No matter your certification status, there are some basic steps to food safety that we can all follow. These may seem common sense to some, but they are extremely important steps in ensuring the safety of your customers.
4 Easy Steps to Food Safety
STEP ONE. Wash your hands. Yes, it’s simple but chances are you are doing it incorrectly. It is a simple step but it is also important to follow the guidelines.
- You should begin by wetting hands with warm running water.
- Apply some soap and scrub for at least 10-15 seconds.
- Next, rinse thoroughly under warm running water.
- Dry hands using a single use paper towel. Use this paper towel to turn off running water.
COVID – 19 GUIDELINES – It is recommended to scrub hands for at least 20 seconds to reduce the spread of COVID- 19. However, the regulations have not changed.
STEP TWO. Store food properly. Keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold is crucial in reducing your chances of a food borne illness.
- Frozen foods should remain at temperatures that keep food frozen. This is generally below 32 degrees F.
- Store cold foods at an internal temperature of 41 degrees F or lower.
- Store hot foods at an internal temperature of 135 degrees F or higher.
Temperature isn’t the only thing you need to pay attention to when it comes to storing your food properly. Location is also very important. You should store your foods from top to bottom based on the internal cooking temperature of each food. Lowest temperature at the top and highest temperature at the bottom. Here is an example:
- Ready- to- eat food (n/a)
- Seafood (145 degrees F)
- Whole cuts of beef and pork, such as steaks (145 degrees F)
- Ground meats including fish (155 degrees F)
- Whole and ground poultry (165 degrees F)
STEP THREE. Cook food to the proper internal temperatures. This is especially important for high-risk populations. Different foods require different cooking temperatures. Here is a basic list:
- Poultry (165 degrees F for 1 sec.)
- Ground meats (155 degrees for 17 sec.)
- Seafood/Steaks (145 degrees for 15 sec.)
- Roasts (145 degrees for 4 minutes)
- Plant based foods such as rice, beans, cooked vegetables (135 degrees)
STEP FOUR. Cool food properly after cooking. Food that spends too much time in the temperature danger zone (41 degrees F to 135 degrees F) becomes at risk for bacteria and pathogen growth. Food needs to be cooled to below 41 degrees F within 6 hours total. The recommended procedure is to reduce the temperature to 70 degrees F within 4 hours and then you have the remaining 2 hours to get it from 70 degrees F to below 41 degrees F. There are many different ways to cool food quickly and efficiently. Here are a few examples:
- Ice bath
- Diving into smaller containers
- Ice paddle