Trust but verify. This principle has become a mantra in the highly sensitive food industry. Anyone who produces food must take responsibility for ensuring it is safe at all stages of production until it is sold to consumers. In the European Union, companies are required to perform internal audits and controls in line with the HACCP concept. This means that anyone who is using the Kitchen Lab to experiment with, present or develop food products must tackle issues such as risk analysis and the need to formulate a hygiene handbook. This guarantees that suitable measures are put in place by the lab users themselves to reduce hygiene and health risks to a minimum.
Yeast and moulds, bacteria and viruses – some microorganisms are important components of food and drink products like yogurt, cheese, bread, beer or wine. Others, however, may pose a significant risk to food safety and, as a result, human health. Internal and external factors creating favourable conditions in which these organisms may grow, such as temperature and pH value, must therefore be monitored extremely closely.
Hygienic practices are an absolute must in the Kitchen Lab. However, showering alone is not enough to prevent germs and bacteria from dirt being transferred to the food products. Clean work clothes are essential and, depending on the activities being performed, additional protective clothing may be required.
Watches and jewellery must be removed. This allows users to wash and disinfect their hands and lower arms as thoroughly as possible in the lab’s hygiene lock. Specific hygiene measures are also in place for all the surfaces, equipment and machinery in the Kitchen Lab. In order to deprive insects, other vermin and harmful bacteria of anything to feed on, food waste, fat, soil, dirt and any other unwanted materials must be removed as part of a targeted cleaning process. This must be followed by the disinfection of all work areas in order to kill any remaining germs.
In the Kitchen Lab, you can rest assured that you are working in a safe environment. To ensure this, we not only regularly maintain the premises and equipment, but have also introduced a meticulous procedure for preventing insects and other vermin from infiltrating the lab. By carefully inspecting all products brought into the lab (in particular raw food), checking for signs of pests and reporting any such indications immediately, each Kitchen Lab user plays a part in this.
Whenever you bring food into the Kitchen Lab and process it, you are subject to the same rules as all food companies. Food must be transported in specially approved refrigerated vehicles or containers. This is vital because an unbroken cold chain is the only way of ensuring food is of a high quality and has the longest possible shelf life. The prescribed limits must also be monitored and documented on an ongoing basis during production and storage.
Anyone manufacturing food products in the Kitchen Lab is additionally required to comply with the legal regulations on traceability.
Whether food is being kept warm, defrosted or fried, strict statutory provisions must be observed when processing food. In particular, this involves keeping food within a certain temperature range, sticking to time constraints and documenting these practices. For example, when frying food, it is important not to exceed the limit for polar compounds, which form when the oil is heated for too long and to an excessively high temperature.