safe food handling guide
Post on 10-Mar-2016
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DESCRIPTIONLearn how to keep food safe with this brief guide. Many links to extra information are included!
Safe Food Handling
Updated: January 27, 2011
Table of Contents
The resources in this guide will provide basic knowledge
relating to keeping food safe as it moves from the
Capital Area Food Bank to your organization - and then
on to clients.
Each year, improper food handling
76 estimated food-borne illness outbreaks?
325,000 estimated hospitalizations?
5,000 estimated deaths
Review this guide to discover how safe food handling can
reduce health risks for your agency and your clients.
Please note that safe food handling training is required of
all partner agencies of the Capital Area Food Bank.
Reviewing this brochure and filling out the online
assessment will fulfill requirements for programs that do
NOT prepare food on-site. Programs that prepare food
will need full certification. See this website for reduced-
rate certification options.
How Does Food Contamination Occur?
The four main causes of food contamination are: 1. Not washing hands 2. Cross-contamination 3. Improper storage and cooking temperatures 4. Contamination by animal waste
Contaminants can be divided into three categories: physical, chemical and biological.
Physical Chemical Biological
wood cleaning chemicals
metal maintenance chemicals
glass pest control chemicals
paint chips birds
How Can We Avoid Food Contamination?
Wash! Rinse! Sanitize!
This will make such everything is properly cleaned. This
includes the work space and all the materials used.
Wash Hands with Soap.
Wash hands with hot soap and water for at least 30
Know the Proper Temperature Controls.
The proper temperature for refrigerated foods is
between 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit. The proper
temperature for freezer items is 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Temperature Danger Zone is between 41 - 140
degrees Fahrenheit. Click here for information on how to
calibrate a thermometer and how/when to use a
Know the critical times for perishable foods.
Perishable foods should not be left in the Temperature
Danger Zone for more than four hours! Click here for a
list of safe food handling temperatures for common
Remember this acronym: "FAT TOM"
Food - bacteria can grow in all foods, especially those that are high in protein
Acidity - bacteria can grow in neutral or acidic areas Time - perishable foods should not be left out for
longer than 4 hours Temperature - Temperature Danger Zone: 41 - 140
degrees Fahrenheit Oxygen - bacteria can grow with or without oxygen Moisture - bacteria likes to grow in foods with a lot
1. What is considered a physical contaminant? 2. What is the temperature danger zone? 3. What is the longest amount of time that perishable
foods can be left out in the Temperature Danger Zone?
What do I do when I get the food? When you receive any food, be sure to check all the boxes, cans, packaging and dates. This will ensure that the food in your pantry is safe and satisfying for all of your consumers.
Items must be stored at least 6 inches off the ground.
Food should be organized on shelves in proper categories.
Food should be stored in proper food temperatures.
Food should not be stored with any cleaning products or chemicals.
Packaging Throw out if...
Boxes with inner bags
inner bag is open in any way
Boxes without inner bags
open in any way
Bags or sacks rips, tears punctures or holes
Pouches inflation, incomplete or incorrectly
Cans missing label, dented or pinched top and bottom, dirt under top
*Discard products with open packaging or products that
show signs of molding or rodents
What Do All of the Dates Mean?
There is a lot of confusion about the dates on food packaging. Unless a date is accompanied by the words
"Expires by" or "Expiration date", then the date is NOT an
expiration date. See below for the most commonly used phrases for food product dating.
"Sell By" Date - Last day the product is recommended for display on a supermarket shelf. This product is still good to eat past this date! "Best if Used By" Date - indicates how long the product will maintain best quality or flavor. This food is still safe to eat after this date, although it may have a slight taste or texture change.
"Coded" Date - indicates a date on which the product was packaged. This date enables manufacturers to rotate their stock as well as locate their products in the event of a recall. "Use By" or "Expiration" Date - Indicates the last date suggested for use of the product in terms of quality or freshness. Once a product exceeds this date, it is said to have "exceeded its shelf life." This type of coding is easy to read and usually gives the date (day, month, and year) after which the product should not be used. It should be noted that rarely when a food product exceeds its shelf life does it become a potential food safety hazard. The product usually degrades in quality, affecting color, flavor, aroma, texture, etc. The few exceptions of products which may develop potential food safety hazards when they exceed their shelf life are produce, lunch meats, fresh prepared salads (like potato salad), which should always be destroyed after they exceed their shelf life.
Shelf Life Reference Guide
Product Estimated shelf life past the sell-by date
Yogurt 1-3 weeks
Baby Food or Formula Do not use beyond code
Bread/Bakery Products 3-10 days
Canned Goods 1-2 years
Aseptic Containers 1-2 years
Jars/Bottles 6 months-a year
Cereal 3 months
Crackers 3 months
Pasta 1 year
Dried Beans 1-2 years
Freezer Products 3 months - 1 year
Prepared Salads/Dips Do not use beyond code
Refrigerated Juices/Teas 1-4 weeks
Rice 1 year
Not Frozen Poultry 1-2 days
Not Frozen Beef, Veal, Pork & Lamb
Not Frozen Ground Meat or Poultry
Not Frozen Variety Meat 1-2 days
Not Frozen Ham 5-7 days
Not Frozen Sausage 1-2 days
Eggs 3-5 weeks
Cooked Poultry 3-4 days
Cooked Sausage 3-4 days
Sausage Hard/Dry 6 weeks
Corned Beef 5-7 days
Vacuum Packed Dinners 2 weeks
Frozen Bacon 2 weeks
Frozen Hot Dogs 2 weeks
Luncheon Meat 2 weeks
Cooked Ham 7 days
Canned Meat 2-5 years
Canned Ham 2 years
For even more specific information about sell-by dates for even more specific foods, please view the Food
Marketing Institutes Food Keeper Brochure.
Follow FIFO - First In First Out - This acronym indicates that the first products that are placed on your shelf are the first ones out of your facility. Following this guideline ensures that consumers are getting the freshest and safest foods possible.
1. Can you eat something past the "Sell By" Date? 2. How far off the ground should the food be stored?
Developing A Regular Cleaning Schedule
A regular cleaning schedule will insure that the storage and preparation area is clean and safe for food handling.
Wash WASH dishes, utensils, cookware, cutting boards, appliances and cooking surfaces with HOT, SOAPY
WATER to remove visible soil.
Rinse Thoroughly RINSE OFF soap and film.
Sanitize REGULAR CHLORINE BLEACH diluted into water is an
easy-to-use germ killer. Below is a short video on how to prepare a sanitizing solution.
Recipes for sanitizing:
1. Nonporous Surfaces* - Use 1 tablespoon liquid bleach per gallon of water. Leave wet for 2 minutes. Air dry.
2. Porous Surfaces** - Use 3 tablespoons liquid bleach per gallon of water. Leave wet for 2 minutes. Rise and air dry.
*Nonporous Surfaces: are areas that are smooth, unpainted solid surface that limit penetration of liquid. This includes glass, plastic or metal surfaces. **Porous Surfaces: are areas that can admit the passage of gas or liquid through pores or interstices. This includes wood surfaces.
1. What is the best thing to do to ensure that you will have a safe area for food handling?
Below are several resources that provide additional
information regarding safe food handling.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has a wealth of resources relating to safe food handling.
The United States Food and Drug Administration provides updated information regarding product recalls and other food safety topics.
The Mayo Clinic has a wealth of resources, particularly relating to proper hand-washing techniques.
Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington provides reduced-rate safe food handling certification to Capital Area Food Bank partner agencies.
The Food Marketing Institute has published a compreh