Safe Food Storage and Preparation

Photo by Steve Sara / MCSP

Appropriate Resources:

Ensuring safe food storage and preparation is an often neglected component of WASH in HCF. In 2006, the WHO published the Five Keys to Safer Food manual, which stresses the following:

  1. Keep hands and surfaces clean (for handwashing standards, click here)
  2. Separate raw from cookedf ood
  3. Cook food thoroughly
  4. Keep food at safe temperatures
  5. Use safe water and clean utensils

The cooking area should be equipped with a handwashing station and a water point containing treated water. Soap and disinfect should be readily available to facilitate hand hygiene, food hygiene, and surface cleaning.

Appropriate Staff, Process and Management Considerations:

HCF management should ensure that all food that is stored and prepared for patients adheres to the five keys to safer food. Cooking staff should be trained in food hygiene and provided with a dedicated cooking space to facilitate kitchen and food management. Cleaning staff should be sure to include cooking areas in their daily cleaning, maintenance and restocking duties.

MCSP Rapid Assessment Questions:

To improve safe food storage and preparation, each HCF can consider the following questions from MCSP’s HCF rapid assessment tool. The tool was adapted from WHO’s Essential Environmental Standards in Health Care.

Food Storage and Preparation: Food for patients, staff and caregivers is stored and prepared so as to minimize the risk of disease transmission.

Design and construction Operation and maintenance
  • Are food storage and preparation areas designed and built so as to be easy to keep clean?
  • Are food storage and preparation areas kept clean and protected from rodents and insects?
  • Are cooking facilities adequate for heating food sufficiently?
  • Is food cooked thoroughly?

Additional Tools and Resources for Safe Food Storage and Preparation in HCF settings:

  • For more information and resources related to food safety, visit WHO’s food safety webpage.