Even if it's not mandated by local or regional authorities, it is always best practice to get your Food Safety or Food Handler's certification before starting or entering a foodservice business.
The knowledge gained could be the difference between life or death. It could also save you from financial ruin, should someone, who consumes contaminated food that you have prepared, get sick or die.
The most common causes of food-borne illness outbreaks
- Cooked food coming in contact with raw food
- Adding raw, contaminated ingredients to foods that will receive no further cooking
- Failing to thoroughly heat or cook food
- Failing to properly cool foods
- Failing to reheat cooked foods to temperatures that kill bacteria
- Preparing food too far in advance of it being served
- Allowing foods to sit for too long at temperatures that encourage bacterial growth
- Using equipment that is not clean or sanitary
- Not ensuring that employees practice good personal hygiene
TIPS TO REDUCE RISK OF FOOD-BORNE ILLNESS
- Perform regular checks on refrigerators and freezers to ensure proper performance
- Avoid overloading refrigerators and freezers
- Keep refrigerators and freezers doors closed tightly when not in use
- Cool stored food to at least 40F in refrigerators and freeze at 0F
- Date-label all refrigerated, frozen and dry-storage food containers
- Rotate stored food by placing newer stock behind newer items
- Inspect all fresh, cooked and packaged food for damage and spoilage and dispose of anything that doesn't meet standards
- Sanitize surfaces after any contact with raw food
- Sanitize surfaces when switching from one food product to another
FOOD HANDLING AND STORAGE TIPS
- The following minimum internal temperatures should be reached for at least 15 seconds when cooking:
Ground beef/pork (160F)
Non-ground beef/pork (145F)
- Holding temperature for hot food is a minimum of 140F or hotter
- Holding temperature for cold food is a minimum of 40F or cooler
- Holding temperature for frozen food is a minimum of 0F or cooler
- Check food holding temperatures at least every four hours
- Reheat all cooked food to an internal temperature of 165 degrees for at least 15 seconds.
- Wash hands after smoking, eating, coughing/sneezing, handling dirty dishes, after using chemicals of any kind, before serving food, before starting work with food, and after restroom visits.
- Label chemicals and store away from food