Processing and preparation techniques play important role to keep away the safety hazards in the long chain from the raw food to the making of a final food product. FSSAI has laid down norms in preparation/ processing/cooking of food so that hazards are either eliminated. The steps to be followed begin at the raw material stage and continue into the whole process so that at any step food should not get contaminated.
Right at the beginning you must ensure that Veg. and Non-Veg. products are handled and stored separately and they should also be prepared, processed and cooked separately. Some precautions that your employees must follow are that they must:
- Clean their hands according to regulations, clean equipment, clean work surfaces or other areas which could come in contact with the food.
- Avoid direct or indirect contact between raw and cooked food.
- Thaw frozen food well in time so there is adequate heat penetration while cooking.
- Ensure proper heat penetration to each and every part of the food in all kinds of cooking like boiling, frying, grilling or baking by maintaining temperature at 70°C.
- Cut Fruits & Salads should be consumed immediately. Store them only for a short period under a temperature of 4°C or below in covered vessels, if required.
- Do not overcook food as charring leads to chemical hazards.
- Immediately change frying oil or fat when the colour changes or there is visible fouling, syrupiness or scum formation.
- Maintain timing carefully for fermented foods like ‘idli’ and ‘dosa’ to prevent growth of pathogens and formation of toxins.
- Store ‘in – process’ ingredients and raw materials properly and safely to prevent contamination when in continuing use.
- Immediately transfer spoiled products to specified dustbins with lids.
- Store surplus food in the refrigerator and use packaged milk, creams and sauces before ‘expiry’ or ‘Use by’ date and all other foods till they are fit for consumption.
- Label Pre- packaged food according to Food Safety and Standards (Packaging & Labelling) Regulations, 2011.
A real time practical inspection from time to time is always recommended to check if any minor or major flaws are not happening.