4 Food Safety Tips for Restaurants and Households
Whether you’re a chef in a commercial kitchen, or a home chef cooking for the family, there are a few steps to ensure food safety when cooking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, provide many valuable resources for food safety.
Below we discuss 4 easy to follow steps to ensure cross contamination and food poisoning are controlled in restaurants and households.
Protecting yourself and your guests from foodborne illnesses requires adopting good practices in the kitchen. By providing safe meals, your restaurant’s reputation will be a positive one. While at home, ensuring food safety will keep your family healthy and happy.
When it comes to preparing delicious meals, ensuring food safety is paramount.
1. Cleanliness is Key to Food Safety
- Wash Hands: Begin by thoroughly washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before handling any food. Remember to wash your hands again after handling raw ingredients, door handles, garbage cans, or any other potentially dirty surfaces in the kitchen. Hand sinks should be placed throughout your commercial kitchen.
- Clean Surfaces: Regularly clean and sanitize all kitchen surfaces, food pans, cutting boards, and utensils. Use hot, soapy water to wash these items after each use. The cleaner a kitchen, the less likely foods can be contaminated.
- Rinse Fresh Produce: Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under cool water. Rinse fruits and vegetables before peeling, removing skin, or cutting away any damaged or bruised areas. Doing this provides clean fresh produce.
For more details: U.S. FDA Quick Tips – Clean
2. Separate Raw and Cooked Foods
- Store Separately: Keep raw meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods like fruits and vegetables. Use different utensils to prevent the transfer of harmful bacteria.
Utilize kitchen racks to keep raw and cooked foods separate yet easily transportable. Follow a refrigeration hierarchy diagram to ensure refrigerated food products are stored safely.
- Use Colored Cutting Boards: Cutting boards are available in different colors to make cross-contamination easier to prevent. Green cutting boards are used for vegetables, yellow boards are used for poultry, and red boards are used for red meat. Make sure your commercial kitchen follows this system to prevent cross-contamination and foodborne illnesses.
- Storage Matters: Store raw ingredients in sealed containers or plastic bags to prevent juices from dripping onto other foods in the refrigerator. This will help avoid the spread of bacteria. Check out our wide collection of quality food storage products to find the right supplies for your kitchen.
Find more info here: U.S. FDA Quick Tips – Separate
3. Cook Thoroughly
- Use a Food Thermometer: Ensure that foods are cooked to their recommended internal temperatures to kill harmful bacteria. Use a food thermometer to accurately gauge doneness.
Check out our blog, “Finding the Right Temperature with Kitchen Thermometers” to learn the correct cooking temperatures for different foods.
- Check Doneness: Cut into the thickest part of meats and seafood to check for any signs of pinkness or translucency. If unsure, continue cooking until the center is no longer raw.
- Reheat Safely: When reheating leftovers, ensure they are heated to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to eliminate any remaining bacteria. Using a commercial microwave can be an effective way to reach this safe temperature quickly.
Check out this resource: U.S. FDA Quick Tips – Cook
4. Chill and Store Food Safely
- Refrigerate Promptly: Store leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking to prevent bacterial growth. Divide large portions into smaller containers for quicker cooling. We have a wide selection of reach-in refrigeration and walk-in coolers that are great at this.
- Proper Refrigeration Temperatures: Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below and your freezer at 0°F or below and know when to throw food out before it spoils. If your refrigerator doesn’t have a built-in thermometer, keep a refrigeration thermometer inside it to check the temperature.
- Properly Cool Down Hot Pans: Bacteria grows quickest between the temperatures of 40°F and 140°F. Cooling foods must reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit within the first two hours or else they must be immediately reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.
The cooling process can then start again until it is brought down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If the food is not monitored and the cooling process is not followed, it should be disposed of. Use a cold paddle or blast chiller for the most effective food chilling.
Learn more: U.S. FDA Quick Tips – Chill
By following these four straightforward steps, chefs can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses and create meals that not only taste delicious but also prioritize the health and safety of everyone enjoying the culinary experience.
Remember, a clean and organized kitchen is the foundation of a successful and safe cooking journey.
Follow these four simple steps to maintain top-notch food safety while preparing your culinary creations.