Handwashing is an essential part of food safety and prevents the spread of bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants that can cause foodborne illnesses. Food service staff must ensure that their hands are properly washed with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before handling any food product. Proper hand washing includes washing up to the wrists, between fingers and under the nails.
2. Food Storage
Proper food storage helps limit contamination from microorganisms, insects, rodents, and other sources. All foods must be stored in properly labelled containers at the correct temperatures to ensure that they do not spoil or become contaminated. Perishable foods that need to be refrigerated should be kept at 40°F (4°C) or below; frozen food should be kept at a temperature of 0°F (-18°C) or lower. High-risk foods such as meats and dairy products should always be stored separately from ready-to-eat items.
3. Temperature Control
Temperature control is essential for preventing the growth of bacteria and other microbial contaminants. Hot foods must be kept at a temperature of 140°F (60°C) or higher, and cold food must be maintained at 40°F (4°C) or below. Foods must also not be left out in the temperature danger zone (41°F - 140°F/5°C - 60°C) for more than four hours.
4. Personal Hygiene Practices
Food service staff should practice good personal hygiene habits to prevent contamination of food products. This includes wearing clean clothing and hair restraints, washing hands often, avoiding touching ready-to-eat items with bare hands, and keeping fingernails short and clean. Food service staff should also refrain from eating while working and keep any open wounds or illnesses covered.
5. Cleanliness & Sanitation Practices
Foodservice staff must ensure that all preparation and service areas are kept clean at all times. Floors, walls, equipment surfaces, and utensils should be regularly disinfected using an appropriate cleaning agent to prevent the spread of bacteria. All food contact surfaces should be washed thoroughly after each use with hot water and soap or a sanitizing solution such as chlorine bleach or quaternary ammonium compound.
Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria on raw foods come into contact with ready-to-eat foods, leading to potential foodborne illness outbreaks. To prevent this from happening, food products must always be stored and handled separately, including during preparation. Food service staff should also pay special attention to cutting boards and utensils, as these can be easily contaminated with bacteria from raw food.
7. Pest Control
Pests such as rodents, cockroaches, flies, and other insects can contaminate food products and spread disease-causing microorganisms. To prevent this from happening, all entry points of the facility should be sealed off and a regular pest control program should be in place. All areas of the facility must also be regularly inspected for signs of pests or infestation to ensure that they are not present.
8. Equipment Maintenance
Foodservice equipment such as ovens, refrigerators, freezers, and other appliances must be kept in good working condition to prevent potential contamination of food products. All equipment should be inspected regularly for cleanliness and proper functioning, and any problems or concerns should be addressed immediately.
9. Water Supply & Treatment
A safe, clean water supply is essential for the prevention of food contamination. All sources of water used in a food service facility must be tested regularly to ensure that they meet safety standards and are free from contaminants such as bacteria and parasites. Any treated water used should also be filtered or chlorinated prior to use.
10. Waste Management
Food waste should be managed properly to prevent contamination. All waste products should be stored in covered containers and kept away from food-preparation areas. All food waste should be disposed of in accordance with local regulations, and all waste containers must be emptied regularly and disinfected.
11. Special Processing Procedures (Cooking, Chilling, Freezing)
Proper cooking, chilling, and freezing of food products is essential for preventing the growth of bacteria and potential contamination. All cooked food products should be quickly cooled and stored at or below 40°F (4°C) as soon as possible. Frozen food products should also be stored in a freezer set to 0°F (-18°C).
12. Food Labeling and Traceability
Food products should be labelled accurately to identify the product name, ingredients, allergens, and expiration date. This information is important for identifying potential sources of contamination and tracing any foodborne illness outbreaks. Additionally, all labels must comply with local labelling laws and regulations.
13. Allergen Awareness & Management
Food service staff must be aware of any potential food allergens and take steps to minimize the risk of cross-contamination. Allergen labelling should be clear and accurate, and all food products containing allergens should be stored separately from other food items. Additionally, careful cleaning of utensils and equipment is necessary between uses to prevent potential contamination.
14. Foodservice Staff Education & Training
Food service staff should be trained on the importance of proper food safety and sanitation. This training should include topics such as handwashing, safe food handling techniques, temperature control, and cleaning procedures. Additionally, all food service staff should undergo regular health screenings for illnesses that can spread quickly in a food facility.
15. Consumer Complaint Response Processes
Food service facilities should have an established process for responding to any consumer complaints or concerns. This process should include a way to record and investigate the complaint, as well as measures to ensure that similar issues don’t occur in the future. Additionally, food service staff must know how to properly handle any complaints that arise.