Food Separation Is Food Safety
Maintaining your health throughout the year begins with knowledge. Everyone appreciates company and family picnics, particularly in the summer. That said, the most crucial aspect of an event that involves food-service is understanding that food safety and preparation are crucial elements of every dish that is served. It’s estimated that food-borne bacteria lead to 3,000 deaths, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 48 million illnesses each year. However, a thorough understanding of a few key concepts – such as food separation – will allow you to protect yourself, your guests, and to stay safe and healthy all year long.
- Designate separate equipment for specific food groups. Each food group should have its own set of hardware. Some facilities utilize color-coded equipment to keep food separated and eliminate potential cross-contamination.
- Clean and sanitize all work surfaces using a food-grade sanitizer. Pathogens, such as nontyphoidal salmonella, can spread rapidly through cross-contamination. ALWAYS rinse, wash, and sanitize your equipment.
- Time-temperature abuse occurs whenever food remains between 41°F and 135°F (5°C-57°C). This range is known as the temperature DANGER ZONE. You must keep food products out of this range. Instead, eggs and ground meats should be cooked to 160°F, poultry and fowl to 165°F, and all fresh meat/steaks/chops/roasts to 145°F.
- A thermometer is the most essential tool you can use to prevent time-temperature abuse. It’s best to record food temperatures and the times they were taken regularly. Remember, it’s important to designate a specific thermometer to each food group.
- When using the same table to prep different foods, it is vital to clean and sanitize all work surfaces and utensils between food types.
- When storing food in the cooler, always follow these guidelines:
- Top: Ready to eat food
- Second Shelf: Seafood
- Third Shelf: Whole cuts of beef and pork
- Fourth Shelf: Ground meat and ground fish
- Fifth Shelf: Whole and ground poultry
Following this restaurant standard will prevent leakage on other items.
- When storing dry foods, it should be stored in a clean, sealed location away from dust and other contaminants. NEVER store food in locker rooms, dressing rooms, restrooms, mechanical rooms, under unshielded sewer lines or leaking water lines, under stairwells. Not only are these locations unsanitary, should there be any spillage, moisture, etc., but it will also affect the food and compromise its quality.
Have questions, concerns, or need help choosing products to set you up for food safety success? Weiss Bros. has compiled a list of product solutions to begin your kitchen sanitation.
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