The Food Safety Authority Ireland (FSA) undertook a major audit of food business operators (FBOs) in 2019 which focused on sushi producers and their operation. Raw fish is a breeding ground for many different types of dangerous bacteria, and it is therefore highly important that sushi producers abide by certain guidelines. The producers included 3 sushi manufacturers and 8 sushi restaurants. Of these 11 providers, there was found to be a total of 76 breaches of food safety rules – which the FSA has deemed as unacceptable.
A summary of some of the general reasons for the food safety breaches found that;
- Freezers used for storing the fish were not operating at the correct temperature
- There were no temperature checks being conducted on incoming fresh and frozen fish
- The records being maintained and the food safety controls in place were not adequate
Granted, as stated in the opening paragraph, sushi restaurants and manufacturers tend to operate a higher risk food business and may thus face a more intense scrutiny that other FBOs. However, many of the flaws that were found during the audits were in fact of a very basic nature, and could have been completely avoidable had the right controls been put in place.
What controls can your FBO put in place?
So how can your FBO, whether a sushi business or some other type of FBO, avoid penalties and ensure compliance?
- Implement proper segregation between cleaning supplies and food items. You should look at creating a pathway between the two locations in order to avoid cross contamination. Not only should these proper procedures be put in place, but they should also be documented.
- Cleaning rota and procedures should always be clear and easily understood by all levels of staff.
- Ensure that any high risk foods such as poultry, seafood and raw meat are separated from any low risk foods. This includes making sure that each category has its own preparation station.
- Dry storage and refrigeration should always be in line with standard regulations. If you’re unsure, you can always reach out to the relevant authorities for guidance and advice.
- Ensure that at all times, safe temperature is being maintained for all foods, at all stages of the chain. Make sure you’re conducting regular temperature checks as well as keeping a log of all tests conducted. This is often the area where establishments tend to slip up, so you need to be aware that failure to adhere to this could mean a hefty fine.
- Ensure your staff is properly trained in all areas of food safety and HACCP
Did you know that Antech stocks a wide range of analytical instruments which will help your food business remain compliant? For instance, we stock not only thermometers but also a wide range of data loggers for the industry. You can browse our range here.