The Flow Of Food: Preperation

ServSafe Chapter 6

Preparation Practices

1. Equipment - make sure workstations, cutting boards, and utensils are clean and sanitized.

2. Storage - Return prepped food to the cooler, or cook it as quickly as possible.

3. Presentation - Food must be offered to customers in a way that does not mislead or misinform them. Food that has not been honestly presented must be thrown out. Such as;

- Food additives or color additives

- Colored over wraps

- Lights

4. Corrective Actions

- Food that has become unsafe must be thrown out unless it can be safely reconditioned.

It must be thrown out if;

- It is handled by staff who have been restricted or excluded from the operation due to illness.

- When it is contaminated by hands or bodily fluids from the nose or mouth.

- When it has exceeded the time and temp. requirements


When frozen food is thawed and exposed to the temperature danger zone, pathogens in the food will begin to grow. To reduce this growth, never thaw food at room temperature.

- Refrigeration; Thaw food in a cooler, keeping its temp. at 41 degrees or lower.

- Running water; Submerge food under running, drinkable water at 70 degrees or lower. Never let the temp. of the food go above 41 degrees for longer than 4 hours. This includes the time it takes to thaw the food plus the time it takes to prep or cool it.

- Microwave; Thaw food in a microwave oven if it will be cooked immediately after thawing.

Cooking; Thaw food as part of the cooking process.

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Prepping Food

Special care must be taken when handling ice and when preparing produce, eggs and salads that contain TCS food.

- Produce

  • Cross Contamination; make sure fruit and vegetables do not touch surfaces exposed to raw meat, seafood or poultry.
  • Washing; Wash produce thoroughly under running water. This is important before cutting, cooking, or combining it with other ingredients.
  • Soaking/storing; Do NOT mix different items or multiple batches of the same item.
  • Fresh-cut produce; Hold them at 41 degrees or lower.
  • Raw seed sprouts; DO NOT serve to anyone that is part of the YOPI.

- Eggs and Egg Mixtures

  • Pooled eggs; Already cracked open and combined in a container. Cook them promptly after mixing, or store them at 41 degrees.

- Salads Containing TCS food

  • Using leftovers; TCS food such as pasta, chicken, and potatoes can be used only if it has been cooked, held, and cooled correctly.
  • Storing leftovers; Throw out leftover food held at 41 degrees or lower after 7 days. Check the use-by date before using stored food items.

- Ice

  • Consumption; Make ice from water that is safe to drink.
  • Cooling food; Never use ice as an ingredient if it was used to keep food cold.
  • Containers and scoops; Use clean and sanitized containers and ice scoops to transfer ice from an ice machine to other containers. NEVER hold or carry ice in containers that have had raw meat, seafood, poultry, or chemicals. NEVER touch ice with hands or use a glass to scoop ice.

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Cooling Food

- The following will teach you how quickly food will cool.

  • Thickness or density of food; The denser the food, the more slowly it will cool.
  • Size of the food; Large food cools slower than smaller food. If you want it to cool faster, you should reduce the size.
  • Storage container; NEVER cool large amounts of hot food in a cooler. Most coolers are not designed to cool large amounts of hot foods quickly. It will also not get moved through the temperature danger zone quick enough.
  • Ice-water bath; After dividing food into smaller containers, prep them in a prep sink with ice and water. Stir the food frequently to cool it faster and more evenly.
  • Blast chiller; Blast cold air across food at high speeds to remove heat. Typically used to cool large amounts.
  • Ice paddle; Filled with water, and then frozen. Food cools even faster if placed into an ice water bath and then stirred with an ice paddle.

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Reheating Food

Food reheated for immediate service;

  • You can reheat food that was already cooked to any temperature, but you must make sure that the food was cooked, and cooled correctly.

Food reheated for hot holding

  • TCS food for hot holding must reach 165 degrees for 15 seconds. Make sure this food reaches temperature within 2 hours from start to finish.
  • Reheat commercially processed and packaged ready-to-eat food to an internal temp of at least 135 degrees.

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Temperature Requirements

- Pathogens grow the quickest between 125 degrees and 70 degrees. Food must pass through this temperature range quickly to reduce pathogen growth.

  • Cool TCS food from 135 degrees to 41 degrees or lower within 6 hours.
  • First, cool down from 135 degrees to 70 degrees within 2 hours.
  • Then, cool it from 70 degrees to 41 degrees or lower in the next 4 hours.
  • If the food has not reached 70 degrees within 2 hours, it must be reheated and then cooled again.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the maximum water temperature allowed when thawing food under running water?

A. 55 Degrees.

B. 65 Degrees

C. 70 Degrees*

D. 60 Degrees

2. What can occur if prep tables are not cleaned and sanitized between uses?

A.Time-Temp Abuse

B. Cross- Contamination*

C. Off flavors in food

D. Toxic-metal poisoning

3. Which food should not be offered on a kids menu?

A. Fried chicken tenders

B. Grilled cheese sandwich

C. Rare hamburger*

D. Spaghetti with meat sauce