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Food Safety Guide for Dessert Parlours

Meeting food hygiene regulations, food hygiene legislation, staff training and food hazards

Food Safety Guides » Food Safety Guide for Dessert Parlours

Meeting food hygiene regulation in dessert parlours

The market has seen huge growth in the dessert parlour sector in recent years. In 2018, 92 new dessert parlour venues opened their doors. With such eateries, the focus is on quality indulgence with desserts such as bubble waffles, ice cream sundaes, crepes, milkshakes and cakes on offer.

Dessert parlours are also squeezing into the night-time economy, with parlours open later into the evening, attracting families for social events and younger people who want a quieter environment in comparison to the typical pub or club atmosphere.

Dessert parlours don’t just offer great food choices. The desserts are often insta-worthy in their presentation, with customers encouraged to share photos of their desserts on social media. This only increases the popularity of the dessert parlour, causing organic growth in the sector. However, what’s not so instagrammable is a bout of food poisoning caused by poor food hygiene and safety practices at a dessert parlour.

The impact of poor sanitation and below-par food safety can be devastating. Contamination of food and drink can make customers ill, cause them to suffer unpleasant consequences, and can even be life-threatening. Aside from foodborne illnesses, allergies are also on the rise. Dessert parlours must therefore take food hygiene practices extremely seriously for this reason too. Some people are particularly vulnerable to these concerns such as the elderly, young children, those with weakened immune systems, and as mentioned, allergy sufferers.

All dessert parlours will be inspected by their Local Authority’s Environmental Health Officer as a part of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. If a dessert parlour has poor standards when it comes to food hygiene practices, its food hygiene score will reflect this. A poor rating can mean that many customers turn away from the dessert parlour when they get to the door, which of course will have an impact on the venue’s profits.

This Food Safety and Hygiene Guide for Dessert Parlours will provide advice on how to achieve good food safety and hygiene standards in the venue as well as highlight why food hygiene and safety are of the utmost importance when running a thriving dessert parlour business.

Food safety and hygiene legislation to follow for dessert parlours

As a food and drink business, all dessert parlours must follow certain food safety regulations to ensure that their customers are safe when eating and drinking their products. There are several enforceable laws to protect consumers in this regard.

They are:

  • The Food Safety Act 1990 This Act provides a framework for all dessert parlours and other food and drink establishments to follow. The Act ensures that dessert parlours and other businesses do not put anything in food, remove anything from food, or treat food in ways that would mean it could be damaging to the health of those eating it. It also ensures that dessert parlours serve or sell food that is of the substance, nature and quality that customers should expect and that food is labelled, presented and advertised in a way that is not misleading or false.
  • The Food Standards Act 1999 This Act establishes the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as the body that oversees food safety laws and legislation in the UK. Its main goal is to protect public health when it comes to food and gives the FSA the power to act in the consumers’ best interests during all stages of food production, processing and supply.
  • The Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations:
    – The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013
    – The Food Hygiene Regulations (Scotland) 2006
    – The Food Hygiene Regulations (Wales) 2006
    – The Food Hygiene Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006
  • The Food Information Regulations 2014: 
    – These regulations stipulate that businesses must provide allergen information if a food contains any of the 14 listed allergens.
    – These were amended by the Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 to include Natasha’s Law.

 

Natasha’s Law

Natasha’s Law came into force on 1 October 2021. This law is the legacy left following the tragic death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a teenager who died after suffering an allergic reaction to a baguette from Pret a Manger.

Natasha died after eating an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette that she bought from Pret at Heathrow Airport in July 2016. On her flight, she began to feel ill and suffered a cardiac arrest. The baguette contained sesame baked into the dough which caused her body to go into anaphylactic shock. Despite her father administering two EpiPen injections, Natasha died the same day. Sesame was not listed as an ingredient on the packaging.

Before Natasha’s Law came into force, dessert parlours and food establishments did not need to label packaged food containing allergens if they were made on the premises. These foods are called prepacked for direct sale, or PPDS. They can be made and packaged at the same place they are sold or offered and placed in the packaging ready for sale. It includes foods from display units or fridges (as is the case with Pret a Manger) as well as other products from behind the counter or sold at temporary and mobile outlets. It’s important to note that this law relates to packaged foods only. If food isn’t packaged, it doesn’t require labelling but the allergen information must still be readily available to the consumer.

Some examples of PPDS food include:

  • Bakery goods which are packaged on-site before a customer orders or selects them.
  • Fast food that has been packaged before it is ordered. This includes things like burgers being wrapped and then kept under hot lamps until they are ordered or selected.
  • Cookie or ice cream samples that are freely distributed as sample products but which were previously packaged on-site.
  • Products that are packaged ready for sale such as ready-made dessert pots, crepes or doughnuts, for example.

 

The label must include:

  • The name of the food item.
  • The ingredients list.
  • Any of the 14 allergens required by law listed and emphasised.
Strawberry Milkshake
Cupcake
Cookie

What happens if the legislation is not followed?

If a dessert parlour does not follow food safety legislation, aside from the illness and harm it could cause to its customers, there are legal consequences too. The local authority may take legal action against the dessert parlour. The consequences include fines, closure orders and even imprisonment of individuals responsible for the violations.

Prosecution Case

In 2022, a case was brought against dessert shop D’Luxe Desserts in Lye. Environmental health officers found there to be six breaches of food hygiene and safety laws on the premises. This included a failure to keep the premises clean and in good repair and a failure to ensure that food equipment was also kept clean and in good condition. There was also no hand washbasin in the kitchen. Its director, Yusuf Razak, pleaded guilty to all offences and the company was ordered to pay significant fines: £5,332 for the two most serious offences as well as £1,034 in costs and £190 as a victim surcharge. Mr Razak himself was fined £230 and had to pay the remaining £1,034 costs to the council and a £46 victim surcharge.

Aside from legal action, a dessert parlour can also suffer in other ways:

  • Reputational damage – A dessert parlour could suffer from negative publicity as a result of any legal action or word of mouth due to breaches in food safety legislation. This can impact the trust that customers have in the dessert parlour, which can ultimately harm the bottom line.
  • Loss of customers – As a result of reputational damage or due to a poor food safety rating, customers may avoid a dessert parlour. This will lead to reduced profitability which can have devastating financial consequences for a business.
  • Increased scrutiny – If a dessert parlour has previously breached food safety legislation, it may be subject to increased scrutiny from the authorities. This can result in additional inspections and audits.
  • Loss of licences – Depending on the severity of the violations, a dessert parlour may lose its licence to operate. This is a devastating outcome for a business and can lead to its complete closure.
Staff training on food hygiene for dessert parlours

Staff training on food hygiene for dessert parlours

Staff training on food hygiene is a legal requirement for all food businesses, including dessert parlours. By law, all dessert parlours must make sure that staff who handle, prepare or sell food are supervised and trained in food hygiene. This does not mean that every staff member needs to have a food hygiene certificate.

However, evidence of food safety training is the best way to show customers and environmental health officers (EHOs) that the dessert parlour is putting its customers’ safety first. Having such training also provides evidence that a dessert parlour has due diligence should it be investigated for breaches of food safety legislation.

Dessert parlour staff should receive food hygiene training that is appropriate for their level of responsibility, their tasks and the area where they work.

Food hygiene training should include:

1. Personal hygiene
Staff should be trained on the importance of personal hygiene such as handwashing, covering cuts and wounds, and not working when ill.

2. Food storage
Staff should be trained on how to store food correctly, including temperature control and separation of raw and cooked foods.

3. Food preparation
Staff should be trained well on how to prepare food safely such as avoiding cross-contamination, cooking food thoroughly, and ensuring that food is not left out at room temperature for too long.

4. Cleaning and sanitation
Staff should be trained on proper cleaning and sanitation practices, including how to clean equipment and surfaces, and how to use cleaning products safely.

5. Food safety management
This should include the principles of food safety management, including hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), which is a systematic approach to identifying and controlling potential hazards in food production.

When it comes to food hygiene training and certification, there are three levels:

  • Level 1 – Level 1 is an introduction to food hygiene practices. This training is typically for those who handle low-risk foods such as foods that are already in packaging or already pre-prepared on-site. This level of certification is useful for waiting staff or front-of-house staff who are not in direct contact with the food.
  • Level 2 – Level 2 is a basic food hygiene certificate. This is a good choice of certification for staff who prepare, cook and handle foods. Most dessert parlour workers will need Level 2 certification, particularly those who work in the kitchen or are baristas.
  • Level 3 – Level 3 is classed as an intermediate food hygiene certificate. This is for those who have significant responsibilities within the dessert parlour such as the owner, managers and supervisors as well as those involved in HACCP and food safety management systems.

 

Aside from initial training, it is also important that training is refreshed and updated frequently, especially when new legislation has been introduced such as the example of Natasha’s Law. The frequency of the training will depend on the dessert parlour, the type of food and drink handled and the workers’ competency. Most workers will need refresher training around every two years or so.

Food hazards in dessert parlours

Food hazards in dessert parlours

Most people have some level of awareness when it comes to food hazards. However, when running a dessert parlour, the awareness of the different potential hazards must be well understood. A food hazard, as defined by the FSA, is “something that could make food unsafe or unfit to eat.” Food hazards fit into four different categories: biological, chemical, physical and allergenic.

Biological

Biological food hazards are microorganisms or other living organisms that can cause illness or disease in humans when they are consumed in contaminated food. The most common biological hazards in food include bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.

  • Bacteria – Certain bacteria, such as salmonella, campylobacter and Escherichia coli (E. coli), can cause food poisoning when they are present in contaminated food.
  • Viruses – Hepatitis A, norovirus and other viruses can be spread to humans through eating contaminated food. They can cause gastrointestinal illnesses, amongst other things.
  • Parasites – Toxoplasma gondii and cryptosporidium are just two of many parasites that cause illness in humans if they are eaten in contaminated food.
  • Fungi – With many fungi, it’s not the fungus itself that causes illness (although it can), it’s often the toxins that the fungi produce that contaminate the food. For example, Aspergillus flavus produces the toxin aflatoxin which causes illness in humans.

 

Chemical

Chemical food hazards refer to harmful substances that can contaminate food and cause illness or disease when consumed. Such substances can occur naturally in the environment or be added to food either intentionally or unintentionally.

Some chemical food hazards include:

  • Pesticides – Pesticides are often used in farming. They are chemical products that control diseases and pests commonly found in crops. If they are used in excess or improperly, they can contaminate food and cause those who eat the food to suffer from health problems.
  • Heavy metals – Lead, mercury and cadmium are just some heavy metals that can contaminate food through water and soil pollution or if packaging or equipment is contaminated with them.
  • Food additives – Sweeteners, preservatives, flavourings and colourings are often added to food for a variety of reasons. These can cause adverse reactions in some people, especially if they are used excessively beyond levels that are generally considered safe.
  • Contaminants from food packaging – Sometimes, unsafe packaging or food storage containers can cause contaminants to enter foods. These include bisphenol A (BPA) and plasticisers. When consumed, they can cause health problems, particularly when consumed over a long period.
  • Acrylamide – This chemical naturally occurs in some foods such as bread and potatoes when heated to high temperatures during cooking. Acrylamide has been linked to cancer.

 

Physical

Foreign objects or materials that have entered the food during preparation or cooking are what is meant by a physical food hazard. They mostly enter food accidentally but can also occasionally be added to contaminate food intentionally. Physical hazards can cause dessert parlour customers to choke, cut part of their mouth or cause them to suffer from dental damage.

Physical hazards include:

  • Glass or metal fragments – These can make their way into food during the production process such as if a glass jar or metal equipment is broken.
  • Stones or dirt – These hazards can occur if food is not properly washed before preparing it or not properly sorted. Vegetables and salads are common places where these hazards occur.
  • Bone fragments – Meat and fish products are prone to this physical hazard if they are not properly removed during processing. Whilst not common in dessert parlours, workers should still be aware of this hazard.
  • Plastic or rubber materials – Food packaging and containers are often a source of physical food hazards if they are not removed properly or break when preparing food.
  • Jewellery, hair or nails – Many kitchens have strict rules on hair, nails and jewellery (as they should) to prevent physical contaminants from entering food. If employees do not follow a good standard of hygiene including hairnets, having clean, un-painted nails and removing jewellery, these items can enter the food being prepared.

 

Allergenic

Whilst biological, chemical and physical hazards generally cause equal or near-equal harm to whoever consumes them unintentionally (with the exception of immunocompromised people perhaps), allergenic food hazards affect only a small number of particular people – those with food allergies. Allergens are mostly proteins in food that cause an expected or atypical reaction in a person’s immune system when they eat it. The immune system releases histamines and certain other chemicals to “combat” the threat the allergen poses, and these chemicals cause symptoms in the sufferer. The symptoms can be mild, such as a rash or itching, to severe and life-threatening, such as anaphylaxis.

Some of the most common allergenic hazards in food include:

  • Peanuts and tree nuts.
  • Milk and dairy products.
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat and gluten
  • Soy

 

Certain parts of food safety laws outline 14 allergens that must be emphasised and clearly identified in labelling on food and drink packaging. These allergens must also be listed on menus or readily available in a document or folder for customers.

Dessert parlours should ensure that they have robust allergen management procedures in place as well as free-from products available for their customers. Many customers with allergies will let their hosts know of their allergies on booking or on arrival. This gives the dessert parlour staff time to prepare and ensure that everything is as safe as possible for their guests.

The 4Cs

Dessert parlours should follow the 4Cs of food hygiene to best prevent and avoid food hazards.

The 4Cs are:

 

Cleaning

The Food Standards Agency report that a lack of cleaning thoroughly is one of the most common faults that result in a business such as a dessert parlour being prosecuted, as was the case with D’Luxe Desserts in Lye mentioned above. Cleaning properly is vital as it prevents harmful allergens and pathogens from spreading or contaminating food. It also discourages pests.

Dessert parlours must have thorough cleaning schedules and procedures to ensure that all areas of the establishment are cleaned properly. This includes food storage areas, food preparation areas, serving and eating areas as well as toilet and bathroom areas. Many dessert parlours operate a ‘clean as you go’ system whereby workers continually clean up after themselves as well as doing a final clean after the establishment has closed for the day.

 

Cooking

Many dessert parlours cook food on the premises including breakfast foods like waffles and pancakes as well as serving ice cream sundaes and cakes. Dessert parlour workers must ensure that food is cooked properly before serving it to their customers. If it is undercooked, it can mean that the food is not safe to eat and could cause food poisoning. Cooking food at the correct temperature for the correct amount of time means that any harmful bacteria present in the food would be killed.

How to cook food well and appropriately depends on the type of food. However, dessert parlours should also follow any food preparation guidelines on packaging (if present) and ensure that it is piping hot before it is served. Many dessert parlours use a probe to test the temperature of food. It should be cooked at at least 70°C for a minimum of two minutes. Some dessert parlours also reheat foods like pre-made waffles. Reheated food must be heated for at least 30 seconds at 75°C or above. In Scotland, the rules are different and it should be heated to at least 82°C. Food should also only ever be reheated once.

Cross-Contamination

Many foodborne illnesses occur due to cross-contamination. This is when harmful bacteria or allergens are transferred via utensils, surfaces, and food to food or between people. It is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Cross-contamination can also occur with cleaning chemicals, especially ones that are sprayed into the air and can settle on food, equipment or surfaces. Allergen cross-contamination is known as cross-contact. This is where allergens are unknowingly transferred from products containing allergens to allergen-free products.

Dessert parlours must take cross-contamination seriously and have systems in place to prevent it such as:

  • Practising good personal hygiene.
  • Having separate areas for utensils and equipment.
  • Cleaning utensils and equipment thoroughly between uses.
  • Storing food properly (i.e. storing allergen-containing foods separately).
  • Being very cautious and consistent when it comes to cleaning.

Dessert parlours must also be aware that coffee machines pose a greater risk of cross-contamination than other preparation methods due to the different kinds of milk and coffee that are used. Steamers can have milk residue on them that could contaminate dairy-free milks. Similarly, nut milks such as almond milk could contaminate a nut-free milk, posing risks for allergy sufferers. Thorough cleaning of the machines between uses is essential. This also limits the risk of bacterial contamination too. Many dessert parlours have procedures to limit cross-contamination with coffee machines including different coloured jugs or different steamers for alternative milks.

Chilling

Some foods must be stored in refrigerators at certain temperatures before use to be safe to eat. Chilling does not kill any harmful bacteria, but it limits them from growing in unsafe quantities. If food is not chilled properly, it enters something called the ‘danger zone’ which encourages pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi to grow. This increases the risks of food poisoning.

All dessert parlours should ensure that food is properly chilled. This means:

  • Fridges are kept at 5°C or below.
  • Freezer temperatures are at least -18°C or below.
  • Food in the fridge is stored correctly with raw meat at the bottom.
  • Frozen food should be defrosted in a fridge overnight and by following any instructions found on the packaging.
  • The food storage instructions on packaging should always be followed with use-by dates monitored.
  • The fridge and freezer should regularly be emptied of out-of-date or spoiled foods and cleaned regularly.

Personal hygiene in dessert parlours

Personal hygiene is vital in all areas of our lives, but when working in a dessert parlour and preparing food and drink for other people it is not only essential, but it’s also the law. Regulation 852/2004 stipulates that food handlers must maintain high standards when it comes to personal hygiene.

Personal hygiene is not just about washing your hands. It can include clothing, habits, hair, jewellery, illness and smoking too. If dessert parlour employees do not follow good personal hygiene practices, they can contaminate foods with many hazards including biological and physical hazards through direct contact as well as cross-contamination.

Personal hygiene training for all staff should be mandatory and should include but is not limited to:

  • Washing hands thoroughly before handling and preparing any food or drinks.
  • Washing hands thoroughly before handling and preparing any food or drinks.
  • Tying long hair back and/or wearing a hairnet or hat.
  • Having clean, short fingernails without nail varnish.
  • No watches or jewellery except for a plain wedding ring.
  • No strong scented toiletries or perfumes which could affect or taint food.
  • Ensuring workers are wearing suitable clothing that is clean and practical. This can include gloves and aprons.
  • No sneezing or coughing near or around food and in food preparation areas.
  • Discouraging behaviours such as chewing gum and touching the face and hair.

 

If dessert parlour employees are ill, it compromises the safety of the food being prepared. Dessert parlour owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that their staff are not ill when handling food. This applies to illnesses such as diarrhoea and vomiting as well as skin infections, sores or cold sores. Blue or other brightly coloured plasters should be worn over any cuts or sores, even if they are not infected.

Dessert parlours should also have methods and procedures for reporting illnesses that involve gastrointestinal symptoms as well as hepatitis A infections, wounds, skin infections and sores. If a dessert parlour worker has vomiting and/or diarrhoea, they should not work for at least 48 hours after their symptoms have stopped. If they are at work when the symptoms strike, they should leave and return home immediately.

Food Allergens in Dessert Parlours

Food allergens in dessert parlours

We’ve already touched on food allergens when discussing legislation, Natasha’s Law and cross-contamination. However, allergens pose such a risk to some people that workers in dessert parlours must be fully clear on what the risks are as well as what is required from the parlour when it comes to protecting their customers from the harm that they can cause.

There are 14 allergens that must be declared on the packaging and menus by law.

These are:

  • Celery
  • Cereals containing gluten such as wheat, rye, barley and oats.
  • Crustaceans, such as prawns, crabs and lobsters.
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lupin
  • Milk
  • Molluscs such as clams, mussels and oysters
  • Mustard
  • Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, pistachios and Brazil nuts.
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Sulphur dioxide and sulphites (at concentrations of more than 10mg/kg or 10mg/litre).

 

Due to their nature, dessert parlours are a haven of allergens. Desserts like crepes, waffles, cakes and cookies all contain eggs and milk; ice cream, cream and milkshakes are heavy on milk; and let’s not forget all the many toppings for pancakes and waffles that contain many of the 14 allergens listed above! Nuts, peanuts, cereals, milk and soy are all extremely common in dessert toppings.

Information regarding these allergens must be in writing for any prepared or served foods in the dessert parlour. Pre-packed foods that are sold including canned and bottled drinks should already have the allergens listed on the packaging. However, if cakes and biscuits are removed from the packaging, they must be stored clearly so that customers can access the information. Labels should be checked before food is given to customers. As mentioned above, pre-packed foods for direct sale (PPDS) must now also come with allergy labelling as per Natasha’s Law.

For loose foods or those that aren’t pre-packed such as cakes, pastries and other desserts served to customers, allergen information must be easily accessible to customers. This can include having it listed clearly on menus as well as providing ingredient lists in a folder.

When preparing food, dessert parlours must also take precautions to ensure that any food allergens are handled safely and effectively to avoid cross-contact.

This can be achieved in a variety of ways:

  • Ensuring that allergenic hazards are included in HACCP systems and controls are put in place.
  • Providing training on allergens for staff, including what to do in emergencies if a customer has an allergic reaction.
  • Looking for allergenic ingredients on purchased products before using or supplying them.
  • Preparing products containing allergens in a separate area from non-allergenic products, for example, using different coloured chopping boards.
  • Storing allergen-containing products separately from non-allergen-containing products.
  • Cleaning surfaces and utensils thoroughly between uses where separate equipment is not possible (i.e. coffee machines).
  • Checking pre-packaged ingredients thoroughly for allergens especially considering many pre-bought items can change ingredients or formulation without warning even if you have used the product before.
  • Labelling containers with any allergens stored within them.
  • Recording information regarding allergens accurately, including on-shelf labels or ingredient labels and recipes.

 

Sadly, unlike bacteria and other contaminants, allergens cannot be destroyed in the cooking process. As such, dessert parlours must be vigilant and careful when handling allergens and take particular care if a customer reports that they are allergic to something.

Dessert parlours that use self-serve areas or topping stations where customers can add their own toppings to their desserts pose a particular risk when it comes to cross-contact with allergens. For those with serious allergies, using such a system is usually too much of a risk and a dessert parlour may find that these guests do not use it out of choice. However, dessert parlour staff should ensure that all the necessary precautions are taken when it comes to self-serve areas.

This includes providing separate utensils for each topping, having enough space around each topping so that spillages do not easily contaminate other toppings, and having warning signs regarding allergens in the toppings as well as instructions on how customers should serve themselves. Staff must also carefully monitor this area in case accidental contamination or spillages occur.

Safely Storing Food in a Bakery

Safely storing food in dessert parlours

Storing food safely in a dessert parlour is critical to prevent foodborne illnesses and maintain food quality. Dessert parlours must have good systems in place when it comes to food storage.

Safe food storage practices should include:

  • Storing food at the right temperature. The refrigerator should be kept at or below 5°C and frozen food at or below -18°C. To keep hot food hot, it should be at or above 63°C.
  • Storage containers should be food-safe and should be able to withstand the temperature of the food they store. Containers should be labelled with the name of the food and the date it was stored as well as labelling any allergens within it to ensure proper and safe storage.
  • Food should be stored in clean, dry and well-ventilated areas to prevent the growth of bacteria and mould.
  • The temperature of the fridge and freezer should be checked regularly to ensure that they are working correctly.
  • Advice for specific food storage should be followed. For example, potatoes, tomatoes and bananas should not be stored in the fridge.
  • Rotate food regularly to ensure that older food is used up first. Have a system with first-in-first-out (FIFO) stock rotation.
  • The storage areas should be cleaned and maintained regularly including shelving and any equipment. Following a cleaning schedule is recommended and appropriate cleaning products should be used.
  • Dispose of any spoiled or out-of-date food promptly.
  • Accurate records of food storage temperatures, stock rotation and any related incidents should be kept as this information is crucial for food safety inspections and audits.

 

Hot Holding

Some dessert parlours may keep hot food in heated units on display. This is a perfect opportunity for bacteria to grow if the temperature is not correct. As mentioned in the list above, hot food should be kept at 63°C or above to prevent this from occurring. If it is kept below this temperature for over two hours, it cannot be safely consumed.

Following these safe storage practices will mean that dessert parlours are doing everything they can to meet food safety legislation and prevent illnesses in their customers.

Safely Serving Food in a Bakery

Safely serving food in dessert parlours

When serving food in a dessert parlour, it must be handled correctly to ensure that it is not contaminated during the serving process. As would be expected, all areas related to serving such as hatches and trays should also be kept clean and in a good state of repair. Staff handling the food should maintain high standards of personal hygiene too, as described above.

When serving food, waiting staff should:

  • Take care when handling and serving food that is ready to eat.
  • Use utensils to handle food rather than touching it directly.
  • Wear gloves when handling items such as scones or cakes, for example.
  • Follow hot holding guidelines.

 

When serving food in a dessert parlour, it must be handled correctly to ensure that it is not contaminated during the serving process. As would be expected, all areas related to serving such as hatches and trays should also be kept clean and in a good state of repair. Staff handling the food should maintain high standards of personal hygiene too, as described above.

Waste Management in a Bakery

Waste management in dessert parlours

Dessert parlours are likely to produce substantial waste. This will include food waste, packaging and other waste products. Handling waste management effectively is essential. If not, it can lead to issues with pests and vermin, including infestations.

It also increases the presence of pathogens such as viruses and bacteria on the premises. Furthermore, if food is left to rot, it can begin to smell, which customers will certainly find unpleasant, not to mention unsanitary.

Waste should be segregated and disposed of appropriately. Waste management principles in a dessert parlour should include:

  • Regularly removing waste from food areas so that it does not accumulate.
  • Having an appropriate number of bins in accessible locations both inside and outside the dessert parlour premises, including:
    – Different bins for different wastes including recycling.
    – Bins operated by a foot pedal so that they are not touched by hand.
    – Bins with lids that fit well to prevent access to pests.
  • Regularly cleaning bins and disinfecting them.
  • Lining bins with suitable bin liners.
  • Emptying both inside and outside bins regularly.
  • Ensuring the bins are in areas that are designed for waste disposal.
  • Keeping outside bins locked when not in use.
Pest Control in a Bakery

Pest control in dessert parlours

The last thing anyone wants to read about is a pest infestation at their favourite dessert parlour. It’ll certainly put off most customers! Pests are any animal or insect that can contaminate food with pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. If uncontrolled, pests can become an infestation. Aside from pathogen exposure, pests also produce physical hazards such as droppings, feathers, fur and even their whole body (or part of it!).

Environmental Health Officers close down food outlets such as dessert parlours due to pest infestations more than any other reason.

Pests include:

  • Rodents – including mice and rats. Rodents are attracted to any accessible food source and can cause extensive damage to the premises and equipment as well as contaminate food with their droppings.
  • Insects – including ants, cockroaches and flies. Fruit flies, house flies, ants and wasps in particular are attracted to the sweetness of foods found in dessert parlours. Cockroaches also enjoy the warm and humid environments that dessert parlours often provide.
  • Small insects in stored products – such as flour weevils. Flour should be inspected on arrival from the supplier as well as on a regular basis to check for stored product insects. Dessert parlours use lots of flour in their desserts such as in crepes, waffles and baking, and stored product insects can easily penetrate a whole supply.
  • Birds – pigeons, seagulls or other birds nesting outside can be problematic in some dessert parlours, particularly if there is an outdoor seating area.

Preventing pests is an essential part of running any food and drink establishment.

To prevent and control pests:

  • Keep the dessert parlour clean. Regular cleaning including the floors, walls, tables and counters is essential for preventing pests. Make sure to clean up any food spills promptly and thoroughly.
  • Dispose of litter properly. Pests are attracted to food waste, so it’s essential to dispose of any waste properly and frequently. Use tightly sealed bins to prevent any pests from entering and dispose of the rubbish regularly.
  • Store food properly. Food should be stored in airtight containers to prevent pests from entering. Containers should also be kept off the floor so that pests cannot access them. When food deliveries arrive, be observant of any signs of pests before you store the delivery.
  • Seal entry points. Pests can enter the dessert parlour through small cracks and gaps, so it’s essential to ensure that all areas around doors, windows, floor and pipes are sealed properly.
  • Use pest control products. If you suspect pests, use pest control products to catch and eliminate them. Be sure to follow all instructions properly especially if you are using a chemical product in a food preparation area.
  • Hire a pest control professional. If pests have become a problem, it’s best to hire a professional to do the job for you. They can even perform regular inspections to keep on top of any potential pest problems before there’s an infestation.
  • Educate the staff. Ensure that staff are aware of the importance of pest control and how to prevent pests in the dessert parlour.

By following these pest control tips, the health and safety of the dessert parlour environment are maintained for both customers and employees.

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