Maintain food safety

Nola, as food co-ordinator at Cybertots, is very aware that at all times she must carry out food handling, preparation and storage according to Cybertots’ guidelines, as well as state/territory legislation and licensing requirements for food safety.

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Look at the Sample Food Safety Policy on the National Child Care Accreditation Council (NCAC) website (scroll down to Food Safety in the NCAC Policy Templates section). This is very similar to the safety food policies in many child care centres, including Cybertots.

Identify at least 5 food safety strategies or practices that are listed in the NCAC Sample Food Safety Policy and write them in your notebook.

Even though Nola is the food co-ordinator, other staff at Cybertots, like Patricia, still serve the drinks, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and a late snack is given to children about 5pm. Also Patricia may be responsible for food handling, preparation and storage if there is a cooking activity planned for the children or for any other special occasions, such as excursions.

One of the most important things that Patricia and all staff can do is remember to wash their hands, as this is the most effective way to minimize the transmission of germs.

Essentials of personal hygiene

When handling food we must be aware of our personal hygiene. As well as washing our hands thoroughly, we must also ensure that we are clean and are wearing clean clothes. Other essential practices include:

  • informing your supervisor before starting work whether you have any skin, nose, throat, stomach or bowel issues or and infected wounds
  • using a waterproof dressing to cover any cuts and sores
  • not handling food unnecessarily
  • ensuring you don’t smoke, eat or drink around unprotected food
  • never coughing or sneezing around food or the food preparing area
  • if you see something that is not consistent with the centre’s policy report it to your supervisor immediately.

Essentials of food handling

  • use clean sanitised chopping boards
  • ensure all surfaces, cooking and eating/drinking utensils are clean
  • prepare raw and cooked foods separately
  • if food is prepared in advance it needs to be stored correctly
  • ensure food is always stored at a safe temperature.

General practices for cleaning and sanitising

  • All surfaces and equipment should be kept clean and sanitised. Clean as you go.
  • Inform your supervisor of any pest control, cleaning, maintenance and sanitising issues immediately.

It is sensible for us to stay at home when we are not well so we do not pass our germs to all the children, families and staff with whom we have contact. This is even more crucial when we are handling food. Illnesses or health issues such as skin conditions, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, coughing, sneezing, cuts and scratches etc can affect our ability to do the job safely.

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What should a food handler do if they are sick?

Record your response in your notebook.

So you can see that whatever role you have in a child care service you will need to be aware of the policies that govern food handling activities.

Within scope of your own work role in a childrens’ service it is imperative you have the knowledge and skills required to ensure babies, children and young people are provided with nutritionally balanced, safe and hygienically prepared food.