Good personal hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of food-borne illness. The following items are mandatory components of good hygiene.
Proper and frequent hand washing is an important defense to the spread of food-borne illness.
Wash hands in a hand wash sink. If the hand sink is not stocked with soap and paper towels, refill these items from inventory or notify your manager immediately.
When microorganisms are transferred from one food or surface to another, it is called cross contamination. Steps to prevent cross contamination include frequent hand-washing. This is especially important after touching raw foods (such as raw eggs) and before touching ready-to-eat foods (such as toast or lettuce). Also proper storing of raw food below cooked ready-to-eat food so that the raw food does not touch or drip fluids onto ready-to-eat foods. Also keeping work surfaces and especially food-contact-surfaces such as the grill board cleaned and sanitized.
The state of Wisconsin Food Code prohibits "Bare Hand Contact" with "Ready-to-eat" foods. Ready-to-eat foods are items that receive no cooking, or no further cooking, prior to consumption.
In our operation, it is impractical to never touch certain ready-to-eat foods with bare hands. Fortunately, there is a provision in the food code that allows restaurants to establish a plan for managing bare-hand-contact of certain ready-to-eat foods.
The plan must include as part of an overall food safety training program:
The purpose of the plan is to avoid cross-contamination of ready-to-eat foods even though you can touch certain ready-to-eat foods with bare hands.
1. Raw foods such as raw shell eggs; frozen hamburger patties, bacon, ham, sausage; hashbrowns; chicken breasts; steaks; French fries and other fried foods (such as fish, shrimp, appetizers); may be touched with bare hands, but then care must be taken with the food you touch next!
2. The same foods, once cooked, should not be touched with bare hands. So slide cooked eggs from the pan without touching the eggs and use utensils such as the spatula to remove and plate other foods such as hamburger patties or anything from the grill.
3. Wash hands after touching raw foods and before touching the following ready-to-eat foods.
4. You may touch the following ready-to-eat-foods with your bare hands if you have washed your hands after touching the raw foods as specified above: toast, buns, sandwich ingredients such as bread, cheese, lettuce, raw onions and pickles.
So here below is our Official Bare Hand Contact Plan.
With the plan in place, and provided we are in full compliance with
the plan, food handlers may have bare hand contact with certain
IMPORTANT EMPLOYEE NOTICE
BARE HAND CONTACT PLAN
The purpose of the bare hand contact plan is to permit the touching of certain ready-to-eat foods with bare hands in a way that you won't cross-contaminate the ready-to-eat foods.
1. RAW FOODS
2. COOKED FOODS
3. WASH HANDS
4. CERTAIN READY TO EAT FOODS
Bare hand contact allowed
Use bare hands to handle the following items before cooking. NOTE: Tongs can be used for raw hamburger patties.
No bare hand contact allowed
Use utensils to handle cooked:
Bare hand contact allowed IF just-washed hands. (Or use a physical barrier)
Use bare hands to touch these ready-to-eat foods, after just-washed hands (or use tongs or spatulas, deli paper or gloves):
Constant glove use is bad practice. Frequent hand-washing is best practice. In the past some cooks have resorted to using gloves for all their cooking activities including touching raw foods and ready-to-eat foods. This practice fosters cross contamination. The best practice is frequent and freshly washed hands, or the use of a physical barrier such as gloves (after washing hands) or using utensils.
In the event you violate the bare-hand-contact plan by touching ready-to-eat foods without freshly washed hands, the ready-to-eat to eat food must be discarded.
Food service employees must utilize at least two of the following additional control measures when contacting ready-to-eat food with bare hands:
1) Before leaving the restroom, wash your hands;
2) when returning to the workstation and before beginning food handling, wash your hands again.
A nail brush is available at the handwashing sink to use when washing hands in order to remove dirt or bacteria from underneath your finger nails.
Hand antiseptic can reduce the number of bacteria and viruses that may remain on your hands. First, wash your hands, then spray your hands with hand antiseptic.
In accordance with the Exclusion and Restriction of Ill Employees policy on the next page, employees must not work with food if there are symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, fever and other illnesses or symptoms.
IMPORTANT EMPLOYEE NOTICE
Employees with a foodborne illness (such as salmonella, shigella, E. coli 0157:H7 or Hepatitis A) or sudden onset of vomiting or diarrhea, must be excluded from the establishment. Employees with fever, sore throat with fever, or open/draining lesions must be excluded from working with exposed food or clean equipment, utensils, linen, and unwrapped single-service and single-use articles. If you are ill with any of the following symptoms, report to the manager:
Bacteria can grow when foods enter the temperature danger zone, which is between 41F and 135F. Therefore foods should be kept completely out of the temperature danger zone or pass through the zone within as brief period of time as possible. This applies to cold holding of foods, thawing foods, cooling down foods, heating or reheating foods, and hot holding of foods.
Cold foods must be held in the refrigerator at 41F or below for safe cold holding.
Hot foods must be held at or above 135F for safe hot holding.
In cooling foods down, cool from 135F to 70F within the first 2 hours. Total cooling from 135F to 41F or less in 6 hours.
In reheating foods, bring the temperature of the food to at least 165F for at least 15 seconds within two hours. Then promptly move the food to hot holding.
Thawing allows foods to enter the danger zone. Improper thawing can allow bacteria to rapidly grow in the outer layers while the core is still frozen. The best thawing method is to move the food from frozen storage to the cooler so it will not remain in the danger zone for not more than two hours. Never thaw food at room temperature or in warm water.
If you discover that a food has been held in the danger zone, but you're not sure how long, discard it. The rule is "When in doubt, throw it out!"
These are the primary concerns in our operation in terms of keeping food out of the temperature danger zone.
Soups and Chili: Avoid reheating these by moving directly to hot holding as soon as cooking is done. Check that the soup or chili rises to 165 F for at least 15 seconds, then move it immediately to hot holding, where you should regularly check that the temperature maintains at 135 F or above.
If you fail to move directly to hot holding and therefore need to re-heat the soup or chili, do it quickly (within one hour or so) to 165F for at least 15 seconds. Stir the food to be sure that all parts of it are hot. Then use your calibrated metal stem thermometer to check the temperature.
Chili Base: The only food we cook and then cool, is a chili base. After the chili meat is cooked thoroughly, add one gallon of cold water to the pot, cover it, date it, and move to the refrigerator. Then cover the pot, date it, and move it to the refrigerator. This method will bring the base to below 41 well within the periods specified above for cooling food.
If you need to make chili right away, instead of refrigerating the base, skip directly to adding the other ingredients and move to the final cooking of the chili.
Chili Meat: The standard for thawing chili meat is to place a new frozen chili meat into the refrigerator each time you make a chili base. This way there will be fully thawed chili meat each time you need to make a base. With this method, the chili meat never enters the danger zone.
If you discover that someone failed to take a frozen chili meat out of the freezer and into the refrigerator for thawing, thaw the safely as follows:
Corned Beef Hash: In thawing Corned beef hash, we partial thaw in the cooler, just enough to be able to cut it into individual portions. Then portion up and freeze again. Be sure to date mark the food container holding the portions. Never let the corned beef hash sit out at room temperature to thaw.
Steaks: Keep one case thawing in the refrigerator at all times, keeping all other cases frozen. In the event someone failed to place a case of steaks into the refrigerator for thawing, you can place the sealed packages of steaks in cold water for quick thawing.
IMPORTANT EMPLOYEE NOTICE
Fill a small container with ice and add water to form a slush. Insert the stem of the thermometer into the slush. The temperature should read 32F. If it doesn't, use a pliers to hold the nut on the underside of the thermometer dial in place while turning the dial until it reads 32F.
We can't leave trays and trays of eggs sitting out.
Raw shell eggs are considered a potentially hazardous food, especially when kept at room temperature.
Because of this, we are use "Time as a Control" to prevent food borne illness from occurring with raw shell eggs when they are kept at room temperature.
Only take a couple of trays out at a time.
We must follow the following approved guideline to prevent the spread of Food borne illness.
IMPORTANT EMPLOYEE NOTICE
Food must stored on shelves and in refrigeration so its used in the order it was received. Therefore stock must be rotated as it's put away by placing the newest behind oldest. This is the FIFO method: First In, First Out method of food rotation.
Any ready-to-eat potentially hazardous food must be marked with a discard date at the time of opening or preparation. These foods must have a discard date of no more than seven days after opening, cooking or preparing.
Food that comes into contact with soiled surfaces can easily become contaminated and food-borne illness can be spread.
Wash tables, cutting boards and equipment with hot soapy water from the green bucket.
Sanitize the above surfaces with a clean wiping cloth from the bleach/water sanitizing solution in the red bucket.
Bacteria can grow very quickly in damp cloths. That is why all wiping cloths should be stored in the red bucket with chlorine/water sanitizing solution mixed to proper concentration between uses.
Chlorine/water sanitizing solution should be between 50 and 100 parts per million (ppm) while in the red bucket. Change the bucket often and test the solution, at least every 2-3 hours depending on usage.
Use the test strips found on the wall to test the concentration of the chlorine/water sanitizing solution. It's a simple process of inserting a test strip as the water comes out of the dispenser. It should read 100 ppm. In the bucket it should read between 50-100 ppm, and definitely not less than 50 ppm.
The dish washing machine uses bleach water to sanitize dishes and utensils. However, like all mechanical equipment it can fail. Check the sanitizer water in the dish machine by inserting a test strip into the water immediately after the final rinse. It should test to 50 (ppm).
A food allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by the body's immune system. The allergic individual, if exposed to a particular allergen, can suffer a mild to life threatening reaction. The only control is avoidance of the particular allergen. Despite taking precautions, allergic people may be unknowingly exposed.
When a guest informs you that he or she has a food allergy you may need to supply them with a list of ingredients in the foods they are ordering. Example, eggs, margarine, wheat (bread or buns), etc. If you're not sure of the ingredients, it is safer to say "I don't know", and then seek out the manager to find out.
If a customers asks about ingredients, be understanding, listen carefully and answer thoughtfully. We need to provide accurate information so the customer can make an informed decision. Incorrect information may put them at risk.
This is a concern for customers with food allergies as well. Cross contact occurs when one food comes into contact with another food and their proteins mix. As a result, one food may contain small amounts of the other food, which is often invisible.
This contact may be direct (e.g., placing cheese on a hamburger) or indirect via hands or utensils. Even a tiny amount of the allergenic food is enough to cause an allergic reaction in some people. Therefore precautions must be taken to avoid cross contact.
For servers: There are a number of ways allergens may enter a meal through cross contact during the serving process. Unclean hands, splashed or spilled food, improperly cleaned tables, chairs, utensils, shared utensils, apron or uniform pockets.
For cooks: When preparing food for a customer who has food allergy, cooks must take extra precautions. The following are the most common culprits in cross contact: shared pans, fryers, grills, counters, dishes, trays, cutting boards and utensils like knives, improperly cleaned equipment, unclean hands or gloves, spills or splattering while cooking and removing an allergy-causing food from a meal without replacing the whole meal (such as scraping cheese from a cheeseburger instead of making a new hamburger with no cheese).
During a health inspection of our restaurant, the cook may be asked to answer a few questions by the health inspector. Such question may be about hand-washing, about the bare-hand-contact plan, and other questions specific to the contents of this manual. Think of this as a simple explanation of the good hygiene and safe food handling practices that you use every day on the job.
The inspector may ask who is the "person in charge". That is you, if you are the cook!
The health inspector may ask you questions about the contents of this manual:
Answer as best you can. Go get this manual as a reference as needed to show the health inspector that you are aware of the manual and food safety.