Kebab Safety – a fast guide to fast food hygiene

Congratulations to the winners of the first ever British Kebab awards – Turkish Delight of Chorlton, Manchester !  The launch of this new annual award underlines the rapid growth of high street suppliers of high-quality handmade kebabs, often at independent take-aways and restaurants using techniques and ingredients from the Mediterranean.

The hand made nature and freshly cooked serving of kebabs is moving away from merely a late-nigh post-pub snack into a quality gourmet product in its own right, you only have to look at how kebabs are eaten in countries such as Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and the Lebanon to see their heritage as a healthy part of a famously health diet.

Doner Kebab

Do you or your family run a kebab shop ?  Here are some quick tips for keeping your customers safe :

1. before starting to make a kebab ensure that work surfaces, utensils,  are thoroughly cleaned
2. it’s a labour intensive process and as you are handling food ensure that you hands and forearms are thoroughly washed
3. when you have formed a kebab make sure that you put it straight back in the refrigerator or freezer until required, minimising the time it is exposed to room temperature.  This will reduce the risk of harmful bacteria growing on the meat.
4. in the refrigerator – make sure that the raw kebabs do not come into contact with any other products, especially ready to eat items such as salad veg or cooked kebabs.  This could spread bacteria.  Even better use a separate refrigerator for raw and ready to eat items.
5. check the temperature – any refrigerator should be 80C or lower, this will discourage bacteria from multiplying quickly
6. check the temperature – any freezer should be -180C or lower
5. doner kebabs –  when you have put the doner on the grille start cooking it straight away without delay
6. use tongs – when putting meat into a pitta or onto a plate use metal or plastic tongs rather than touching it with your hands, this will avoid the spread of invisible bacteria (it also looks more professional to your customers)
7. dress to impress – it’s really hard to keep your clothing clean when working in a kebab shop, so have a good supply of spare shirts, aprons and hats/caps.  The slightest soiling might get noticed by customers and can also be a source of contamination, so change whenever you need to.
8. deliveries – get your suppliers to give you a timeslot for deliveries, this means that you can be ready for them and be sure they won’t arrive when you are busy.  When anything is delivered make sure you check : temperature of frozen or chilled items, packaging for traces of damage/leaks, use by dates etc. then get the delivery stored away in the appropriate place so that it it not left lying about to be damaged or to get spoilt.

Remember you are in rapidly expanding industry (current UK annual estimate £2bn) and in a key position to keep you customers safe and happy !

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