Improve your understanding of food safety and sanitation fundamentals. Most of us eat three square meals each day and the worst consequences we might encounter are indigestion and weight gain. It’s easy to get complacent and trust fully in the safety of the food we eat. But the reason we are complacent is that there are so many checks and balances that help to keep the U.S. food supply safe. When you work in a school kitchen, you are part of that process of checks and balances, working to ensure that none of the children in your care become ill because of something that you helped prepare and serve. It means following a lot of rules—but when you consider that tens of millions of Americans suffer from a foodborne illness every year, you should agree that it’s worth it. This article offers reminders and insights about some of the steps and procedures you need to practice every day. Remember: Don’t chafe at rules that keep your kid customers safe! Personal Hygiene Hairy Scary Hate hairnets and the stereotype they convey about cafeteria employees? Check with your local health department about approved alternatives in your community. Federal and many state standards for foodservice hygiene don’t explicitly call for hairnets, but require “effective hair restraints.” You might be able to wear a baseball cap, visor or hair tie. But note that FDA Code requires that these must be designed and worn effectively to keep hair from contacting exposed food. Foodborne Illness Do You Know? A foodborne illness outbreak is said to occur when: • one person becomes ill after eating a food • two or more people become ill after the same food • five or more people become ill after eating the same food • at least 10 people become ill after eating the same food Answer: Two or more people become ill after eating the same food. A laboratory analysis will confirm the outbreak. Personal Hygiene To download this poster for your operation, visit the Minnesota Department of Health at http: //tinyurl.com/ washyourhands languages. Food Contamination Love Your Gloves • CHANGE GLOVES periodically—wash and dry your hands each time first. • CHANGE GLOVES— after sneezing, coughing, touching your hair or face, scratching • CHANGE GLOVES—when changing from preparing one food type to another, especially after touching raw (fresh/frozen) meat, poultry or fish. • CHANGE GLOVES—after touching various surfaces, such as door knobs, equipment handles and so on. Food Contamination Q&A Q: I have a beautiful and expensive wooden cutting board at home. Why can’t we use these at school? A: Wood is a porous surface and the tiny cuts you make with your knife can be hard to clean and sanitize thoroughly—so they may wind up harboring bacteria. To be on the safest side, you probably shouldn’t use the wooden board at home, either—especially if you’re using it to cut many different products. Acrylic plastic cutting boards are best—and be sure to use different ones for fresh produce, bread, raw meats, poultry, seafoods, dairy products and cooked foods. Using color-coded boards, assigning a different color to different products, is the best way to avoid cross contamination! Receiving When Should You Refuse Delivery? Signs of Spoilage Red Meat Products • Internal temperature of fresh meat is above 41°F • Feels slimy, sticky or dry • Has brown, green or purple discoloration • Has black, white or green spots indicating mold • Has the tan, dried appearance of freezer burn Poultry Products • Internal temperature of fresh poultry is above 41°F • Fresh poultry is not packed in crushed ice • Has purple/greenish discoloration • Has an abnormal odor • Stickiness under wings/around joints • Dark wing tips • Has dried appearance of freezer burn Eggs • Delivery truck temperature is above 45°F • Cracked, checked or dirty shells Dairy Products • Delivered unrefrigerated; temperatures above 41°F • Sour, moldy odor • Signs of mold • Sell-by-date has passed Fresh Produce • Signs of insect infestation • More than minimal dirt • Unreasonably blemished • Signs of mold • Mushiness, wateriness or wilting • Discoloration or blemishes • Cuts • Refrigerated and fresh-cut produce below 33°F or above 41°F • Non-refrigerated produce below 50°F or above 60°F Frozen Foods • Damaged packaging • Thermometer stuck between packages in case reads above freezing • Signs of thawing (liquids at bottom of container) • Signs of thawing/refreezing (ice crystals/ice on container) Canned Foods • Swollen, leaking, rusty or dented cans • Flawed seals • Ripped or resealed labels Dry Foods • Damp or moldy containers • Insect infestation Food Storage Putting Things in Their Place Can you find 6 mistakes in the description below? It’s 2:30, and Cindy has taken delivery of food supplies for next week’s meals. After completing her inspections and signing off, she moves the four cases of frozen chicken tenders into the freezer. It’s a little crowded inside, so she stacks the cases neatly on the floor in the corner. Next, she takes a case of yogurt to the cooler, pushing a previously delivered case deeper onto the shelf to make room. Martha meets her in the cooler carrying a large bowl of freshly made tuna salad. They find room for it on a shelf next to thawing, uncooked burger patties. Finally, Cindy takes a case of cereal bowl packs into dry storage, finding a safe space for it above two jugs of bleach. With everything stored, Cindy’s work is done for the day. Or is it? Answer: 1. Refrigerated foods should be stored before frozen. 2. All foods should be stored at least six inches above the ground. 3. FIFO (first-in/first-out) rotation method not followed with yogurt. 4. Ready-made foods should be stored separately from raw products. 5. Foods and chemicals should be stored in separate areas. 6. Food items should be labeled with delivery date/time. Temperatures Do You Know? Which of the following temperature ranges represents the DANG ER ZONE for the growth of harmful bacteria on food? • 35°F to 140°F • 50°F to 70°F • 41°F to 135°F • 50°F to 140°F Food Contamination Do You Know? Cross contamination is the transfer of bacteria or viruses from hands to food, food to food, equipment to food or food contact surfaces to food. Physical contamination is the presence of a non-food item in a food/dish. Examples include (but are not limited to) hair, jewelry, fingernails, nail polish flakes, glass, plastic, cloth, bandages, paper, staples, toothpicks, bones, rodent droppings, bugs— even a different food item. Receiving When the Delivery Truck Arrives • Inspect and accept/ reject deliveries only during operational hours • Post delivery schedules (days/times), including the names of vendors and drivers • Report problems with delivery days/ times/changes in personnel to vendor • Make sure the receiving area is clean and well lighted • Compare the invoice with the products actually delivered • Establish a rejection policy to ensure accurate, timely, consistent and effective refusal and return of rejected goods • Inspect delivery trucks for cleanliness and organization • Check the interior temperatures of refrigerated trucks and trucks delivering refrigerated products • Check all products for signs of spoilage (see chart on page 17) • Check the integrity of food packaging and the cleanliness of crates and other shipping containers • Do not touch ready-to-eat foods with bare hands • Move foods to storage quickly: refrigerated foods first, followed by frozen foods and then items for dry storage Personal Hygiene 6 Myths of Handwashing Myth: You don’t need to wash your hands if you are wearing gloves. Fact: Some gloves don’t provide the best barriers against contamination; also, they can be punctured. They also can give food handlers a false sense of security that hands are clean when they are not. Myth: Very hot water is necessary. Fact: Most soaps work with water that is 45°F to 130°F, but the most effective water temperature is 98°F to 110°F, which is comfortably warm to most people. Myth: You must use antimicrobial soap. Fact: Studies show that ordinary soap works just as well in preventing bacteria and germ transmission as antimicrobial products. Myth: It’s okay to use cloth towels to dry your hands. Fact: Bacteria numbers increase in damp towels, which can lead to the recontamination of hands after washing. A paper towel is your best choice. Myth: Hand sanitizers can be substituted for handwashing. Fact: Hand sanitizers do not work on soiled hands and are ineffective against Norovirus, which is the leading cause of gastroenteritis in the United States. Myth: Handwashing is only important if you are sick or have just used the bathroom. Fact: Illness can spread easily—and before the contagious person shows symptoms. When handling food, there are many times you must wash your hands: when entering the kitchen (even after a short break); before putting on gloves; after touching raw (fresh or frozen) meat/poultry/fish; anytime you touch a part of your body (especially nose, mouth, scalp); after mopping/sweeping; after handling garbage; after using the telephone; after eating, sneezing or drinking; and after using the bathroom. Anyone cleaning food contact sources and equipment should wash their hands first. Food Contamination Don’t Get Cross! Which of the following five practices are examples of cross-contamination risks? 1. A new can of chickpeas is mixed with leftover chickpeas and placed on the salad bar. T F 2. A package of recently thawed turkey burgers is stored in the cooler on a shelf above a tray of diced peaches in portion-controlled cups. T F 3. A cook assembles ham-and-cheese sandwiches and then peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches without changing gloves in between the two tasks. T F 4. During meal preparation, cutting boards are washed in between uses, but dried off with the same dish towel. T F 5. A cook cuts pepper strips, cheese cubes and melon slices with the same knife. T F Answer: ALL of these are cross-contamination risks! Cross contamination can come from hand-to-food, food-to-food and equipment/food contact surface-to-food exposure. Temperatures Proper Prep How do you ensure that foods stay out of the danger zone while you’re prepping recipes and meals? 1. Pre-chill ingredients for cold menu items (such as sandwiches and salads) before combining with other ingredients. 2. Prepare foods as close to serving times as the menu, time and your labor force will allow. 3. Prepare foods in small batches. For example, when preparing a deli-type sandwich, remove only enough meat and cheese to prep 25 sandwiches. Once assembled, store the sandwiches in the cooler and then remove enough ingredients for the next round of 25 sandwiches. 4. Limit your prep time so that ingredients are not at room temperature for more than 30 minutes before cooking, serving or returning to the refrigerator. 5. Take at least two internal temperatures from each pan or batch at various stages of preparation. Personal Hygiene First Impressions Emily arrives at the school kitchen five minutes before her shift is scheduled to begin. She’s wearing a freshly laundered uniform. She pulls her hair back into a tight ponytail and dons her ball cap. Her nails are clean and trimmed. She’s wearing her wedding ring, but has removed her engagement ring before coming to work. She smiles and wishes each of her coworkers a “good morning” as she puts on a clean apron and heads to the sink to wash her hands. Joan arrives at the school kitchen with just a few minutes to spare before her shift is scheduled to begin, but hangs outside smoking a cigarette until she’s now officially late. Her uniform has identifiable spots from the lasagna prepared two days earlier. Her hair is unbrushed, and as she complains about the traffic to anyone who will listen, it’s clear that she also hasn’t brushed her teeth or used mouthwash. Her manager has to remind her to remove her dangling earrings and warns her about coming to work with chipped nail polish again. She rolls her eyes and mutters a curse word, while snapping on a pair of gloves without washing her hands first. Which foodservice worker do YOU think is the better representative of her school, district and the school nutrition profession? Which foodservice worker would YOU prefer to prepare the food you might eat that day? Which foodservice worker would YOU prefer to work with? Food Contamination Q&A Q: Is there a particular way to wash fresh produce? A: Be sure to wash all equipment, utensils and food contact surfaces that come into contact with cut produce with hot soapy water—then rinse, sanitize and air-dry them before use. Next, wash your hands. Then wash all fresh produce items thoroughly. Even if you plan to peel an item, it is still important to wash it first so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the edible part of the fruit or vegetable. Use continuous running water. Scrub firm produce items (such as potatoes, melons and cucumbers) with a clean produce brush. (If you are using a manufacturer’s product, carefully follow the instructions on the package label.) Q: Are there other special steps to take when serving fresh produce? A: Mark the time when cut produce is displayed without refrigeration. Display cut produce for a maximum of 4 hours if not in a refrigeration unit or in containers surrounded by ice. Discard any uneaten produce at the end of 4 hours. Protect food with sneeze guards or food shields in direct line between the food and the mouth or nose. Use cleaned and sanitized long-handled tongs, spoons and ladles so bare hands do not touch food and the utensils do not drop into the serving pans; change these periodically. Monitor and document the internal temperature of self-service items every 30 minutes. Never add freshly prepared food to food already on salad bars and self-service lines. Sanitizing The Right Mix Do you know how to accurately mix your chemical sanitizer so it does the job? 1. Use either chlorine beach or a QUATS (quaternary ammonium) solution to create a sanitizing mixture. (Iodine is also an approved chemical, but is not as commonly used as the other options.) When mixed with water, this solution allows you to sanitize items that can’t be sanitized in the dishwasher or three-compartment sink, such as food contact surfaces on equipment and counters, etc. 2. Check the container or your food safety procedures for the correct amount of chlorine bleach/QUATS to start with. It should be a very small amount. Add this to a bucket of water. Mix thoroughly. Never add in any other cleaning product! 3. Use the correct test strips for the chemical you are using. Strips to test chlorine bleach are usually white and will turn a light purple when the concentration is correct. Strips to test QUATS are usually orange and turn light green. Dip the test strip into the solution for about 10 seconds, allowing time for the strip to change colors. Compare the color of the strip to the colors on the test strip container. 4. QUATS solutions must be 200 ppm and chlorine solutions must be 50 ppm. 5. If the solution is too weak, gradually add more chemical and re-test until the solution is the correct strength. If the solution is too weak, it will not kill the germs. 6. If the solution is too strong, gradually add more water and re-test until the solution is the correct strength. If the solution is too strong, it will leave a chemical residue that can contaminate the food. Foodborne Illness Do You Know? Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Preve ntion estimates that tens of millions of Americans fall ill because of a foodborne illness. Half of these i llnesses occur i n children. A majority of these occur in children under 15 years of age. Children are at high risk for foodborne illness for many reasons, including • Still -developing immune systems • Lowe r body weight • Reduced stomach acid production
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