Food Safety


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Food safety is essential for restaurants and food service professionals. These tips help keep food safety as a top priority in daily operations.
  1. Check expiration and use-by dates when receiving food and identify the required government inspection stamps (when appropriate).
  2. Check each storage area to ensure refrigerated food is kept at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below, or 32 degrees or below if hard frozen. (0 degrees F is best for long-term storage).
  3. Store cooked and ready-to-eat foods above raw food in the refrigerator to avoid cross-contamination. Also, when storing raw meat, store beef on the upper shelf (but below cooked food and vegetables) then pork below beef, then chicken on the lowest shelf. NEVER store ANY food below raw chicken.
  4. Store large amounts of thick food, such as chili, in shallow, 2-inch deep pans.
  5. Store frozen, raw fish in airtight and moisture-proof wrapping.
  6. Cool foods before refrigerating to prevent bacterial growth and avoid raising the unit temperature, endangering other foods stored there. 

    Proper cooling methods are:
    1. to place food in shallow, 4-inch deep pan with no more than 2 inches deep of food in the pan. Leave the top 2 inches for air flow. Place in refrigerator, loosely covered with lid or foil until cold (41 degrees F or colder). Once proper cold storage temperature is reached, cover the pan tightly with a lid.
    2. Stir food to release heat from the inner core of the pot prior to placing in refrigerator.
    3. Ice may be placed around the food container or added to the food if appropriate. Ice must be made from potable (drinkable) water.
    4. Using a blast chiller or blast freezer unit to bring down temperature to proper coldness (41 degrees Fahrenheit or colder) is also acceptable.
  7. Use the FIFO method. Label and date product, and use food in the order, in which it is received - first in, first out.
  8. Quickly move received items to storage. Do not leave them on the dock or in hallways.
  1. Thaw frozen food in a refrigerator or under running potable water at a temperature of 70 degrees F or lower as part of the cooking process or in a microwave if in smaller quantities. Never thaw at room temperature.

    Proper thawing methods include:
    1. Frozen food may be thawed by placing in a refrigerator that keeps it cold (41 degrees Fahrenheit or colder). This must be done two to three (2-3) DAYS prior to use.
    2. Microwave thawing is acceptable, as long as food is cooked immediately after thawing.
    3. Running potable cool water over frozen food product is acceptable IF the water is dripping or otherwise flowing over the product in the sink. It is NOT acceptable to submerge in a sink full or other container of water.
    4. Thawing food as part of the uninterrupted food cooking process is acceptable. For example, you may take a frozen hamburger beef patty and begin cooking it from a frozen state all the way to completion. However, you should not place large food items such as whole turkeys or hams in the oven frozen. Large food items must be thawed using another method.
  2. Wash fruits and vegetables in sinks used only for food preparation. Do not prepare food in the sink used to wash or sanitize dishes or wash hands. ALWAYS use potable water for all food preparation processes.
  3. Use cleaned and sanitized cutting boards and knives to avoid cross-contamination.
  4. Prepare pasta, meat, egg, fish, and salads less than 24 hours before service.
  5. Measure internal food temperatures in several places including the thickest part of the product. Clean and sanitize thermometers before and after each use.
  6. Never mix new food with old or raw food with cooked.
  7. Never use hot-holding equipment to cook or reheat food, only to keep food hot.
  8. Transfer reheated food to holding equipment only when the food is at 165 degrees F.
  9. Cook or heat processed foods to the proper internal temperature
    • Poultry, stuffing, stuffed meat and stuffed pasta - 165 degrees F for 15 seconds
    • Ground meats (including ground beef and poultry) -155 degrees F for 15 seconds
    • Pork, game animals, communited fish and meats, eggs in multi-serving batches - 155 degrees F for 15 seconds
    • Fish, seafood, beef (slices, cubes, etc.) veal, lamb, and shell eggs for immediate service - 145 degrees F for 15 seconds
  10. Keep potentially hazardous food, which must remain cold, at 41degrees F or below. Potentially hazardous food (PHF) means a food that requires time and temperature control for safety (TCS) to limit pathogen growth or toxin production. For the official definition according to the State TFER Code, follow the link and search for the words “Potentially hazardous food.”
  11. Keep potentially hazardous food, which must remain hot, at 140 degrees F or above.
  12. Use pasteurized eggs in all recipes in which eggs are not cooked or cannot be cooked to 145 degrees F or higher.
  13. When tasting food, ladle a small amount of it into a small dish and taste with a clean spoon. Remove dish and spoon from the area and have them cleaned and sanitized when done.
  1. Stay at home if you are sick. Do not prepare food for others when you have any of the following symptoms: fever, diarrhea, upset stomach, nausea or vomiting, sore throat, sinus infection, coughing, sneezing or dizziness.
  2. Wash hands often using proper hand-washing techniques. Proper hand washing procedures are as follows: wash your hands with hot water (at least 110 degrees F) for at least twenty (20) seconds all the way up to your elbows using soap. Rinse, and then immediately dry using paper towels or an air dryer. You are not allowed to dry your hands with cloth towels, clothing, aprons, or other objects.
  3. Wash your hands BEFORE putting on gloves and when changing into a fresh pair of gloves.
  4. Change gloves at least every two hours during continuous use and more frequently if necessary.
  5. Keep nails short and clean. Do not wear fingernail polish or artificial nails.
  1. Clean and sanitize work table tops between uses and at the end of the day.
  2. Keep wiping cloths stored in a sanitizing solution. Dry wiping cloths may only be used to wipe spills off of single-service containers. Each dry cloth may be used ONE TIME ONLY, then must be set aside for cleaning.
  3. Wipe up spills on floors as soon as possible.
  4. Store cleaning cloths, and scrubbing pads, in a sanitizing solution or air dry them. Sponges are NOT permitted in a commercial food establishment.
  5. If using hazardous cleaning materials, be sure you have been trained to know emergency procedures for exposure to the product.