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Catering from Home

Catering from home for large functions is not something to be taken on lightly.

Large amounts of food need to be prepared in advance and stored appropriately prior to consumption. If not done properly the risk of food poisoning is increased. You need to plan ahead and think carefully about food safety. If you are thinking of catering for larger than usual numbers, here are some DOs and DON'Ts.

Plan Carefully

  • DON'T make foods too far in advance.
  • DO make sure you have got enough fridge and freezer space. Enlist the help of friends and neighbours to ensure that you have the capacity you need.
  • DON'T leave food standing around for several hours in a warm room before it is eaten.

Proper temperature control is essential

  • DO make sure that perishable food is kept chilled. This means cold meats, quiches, desserts etc. Keep the most perishable foods in the coldest part of the fridge; but always store cooked food above raw, in case there are any drips.
  • DO make sure that food is cooked thoroughly. Large meat joints and whole poultry need special care to make sure the centre is well cooked. If you are reheating food, DON'T do it more than once. Always heat until piping hot all the way through (i.e. 82°C).
  • DO keep hot food hot and cold food cold.

Avoid contaminating prepared food

  • DON'T let raw foods, like meat and poultry, or unwashed fruit, vegetables and salads, come into contact with food that is ready to eat.
  • DO wash your hands thoroughly before touching foods and after handling raw foods especially meat and poultry.

Take care with eggs

  • DON'T use raw eggs in uncooked foods e.g. chocolate mousse, cake icing, and home-made mayonnaise. Use pasteurised egg or a commercial mayonnaise.

If you are thinking of catering for a large function from your own home, the best advice is - If you can't do it safely, don't do it at all.

Updated: 23 Oct 2014
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