On top of running a kitchen – with its double shifts and unsociable hours – you’re busy managing food safety issues, protecting your kitchen’s food hygiene rating and maintaining quality standards. It’s your reputation on the line, so naturally you want to keep tabs on day to day operations.
On one hand, getting stuck on the nitty gritty can keep you from focusing on the big picture – serving your customers and growing your business. On the other, if you don’t keep tabs on every detail, crucial information could slip through the net like bouillon through a sieve.
You’re also expected to constantly keep up with changes to the 2014 Food Act and other New Zealand food safety legislation. And if your food safety compliance isn’t current, there’s real potential for expensive mistakes that won’t show up till audit time. That’s a recipe for sleepless nights.
If you run a commercial kitchen, audits are simply a fact of life. Ensuring your kitchen is audit ready, means you can be confident that you’re compliant with the Food Act and won’t be caught out.
Without regular internal audits of your Plan, how do you know what is or isn't happening with your food safety? Discovering missing records or documents days before your audit is a recipe for disaster. So how do you avoid this mad dash and regain your peace of mind?
Having an approved Food Control Plan (FCP) is essential for your food safety compliance. It’s the framework you need to help you and your team complete your regular tasks and records, whether these occur daily, weekly or monthly.
Ensure your staff are in the daily habit of engaging with your FCP, so that tasks are completed on time and recorded in the right place. An FCP is no use if it’s too complex or time consuming for staff to use. Your whole team should understand the reasons for food safety practices, as well as the importance of clear, consistent record keeping.
With auditors charging by the hour, making sure your staff are both completing their food safety tasks and clearly recording them, will help keep your kitchen audit costs down.
It’s also vital to set up an effective way for you and your managers to check records regularly. If staff are playing their part by recording tasks it is wasted if managers aren't regularly reviewing and monitoring their actions or inactions.
Having a clear FCP that staff can (and do) use easily is the first step in getting your kitchen audit ready all the time. So we highly recommend getting one in place right away.