Food Safety Guidelines For Your Restaurant
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration regulates restaurants and distributes guidelines for safe food preparation & storage. The 2013 Food Code is the most recent full edition published by FDA. The code applies to > 1 million restaurants, grocery stores, & institutions (including schools and hospitals). Local, state, tribal, and federal regulators use the FDA Food Code as a model to develop or update their own food safety rules and to be consistent with national food regulatory policy. The 2013 Food Code as statutes, codes and ordinances include:
- Reduction of the risk of food-borne illnesses within food establishments, thus protecting consumers and industry from potentially devastating health consequences and financial losses.
- Uniform standards for retail food safety that reduce complexity and better ensure compliance.
- The elimination of redundant processes for establishing food safety criteria.
- The establishment of a more standardized approach to inspections and audits of food establishments.
The FDA recommends operators focus on three food preparation processes:
– No-cook foods
– Same day service foods
– Foods with complex preparation
Foods in each process pass through the danger zone a different number of times. The pathogen temperature danger zone is between 41 F – 135 F .
Restaurant workers also can spread food borne illnesses, the FDA recommends 4 key safety precautions.
– Food should not be touched with bare hands (use food safe gloves).
– Workers should practice proper hand washing procedures.
– Sick employees should be excluded or restricted from food preparation.
– Workers should prevent cross-contamination by keeping ready-to-eat food and sanitized food-contact surfaces apart from raw animal foods or dirty surfaces & other objects.
Storing food at proper temperatures helps eliminate biological hazards, which include bacterial, viral and parasitic microorganisms. Restaurant kitchen staff should be well versed in safe practices, and kitchens should have signs posted that list safe procedures and storage temperatures for all types of food.
This list includes milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, & soybeans. Notifying customers about the presence of these foods may cut down on adverse reactions.