pest control // calibrating thermometers // safe food temperatures // taking food temperatures // health inspections posted online // about restaurant health inspections // handling food safely // using gloves // Dishwashing // work safety // safe food storage // food product recalls // hand washing // food labeling // keeping your restaurant clean // Defrosting frozen food //

Food Safety

Food handling is is big responsibility. Having someone getting sick from eating at your restaurant is every restaurant owner's worst fear. No one wants to feel responsible for causing the suffering someone experiences from unsafe food.

A Restaurant's reputation is one of its most valuable assets, not to mention the possibility of a lawsuit for medical care and damages awarded to someone who gets food poisoning from your restaurant.

For these reasons it is imperative that you learn and practice food safety. Keep cold food below 45 degrees F. Hot food must be held at 145 degrees F. or above. If these temperatures are not kept, bacterial can multiply rapidly. Keep a temperature log and check the temperatures of your freezer, cooler and hot and cold holding units. Include a thermometer calibration log as well to make sure your thermometer is functioning correctly.

Everyone on you staff needs to know and understand how and why foods need to be kept at a certain temperature. They need to know why its important to wash their hands before handling food and the right way to wash their hands. Many instances of food contamination leading to illness can be traced to employees not washing their hands after using the restroom and then handling or serving food. (Slides showing hand washing basics)

Use gloves properly, washing your hands before you put them on and before changing to new ones. You can never wash all of the bacterial from your hands and when you have gloves on, your hands sweat, causing the bacterial to multiply rapidly.

Personal hygiene is extremely important for food workers. Employees with cuts, abrasions, dirty hands and fingernails, skin diseases should not handle or serve food. Allowing sick employees is a temptation, especially if you are busy and short on staff, but the potential risk of infecting other people far out-weigh the inconvenience it can cause. Providing employees with free vaccinations can be a good investment, especially with regards to hepatitis.

Always wash all fruits and vegetables and never store bags or boxes of fruit or vegetables on the floor. Mop water contaminates food stored this way.

Make sure your water source is safe. Many restaurants have gone out of business because they used well water that was contaminated with bacteria.

Maintain the proper hot water temperatures when washing dishes and make sure your plates, silverware and glasses are clean and dry before stacking. Wet dishes can be breeding grounds for bacteria.

Hire an exterminator to keep pests under control. Rodents and insects can spread disease and contaminate food. Since garbage cans are breeding grounds for pests, keep lids on them and wash them often.

There are a number of online food safety certification courses you can take:

NC University has an online Food Certification Program that offers course credits. Your local health department may offer free classes.

Learn2Serve - online alcohol server certification, food safety manager training & more - anytime, anywhere! 100% State approved, online, self-paced, entertaining and guaranteed. A professionally trained support center is only a call or email away. View a free course demo .

Taking Care of Business - Food Safety Resources for Retail and Food service Establishments (downloadable brochure in PDF format) Text-only version .

Food Safety - CD ROM - This curriculum covers the topics of cross-contamination; which food borne pathogens are most likely to affect you; how to reduce food contamination; along with food selection, storage, handling and preparation, kitchen safety and the temperature danger zone. This is an easy-to-use, interactive media resource that provides quizzes with audio and visual responses. It is compatible with Macintosh and Windows. Cost: $150.00

Food Protection Video Series - The University of Florida Food Protection Video Series is ideal for training your food service personnel about the most important aspects of food safety. This 45-minute training program is formatted in 5 parts: 1) Food Safety & Personal Hygiene; 2) Receiving, Storing, Record Keeping; 3) Thawing, Cooking, Cooling, Holding Food; 4) Serving; 5) Cleaning & Sanitizing.
Audience: food service workers - Cost $50.00

Downloadable Posters: These are pdf Files and if you don't have Adobe Acrobat, you can download it here....

Employees Must Wash Hands Bathroom Poster

Hepatitis A Facts Poster

Don't Serve Illness poster

Hand Washing Poster

Safely chart progress of cooling foods

Proper Food Cooling Chart

Hot/Cold Holding Chart

Food Handler Temperature Charts

Hot Tips On Temps Poster

Wear Gloves The Right Way Poster 

Weekly Thermometer Calibration Chart

Raw Oyster Warning Poster