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For Airbnb Experiences that include food preparation, hosts are required to follow guidelines based on the Pan American Health Organization’s Five Keys to Safer Food Program. Many places also have laws regulating food safety, and it’s every host’s responsibility to learn about local laws that affect their experience.
Keep things clean
While most microorganisms don’t cause disease, dangerous microorganisms are widely found in soil, water, animals, and people. These can be carried on hands, cloths used for wiping surfaces or cleaning, utensils, and especially cutting boards. The slightest contact can transfer dangerous microorganisms to food and cause foodborne disease.
- Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation
- Wash your hands after going to the toilet
- Wash and sanitize all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation
- Protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests, and other animals
Separate raw and cooked foods
Raw food, especially meat, poultry, and seafood—as well as their juices—can also contain dangerous microorganisms that may be transferred onto other foods during food preparation and storage.
- Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods
- Use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cutting boards for handling raw foods
- Store raw and prepared foods in separate food containers to avoid contact between them
Cook food thoroughly
Cooking food to a temperature of 158 degrees Fahrenheit/70 degrees Celsius can kill almost all dangerous microorganisms and ensure it is safe for consumption. Foods that require special attention include minced meats, rolled roasts, large joints of meat, and whole poultry.
- Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood
- Bring foods like soups and stews to boiling to make sure they have reached 158 degrees Fahrenheit/70 degrees Celsius degrees
- Reheat cooked food thoroughly
Keep food at safe temperatures
Microorganisms can multiply very quickly if food is stored at room temperatures. By holding at temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius/41 degrees Fahrenheit or above 60 degrees Celsius/140 degrees Fahrenheit, the growth of microorganisms is slowed down or stopped. Some dangerous microorganisms still grow below 5 degrees Celsius/41 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Don’t leave cooked food at room temperature for more than two hours
- Refrigerate all cooked and perishable food promptly (preferably below 41 degrees Fahrenheit/5 degrees Celsius)
- Keep cooked food above 140 degrees Fahrenheit/60 degrees Celsius prior to serving
- Don’t store food too long, even in the refrigerator
- Don’t thaw frozen food at room temperature
Use safe water and quality raw ingredients
Raw ingredients as well as water and ice may be contaminated with dangerous microorganisms and chemicals, and toxic chemicals may be formed in damaged and moldy foods. Carefully selecting ingredients and washing and peeling foods may reduce risk.
- Use safe water or treat it to make it safe
- Select fresh foods
- Choose foods processed for safety, such as pasteurized milk
- Wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw
- Don’t use food beyond its expiration date
Read more detailed guidelines from the Pan American Health Organization.