Safe Food Handling Practices: A Complete Guide | safety culture (2023)

Why is food handling important?

Food handling is important because unsafe food handling can lead to outbreaks of foodborne illness (commonly known as food poisoning). In accordance withWorld Health Organization(WHO), foodborne illnesses can cause lasting disability and even death.

As a potential threat to public health and safety, food handling is closely monitored by government agencies around the world. Failure to pass routine inspections and comply with regulations may result ininvoluntary stopsof business.

On the other hand, food service businesses that are consistent in following safe food handling practices can actively prevent cases of foodborne illness and, as a result, earn the trust of their customers. In addition, these businesses avoid the possibility of non-compliance with regulations and establish a better relationship with local authorities and business partners in their areas of operation.

Food Handling Regulations

In the United States, under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Food Code 2017, graduates or those whooperate food establishmentsYou must designate someone or take responsibility as responsible. The responsible person must ensure that employees maintain the correct temperatures during cooking, cooling and holding.

In Australia, under theFood Standards Code, food companies are responsible for ensuring that food handlers have skills and knowledge of food safety andfood hygieneaffairs. Food companies must also take steps to avoid the likelihood of food contamination.

(Video) Food safety 101 - The journey of food safety from farm to table

Consequences of poor food handling

On June 9, 2021, it wasreportedby the King County, Washington, Department of Public Health that 13 people who dined at arestaurantthey were sick with norovirus, a type of foodborne illness. In accordance withmedical news today, norovirus infections are caused by contact with a contaminated surface or consumption of contaminated food.

The last inspection of the restaurant before the investigation showed that there had beenfailedobserve several safe food handling practices that could have prevented the outbreak, such as:

  • Maintain adequate barriers to avoid direct hand contact with ready-to-eat food.
  • Keep non-food contact surfaces clean and in good condition
  • Correctly use, store and disinfect cleaning cloths

In addition to putting people's lives at risk, poor food handling also has long-term legal implications, as seen at Blue Bell Creameries. In 2015, onelisteria deadly rushit goes back to the ice cream company. As a result, Blue Bell had to settle its criminal liability with theJustice Departmentin payments of US$19.35 million.

In 2017, the company wassued by shareholdersfor misconduct that led to the recall of their products and a $60 million settlement with them in 2020. In 2021, Blue Bell faces alawsuit filed by their insurersfor not maintaining standards and controls for hygienic and safe production.

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What are safe food handling practices?

Safe Food Handling Practices: A Complete Guide | safety culture (1)

(Video) Do’s vs. don’ts of safe food handling

Often referred to as the 4 Steps to Food Safety, the main safe food handling practices are cleaning, separating, cooking and chilling. Each safe food handling practice is discussed in detail below for dairy, meat and fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables, frozen goods, and dry goods.

  1. Clean

    Food handlers should always wash their hands before beginning food preparation. The main advice for washing your hands is to use warm water and regular soap. Hand washing should last at least 20 seconds. In addition to keeping their hands and arms clean, food handlers must also ensure that the tools they will use to prepare food, such as cutting boards, knives, pans, and spatulas, are clean and dry.
  2. Separate

    Raw meat, poultry, shellfish, and eggs should always be kept separate from other ingredients. Do not use containers, plates, or cutting boards containing raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs for other ingredients unless they have been washed in hot, soapy water. The same rule applies to utensils.
  3. Cook

    After finishing cooking a dish, food handlers should check its internal temperature with a food thermometer. There are specific internal temperature ranges for each type of food. Food handlers should not submit food to be served if it is not within the required temperature range. This is to ensure that all harmful microorganisms are killed before the dish reaches the customer.
  4. Cold

    Keep the temperature inside the refrigerator below 40°F (4°C). To avoid having to manually check the temperature using an appliance thermometer multiple times throughout the day, consider settingtemperature sensorsto ease the mind. These sensors can also alert food handlers when the refrigerator temperature reaches or begins to exceed 40°F (4°C). For freezers, the recommended temperature is 0°F (-17°C).

Dairy Food Handling Practices

  • Do not buy, use, or serve dairy products that contain unpasteurized milk, except hard cheeses aged for 60 days.
  • Do not return milk and other dairy products to their original containers once removed.
  • In general, milk, cream, yogurt, and cheese should be kept refrigerated in the refrigerator below 40°F (4°C).
  • Unopened, unopened milk, such as evaporated, condensed, and ultra-high-temperature (UHT) milk, can be stored at room temperature. However, once opened, stable milk must be kept refrigerated below 40°F (4°C).
  • Butter can be stored in the refrigerator below 40°F (4°C) for up to 2 weeks. For the last 2 weeks, it should be wrapped in a bag and then stored in a freezer at 0°F (-17°C) or below. For use in dessert batters, the butter should be at room temperature or approximately 71 °F (22 °C).
  • Ice cream should be kept in the freezer at or below 0°F (-17°C).
  • Do not freeze yoghurt, cream or milk, except fresh whole or skimmed milk.
  • If mold is visible on hard cheese, cut away the moldy part and the surrounding area. Examples of hard cheeses are cheddar, Swiss, Gouda, and Parmesan.
  • If mold is seen on soft cheese (except blue cheese), throw it away. Examples of soft cheeses are Brie, feta, ricotta, and cottage cheese.

Food handling practices for meat and fish.

  • you do not seemeat, poultry or seafood.
  • If meat or poultry is thawed using a microwave, cook immediately after thawing.
  • Store meat and poultry in their original packaging or seal in an airtight, leak-proof bag before thawing in cold water. Change the cold water every 30 minutes.
  • Do not use a slow cooker to cook frozen meat or poultry.
  • Just marinate meat in the fridge.
  • Ground beef should be cooked to 160°F (72°C) or higher.
  • Beef, pork (including raw, fresh, and smoked ham), veal, and lamb should be cooked to 145°F (63°C) or higher and rest for 3 minutes before serving.
  • Poultry (whole, cut, or ground, including stuffing) must be cooked to 165°F (74°C) or higher.
  • Fish should be cooked to 145°F (63°C) or higher. Another way to tell if the fish is cooked enough is to check that the meat is opaque and separates easily with a fork.
  • Shrimp, lobster, and crab are cooked enough when their meat is pearly and opaque.
  • Scallops are sufficiently cooked when their meat is milky white or opaque and firm.
  • Clams, oysters, and mussels are sufficiently cooked when the shell is cracked open.

Egg Food Handling Practices

  • Don't wash the eggs.
  • Separate raw (unpasteurized) eggs from pasteurized eggs.
  • Damaged eggs must be discarded.
  • Eggs should be kept in the refrigerator below 40°F (4°C).
  • Before using them in dessert batters, the eggs should be at room temperature.
  • Eggs should be cooked until the yolk and white are firm. The recommended cooking temperature is 250°F (121°C).
  • Dishes containing eggs must have an internal temperature of 160°F (72°C) or higher.

Food handling practices for fruits and vegetables.

  • Cut away damaged or bruised areas.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables under running water before preparing them, even if there is an outer skin that will be discarded. Do not use soap or any other cleaning agent.
  • Do not wash fruits and vegetables labeled as pre-washed by the manufacturer.

Food Handling Practices for Frozen Products

  • Discard the parts of the food that were burned in the freezer.
  • Do not let frozen items thaw. Thaw only in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.
  • If the food has not thawed properly, do not refreeze it.
  • Always cook frozen food thoroughly.
  • Do not freeze canned food and shell eggs.
  • Avoid freezing mayonnaise, cream sauce, and lettuce.
  • Avoid freezing end-of-life items. If possible, freeze food when it is at its best quality.
  • Before freezing, briefly place vegetables in boiling water, then place in ice water or under cold running water to blanch.

Food Handling Practices for Dry Goods

  • Check dry goods for insects and pests, especially weevils that can quickly cause a widespread infestation.
  • Store dry goods at temperatures between 50°F and 70°F (10°C to 21°C) in a well-ventilated area away from sunlight.
  • Do not use cardboard boxes to store dry goods. Use airtight containers.
  • Keep dry items at least 6 inches (15 centimeters) off the floor.
  • Keep humidity levels as low as possible. Humidity levels should not exceed 55%. use ahumidity sensorIf required.

Other Food Handling Guidelines

  • When reheating food to retain heat, all parts of the food must reach a minimum internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).
  • Cool cooked food in 2 hours from 135°F to 70°F (57°C to 21°C) or in 6 hours from 135°F to 41°F (57°C to 5°C).
  • To keep warm, the temperature must be maintained at 135°F (57°C) or higher.
  • To stay cool, the temperature must be kept at 41°F (5°C) or below.

Frequently asked questions about food handling

With food handling being such an important part of their job, food safety managers are looking to gain more knowledge about the risks involved and their responsibilities as operators of food establishments. Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about food handling.

  • What type of hazard is most commonly associated with handling food?

    • The type of hazard most commonly associated with food handling is microbiological. Microbiological hazards are bacteria, viruses, parasites, and prions. The top 3 sources of microbiological hazards in food are raw (unpasteurized) milk, contaminated fruits and vegetables, and raw or undercooked meat and shellfish. use aplano HACCPto efficiently identify and control microbiological hazards and prevent cases of foodborne illness.

  • Who is responsible for training food workers in safe food handling procedures?

  • What nutrients in food are most vulnerable to loss during food handling and preparation?

    • The food nutrients most vulnerable to loss during food handling and preparation are the water-soluble vitamins, which are the B complex vitamins and vitamin C. The B complex vitamins most affected in food preparation arefolate and thiamine. As a food rich in folate, vegetables are the most vulnerable to nutrient loss during food handling.

A new way of treating food

SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor)is a digital operations platform that has helped food service companies like Marley Spoon, Snooze Eatery, The Dinner Ladies and more handle food safely.

Integrate with sensors

Together with the mobile app, SafetyCulture sensors are powerful tools that provide peace of mind for food safety managers and handlers. Receive an alert whenever sensors detect that temperature or other factors are out of acceptable range. SafetyCulture sensors also have no IT requirements and can be set up in minutes.Just unpack your sensors and place them in the fridge.

(Video) Food Safety | Design and Technology - Food Preparation and Nutrition

SafetyCulture can also connect to existing sensors, allowing you to take control of your data and monitor conditions more seamlessly.

Get real-time visibility 24/7

SafetyCulture empowers food handlers in different locationscapture datain the place. By adding photos or notes about what needs to be fixed or improved, food handlers can document valuable information for food safety managers to see in real time.

With food service, quick action is not only recommended, but necessary. Get better visibility into operations and automate notifications to quickly resolve issues regardless of location with SafetyCulture.

Feel the power of digitized checks

Unlike paper processes that are inconsistent, vague, and difficult to organize, digitized checksrecord every little detail, storing them in a single, secure location for you and your team to access at any time of the day. As professionals in the foodservice industry know, consistent quality is the key to customer satisfaction.

Implement a Food Handling Course to Comply with Safety Standards

Whether you are a food supplier, manufacturer, or business owner, protecting your customers from foodborne illness, allergies, and poisoning should always be your number one priority. Any careless handling of food or lack of preparation can result in huge business losses, which can come in the form of fines, lawsuits, rejected product, or business closures. Being able to implement food safety practices requires knowledge about food contaminants that can affect any part of the food supply chain. These contaminations are generally caused by biological, chemical and physical hazards, so it is important to know the proper food handling applications to avoid these types of incidents. Some of the most important food handling practices include proper maintenancefood hygiene, separating food to avoid cross-contamination, storing food at the correct refrigerator temperatures, and cooking to the correct internal temperatures to avoid serving undercooked food.

(Video) Basic Food Safety: Introduction (English)

As a business, one of the best ways to promote these food safety practices is by distributing afood handling courseTo him eployees. These courses often cover topics such as food safety standards, delivery and storage processes, food preparation, food contamination, and foodborne illness, all of which are vital for food handlers to understand.

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