Food Safety for Your In-House Garden
If your restaurant or dining hall is growing its own food or herbs, it’s important to have a food safety plan in place. Just as any grower must take steps to ensure the safety of their products, so must you. Here’s how.
In the Garden:
- Determine who is responsible for the growing of your food, and take the time to train them properly and educate them on proper growing methods.
- Limit access to the growing area, and protect it from pets and rodents.
- Add extra protection to rooftop growing areas from bird droppings and unsafe water runoff.
- Ensure you are minimizing other potential routes of contamination. For instance, make sure watering cans, misters, and sprayers are regularly cleaned and sanitized. The same goes for any containers used to transport food or debris from the garden. Clean all garden tools after use and only use tools specified for the garden.
- Require anyone working in the garden to wash their hands before and after working.
Out of the Garden:
- Wash and cool all garden products directly after harvesting, and do not mingle your homegrown products with store-bought or outside products.
- Since moisture can encourage bacterial growth, do not wash produce until you are ready to use it. And, be sure to wash it thoroughly with a double wash and rinse, using plenty of agitation.
- Because raw and uncooked products have a higher risk of contamination, be sure that all fruits, herbs, and vegetables are cleaned and ready to use.
- Be extra careful with fresh herbs, such as rosemary, cilantro, and sage, which are often used to infuse oils and syrups. Fresh herbs must be cleaned and handled carefully.
Lastly, if you outsource the maintenance of your garden(s), take extra care to make sure your provider has specific plans in place to ensure safe growing conditions. When you are serving the public, food safety is serious business. Take some time and develop safe practices for food grown on-site.
At Johnston, we hold food safety as our highest priority within the Foodservice industry. We offer products that keep your kitchen clean by avoiding contamination. Our heritage means years of accumulated industry knowledge, the ability to see the bigger picture, and the know-how to determine the best possible approach. Combining this mastery with the drive to deliver exceptional results, Johnston goes beyond sales, developing strategic, end-to-end tailored solutions for each customer since 1881.