A car pulls into your restaurant parking lot and a person wearing a health inspector badge and an all too familiar clipboard steps out. Your heart beats a little faster as you realize that the person is not here for a late afternoon snack, but he/she is here for your quarterly health inspection. . .and you are the designated food manager in charge.
Your mind begins to race… Are you prepared? Is your kitchen clean? Is your food handler certification current?
Although you can never know exactly when your local food inspector is going to arrive at your restaurant doorstep, here are a few simple food safety tips you can apply to maintain a safe restaurant.
1) Apply Proper Time and Temperature Standards and Controls
Remove all foods sitting out at room temperature. All foods should be refrigerated, frozen, or hot held. According to the FDA Food Code, the temperature danger zone is 41°F -135°F degrees. Foods can be left in the danger zone for a maximum of four hours. After four hours, the food must be discarded.
One of the most common violations that food establishments incur is violations of time or temperature. Different meats need to be cooked to different internal temperatures.
Pork for example, should be cooked to an internal holding temperature of 145°F for 15 seconds. The holding temperature is the minimum required temperature for each food type. Internal temperature can be measured by inserting the probe of the thermometer into the center or thickest part of the meat. Pork is susceptible to parasites like trichinella which can latch to the throat or intestinal walls.
Chicken should be cooked to an internal holding temperature of 165°F for 15 seconds to safely prevent salmonella contamination, a common cause of food borne infection.
Ground beef should be cooked to an internal holding temperature of 155°F for 15 seconds to prevent E.Coli contamination. Be careful when mixing different meats together. If you combine pork and ground beef, the internal temperature should be 155°F rather than 145°F because of the minimum internal temperature of ground beef. Having a set schedule for taking temperatures will ensure your food is cooked to the required levels.
2) Wash Hands Thoroughly and Regularly russian store
Food handlers are another major potential source of possible contamination. The large majority of viral outbreaks such as Hepatitis A could have been prevented if employees washed their hands regularly and thoroughly for a minimum of 15 to 20 seconds.
Nails should be clean and free of dirt. Health inspectors still conduct a “hand check” where they look at the hands, fingernails, and fingertips for signs of dirt and other contaminants. A speck of dirt in a fingernail represents a million bacteria and. . .a single bacterium can double in twenty minutes under optimal temperatures; after 10-12 hours that a single bacterium can become a billion bacteria.
Clean and stock your restroom on a daily basis. Water should be hot, paper towels and soap (liquid or foam) readily available. If there is no soap or paper towels, an employee might be tempted to not wash their hands.
Consumers will also equate the cleanliness of your restaurant by the cleanliness of your restroom. Some restaurants only have one restroom that is shared by both the food handler and customer.