss Army.... 

I, along with 6 others were the cooks for our company of about 200 recruits and 20 or so officers.  First day we got the "lecture" from the C.O. of the camp.  Basically we were told that we were responsible for the health and safety of the entire company. If ever a food borne illness broke out, first the C.O.'s head would roll, then our Lieutenant's, and then ours.  It was not only the fact that men would become ill, it's also that they couldn't do their duties, which isn't very practical in an army.  After the C.O. left, an other officer came in  and gave some histories of food borne illnesses in other army camps, and what happened afterwards.  Some could be traced back to compromised ingredients, and some could be traced to unsanitary conditions-- in one particular case, crud lodged in-between the wood scales of a common kitchen knife. This resulted in chronic diarrhea for about 80 men, which put stress on the guard duties for the entire camp and  That led to more problems down the road.

I don't think kitchen hygiene is something to taken lightly......
Joined Sep 25, 2014
apples and oranges inasmuch as the clean rooms, haccp style logging, and crazy documentation. It's all very well, and I have worked in operations with very detailed haccp procedures. I don't think the vast majority of cooks have ever even though of spot checking temps in their mise en place much less recording and saving that data.
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Joined Aug 21, 2009
Interesting thoughts, everyone.  

I think food safety in general needs to be taken more seriously by some people.  As professionals we have to be very aware of it, but home cooks should be too.  I've seen my mother in law do some things that just make me cringe, and the worst is how she thaws meat.  She will leave it on her dishrack to thaw, move it when she does dishes and then put it back afterward.  Yes it's wrapped but still, the wrap leaks so the meat juices get out and can go all over her clean dishes.  

We do need to figure out what is going on with the bees..  speaking of them it's June and maybe I've seen two or three...

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