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Food Safety for Food Handlers

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the function and use of food thermometers during cooking.
  • Identify the steps in calibrating a food thermometer.
  • Recognize adequate cooking times and temperatures for a variety of foods.
  • Identify how to take a proper temperature.
  • Recognize when and how to keep food thermometers sanitized.
  • Define contamination, including the three types of contamination.
  • Identify how to prevent contamination during receiving and storage.
  • Identify how to prevent contamination during preparation and service.
  • Identify how to prevent contamination from the environment.
  • Identify how to prevent contamination from people.
  • Define the food temperature danger zone.
  • Identify foods that will and will not support the rapid growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Identify proper methods to keep cold food cold.
  • Identify proper methods to keep hot foods hot.
  • Identify methods to properly cool hot food for later service.
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Available in English, Spanish, Farsi, Thai

65 minutes


48 million Americans are sickened by contaminated food each year.

Research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


You’ve probably heard of localized outbreaks of E. coli and salmonella bacteria which have sickened thousands of people, even with improvements to industrial hygiene and sanitization. When these incidents happen, the reputation of national food brands may be tarnished, and sales drop and sometimes never recover. And when it happens to a small local business, it can be enough to shut the doors.

That’s because illnesses and even deaths have been traced to customers eating undercooked, contaminated, or potentially hazardous foods exposed to unsafe temperatures. Restaurants face fines, lawsuits, and in some cases, may be forced to shut down from such incidents.

Let’s run through some food safety basics…

Temperature is Critical

Only certain types of thermometers are approved for use in taking cooking temperatures. Approved thermometers must have dials with numbered scales and read from 0 to 220 degrees. They must be accurate within plus or minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit. They must also have metal stems. Thermometers with glass stems are prohibited. The sensing part of a dial thermometer begins about 1 inch from the tip.

Internal Cooking Temperatures and Holding Times

  • Eggs for immediate service are cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit and held for 15 seconds.
  • Eggs cooked for later service are cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 155° Fahrenheit and held for 15 seconds.
  • Poultry such as chicken and turkey is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit and held for 15 seconds.
  • Fish and seafood are cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit and held for 15 seconds.
  • Ground beef is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 155° Fahrenheit and held for 15 seconds.
  • Beef steaks are cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit and held for 15 seconds.
  • Rare roast beef is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 130° Fahrenheit and held for 112 minutes.
  • Pork is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit and held for 15 seconds.

The temperature of foods may vary depending on where the thermometer is placed. To ensure accuracy, always take the temperature in the most internal part or thickest part of a food. The thermometer tip must be placed at least one inch into the food to get an accurate reading.

Inspecting foods during receiving is the first step in preventing contaminated foods from entering the facility  and being served to customers. It is critical that you recognize and reject any foods that do not meet specific standards. All foods you receive must be from an approved source.

Using the Senses for Quality Control

Our senses can sometimes indicate a problem with safety and quality.

  • Reject fish if the skin is not intact or if scales are loose and the flesh is not firm. If the head is on, the eyes should be bright and gills red. Reject fish if the eyes are cloudy and the gills are gray. Ammonia odor is a sign of spoiled fish.
  • Beef should be a bright red, with no off colors such as brown or green.
  • Pork should be bright pink and the fat white.
  • Vegetables and fruit should have no rotten or molding spots and should be free of excessive bruising.

Food Storage

Once foods are received they must be placed in storage. There are two basic kinds of storage areas, cold storage and dry storage. All perishable foods must be placed under refrigeration before non-perishables are put away. Foods must be stored in their original unopened package, or after being opened, in closed containers or tightly wrapped.

Ready to eat foods should be stored away from raw foods, or stored separately. Raw foods should be stored below cooked or ready to eat foods.  If raw foods must be stored on the same shelf, allow adequate space to prevent cross contamination. .

Only food grade storage containers can be used. Never store acid foods such as lemonade, orange juice, or ketchup in metal containers other than stainless steel.All finely ground powders such as salt and sugar must be labeled if not in their original containers.

Foods must be stored on shelves at least 6 inches off the floor unless in cans or bottles. All small clips, metal fasteners, and other dangerous materials from the packaging should be properly disposed of. Chemicals must be stored in a separate location away from food.

Mechanical Dish Machine Method

Procedure for Dish Washing

  • Pre-rinse, soak, or scrape the item to remove food waste
  • Arrange the utensils in the rack so the spray touches all surfaces and run the machine through its cycles
  • HIGH TEMP - Ensure the temperature is at least 180 degrees in the final rinse
  • LOW TEMP - Ensure soapy water is sprayed at no less than 120 degrees - use a test kit to check chlorine level (50-100ppm) or iodine level (12.5-25ppm) on utensils and read  temperature gauges
  • Allow items to dry before placing in a clean, safe location with clean hands

Vivid's food handlers online training is developed in partnership with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).

GMA

Course Outline
  • Introduction
  • Introduction to Ensuring Adequate Cooking Temperatures
  • Function and Use of Thermometers
  • Calibrating a Thermometer
  • Temperatures, Times, and Thermometer Placement
  • Cleaning a Thermometer
  • Introduction to Preventing Contamination
  • What is Contamination?
  • Preventing Contamination During Receiving and Storage
  • Preventing Contamination During Preparation and Service
  • Preventing Contamination from the Environment
  • Preventing Contamination from People
  • Introduction to Preventing Bacteria from Multiplying
  • The Temperature Danger Zone
  • Keeping Cold Food Cold
  • Keeping Hot Food Hot
  • Proper Cooling Methods
Regulations
  • USFDA Food Code