Cooking in industrial kitchens: preparing foods safely
Foods can make us ill if they are contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasites. Every year, approximately 100,000 cases of illness caused by microorganisms in food are reported in Germany and the number of unreported cases is presumed to be much higher. To avoid infection through microorganisms in food, it is imperative that hygiene rules are complied with when storing and preparing foods. This applies in particular to kitchen practices in mass catering facilities. In cooperation with aid infodienst, the BfR has summarised hygiene rules for industrial kitchen personnel and published them in eight languages.
Food is supposed to taste good – and not make us ill. Consumers want to be able to rely on this when they order a meal in a canteen or cafeteria, for example, or when meals are served to them in a hospital or school. The prerequisite for this is the careful and hygienic handling of foods by kitchen staff. To prevent the contamination of foods with harmful microorganisms, personnel must know and satisfy requirements concerning personal hygiene, as well as food and kitchen hygiene.
The goal on the one hand is to prevent the transfer of pathogens from humans to foods. This includes measures such as regular and careful hand-washing and the strict separation of private and work clothing. In addition to this, staff may not be permitted to enter the kitchen if they are suffering from an illness that can be transmitted via food.
On the other hand, measures have to be taken which prevent the propagation of germs in foods and their transfer from one food to another. This includes the proper refrigeration and warming of foods, as well as the separate storage of raw and cooked foods. Furthermore, most microorganisms are killed off by heating foods sufficiently prior to consumption.
The BfR and aid infodienst have published more information on this in the leaflet “Hygiene Rules in the Catering Sector”. It is available in German, English, Italian, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Arabic and Chinese and can be downloaded free of charge from the BfR and aid infodienst websites. A printed version of the German text can also be ordered through the BfR:
About the BfR
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientific institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV). It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.