Safety & Sanitation: Handling Food

Keeping Food Safe & the Kitchen Clean

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Food Handling Researched Summary:

--On January 4th, 2011, President Obama signed a law pronounced by the FDA called the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). It is said to be known as one of the most influential regulation reforms of our food safety laws in more than 70 years. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by simply focusing more on the prevention of contamination rather than responding to it once it happens.


The local Clay County Public Health Center's Food Code identifies poor personal hygiene as one of the five major risk factors related to employee behaviors and preparation practices in retail and food service establishments. It states that simply practicing good Personal Hygiene habits can easily help prevent contamination and foodborne illness.


According to the USDA, safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential to prevent foodborne illness. You can't see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four steps of the Food Safe Families campaign to keep food safe. These steps include:


  • Clean — Wash hands and surfaces often
  • Separate — Don't cross-contaminate
  • Cook — Cook to the right temperature
  • Chill — Refrigerate promptly

United States Department of Agriculture's Preparation Focuses

  • Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  • Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food. After cutting raw meats, wash cutting board, utensils, and countertops with hot, soapy water.

United States Department of Agriculture's Cooking Techniques/Tips

Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.

Ground meats: Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

Poultry: Cook all poultry to an internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

Serving Food

  • Hot food should be held at 140 °F or warmer.
  • Cold food should be held at 40 °F or colder.
  • When serving food at a buffet, keep food hot with chafing dishes, slow cookers, and warming trays. Keep food cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice or use small serving trays and replace them often.
  • Perishable food should not be left out more than 2 hours at room temperature—1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F.

Interview: Josh Eklund, SHS Senior & Cook at the Local Smithville Pizza Hut

  • What are some of the main requirements of becoming a Food Handler at Pizza Hut? "You have to go through the county and get your food handlers permit. They put you through a class which requires a test. And also, Pizza Hut requires you to take additional courses online through their training videos.
  • A lot of food handling has to do with good personal hygiene. In what ways does Pizza Hut try to promote quality personal hygiene habits? "They do a video on how to properly wash your hands. They have multiple hand washing stations and we're required to both wash our hands and use hand sanitizer before returning to work."
  • How does Pizza Hut try to incorporate Sanitation rules? "It's basically our guideline for each employee that comes in. They need to be able to demonstrate proper sanitation and hygiene, and you simply aren't allowed to work around food until you fully understand that."
  • What are some examples of cross-contamination in your kitchen and how do you try to prevent it from happening? "We have to worry a lot about cross-contamination with our sauces. And If we mix sauces of two different kinds or two different ingredients; we just have to watch out to make sure that the ingredients of one don't spoil the other."
  • What are some major safety precautions that you constantly look out for or take while your in the kitchen? "Well any time we are using knives or sharp utensils to cut dough for instance, we always be very careful. As well as with the ovens. Our ovens our constantly running at 450 degrees so we always use extreme care and attention when taking pizzas out."
Proper Food Handling / Safety Techniques

Works Cited

"Clay County Public Health Center." Clay County Public Health Center. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.


"FSIS." Basics for Handling Food Safely. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.


"U.S. Food and Drug Administration." FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Web. 2 Dec. 2015.