Quick Tips To Provide Safe And Satisfying Outdoor Catering
When the summer arrives and thoughts turn to barbecues, festivals, outdoor parties and other such events, a decision has to be made as to how the function is to be catered for. The issue of outdoor catering is one that your caterers should not treat lightly. Catering for outdoor events can be a risky matter, regardless of whether it is at an established venue or a temporary or mobile function. The large numbers of people, frequent, the frequent need for temporary catering staff and the temporary nature of the accommodation mean that your caterers will need to place an emphasis on food and health and safety management. There are also additional risks associated with food handling and contamination. Finally, of course, no one can guarantee the weather so contingency plans need to be made for the possibility that inclement weather conditions thwart the original plans.
When catering for an outdoor event, especially a large one there are certain measures that the catering company should take to ensure that the event is both successful and safe. We set out below some of the steps that should be taken to ensure that the function meets both of these aims.
- All stalls must be capable of being kept clean in order to avoid any risk of food contamination and any risk from pests.
- All stalls should have a protective covering at the top, rear and sides, to protect both the foodstuffs and the catering equipment from contamination. within the stall.
- The preparation of all of the food and the cooking equipment and storage areas must be protected from the weather.
- All work surfaces, cooking and storage stations must be smooth, durable and readily cleanable and must be kept clean.
There are also certain basic food hygiene requirements that are particularly relevant for outdoor (and indoor) catering.
- Raw food must be kept away from cooked food and raw ingredients must be securely stored to prevent contamination.
- Raw and cooked foods should always be transported in separate containers and separate utensils should be used
- Food temperatures should be carefully controlled to avoid the risk of causingfood poisoning. Cold food should be kept at a temperature below 8ºC and hot food should be kept at a temperature over 63ºC
- Chilled and frozen foods should delivered at a suitably controlled temperature and kept cool until it can be cooked
- Food should always be thoroughly cooked and there should be adequate equipment to keep it heated until it is served The caterers should not engage in partial cooking off-site because of the problems of temperature control over lengthy periods of time.
There are, finally, certain matters of personal hygiene that the caterers for an outdoor event should ensure are part of their practice.
- Any catering staff who handle food should always ensure that their hands are washed before so doing. Hands should also always be washed after using the toilet and after handling raw foods or any waste materials
- Clean clothes and footwear and aprons and head coverings should be worn by those who are preparing the food.
- Any cuts, grazes and sores must covered with a coloured waterproof dressing
- Food should never be handled unnecessarily Catering staff must never cough, sneeze or smoke over or near food.
Adhering to these basic rules of safety, food hygiene and personal hygiene will help to ensure the success of your catering event and the well being of all of those that you cater for.