Cross contamination is the spread of bacteria from raw meat to other foods
Cross contamination happens when bacteria from raw foods get onto other foods. Raw meat is the main source of cross contamination. When blood or juice from raw chicken or other meat gets onto a counter, cutting board, utensils, or hands, bacteria can spread to other food.
It is important to keep raw meat away from other food.
Tips to avoid cross contamination:
Cleaning and Sanitizing
Cleaning and sanitizing are not the same. Cleaning uses soap and water to remove dirt and food from surfaces. Sanitizing uses chemicals or heat to kill germs. It is important to remember that surfaces that look clean may still have germs on them that you can’t see. Sanitizing reduces these germs to safer levels.
Sanitize: To use chemicals or heat to reduce germs on surfaces to safe levels
Food-contact surfaces should be washed, rinsed, and sanitized after each use to remove germs that can cause illness.
Other areas in food establishments, like the floors and walls, should also be kept clean. Keeping equipment and kitchens clean will help reduce workplace accidents and the potential for food contamination.
Sanitizers are chemicals used to kill germs. Sanitizers must be mixed by following the directions on the label. Soap should not be added to sanitizers. Use test strips to make sure the sanitizer is not too strong or too weak.
The most common sanitizer used in food establishments is a bleach solution made by mixing 1 teaspoon unscented bleach with 1 gallon of cool water.
Wet wiping cloths can be used to sanitize work surfaces that have been cleaned and rinsed. Wiping cloths should be stored in sanitizer when they are not in use. The sanitizer should be changed often because grease, dirt and food pieces make the sanitizer less effective.
Tips for using wiping cloths:
Washing Dishes by Hand
All dishes and food-contact surfaces must be washed, rinsed, and sanitized between uses. When washing dishes by hand, follow this procedure:
Washing Dishes in a Dishwasher
Some establishments have a mechanical dishwasher that will wash, rinse, and sanitize the dishes. When using a dishwasher, you must scrape leftover food from the dishes before putting the dishes on the rack. Dishwashers use chemicals or heat to sanitize. Food workers that use the dishwasher must be trained on how to make sure the machine is washing and sanitizing properly. Temperature gauges and sanitizer levels must be monitored.
All food served to customers must come from a source approved by the health department. You may not serve food prepared at home. Meat, poultry, and dairy products must be inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
Shellfish & Wild Harvested Mushrooms
Shellfish like clams, oysters, or mussels must have an identification tag attached to the container. Wild harvested mushrooms also must have source information on site. The tags and information must be kept for 90 days after the shellfish or mushrooms are sold.
Food should not be spoiled. Packaged or canned foods must be returned or thrown away if they are opened, rusty, or severely damaged. Potentially hazardous food should be 41ºF. Do not accept food delivered at an unsafe temperature or in an unsafe condition.
Animal products such as chicken, hamburger, seafood, and pork are more likely to cause foodborne illness if they are not cooked to the right temperature. Customers must be told which menu items can be ordered undercooked and that the undercooked food can cause illness. Talk with the person in charge or your local health department for more information.
Just as some people are allergic to bee stings, some people have allergies to food. Food allergies are often serious and can cause sudden, life-threatening reactions. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include a tingling sensation, hives, swelling of the mouth and throat, difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness. Get the person in charge immediately if any customers have these symptoms.
Foods that cause the most allergies include milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, nuts, fish, and shellfish. Even a small amount of the food can make the person very ill.
People that have food allergies must AVOID any source of the food that makes them sick. For example, someone that is allergic to eggs must avoid cakes, pastas, mayonnaise, or even foods that are prepared on equipment used with eggs. Customers may ask you about menu items, how the food is prepared (to make sure the equipment used for their meal is not used with the foods that they are allergic to), and information from the labels on the food. Their safety depends on accurate answers from you and safe preparation steps in the kitchen. Talk with the person in charge if you have questions.
Pests like rodents, cockroaches, and flies must be kept out of food areas because they may spread germs. Pesticides should only be used as a last resort and applied by licensed pesticide applicators when the food is protected. It is easier to keep pests out than to use pesticides once they are there.
To keep pests out of food establishments:
Food businesses must stop serving food and call the health department when there is a health hazard that can make the food unsafe. Health hazards include:
Food Protection During Service
Unwrapped, ready-to-eat foods that are on display for customer self service must be protected from contamination. Protection includes:
Re-service of Food
When a customer leaves unpackaged food on the table, you must throw it away. Uneaten food such as rolls, tortilla chips, and breadsticks may not be re-served.
Unopened, packaged food such as crackers, sugar, and jelly may be re-served in restaurants.
Certain foods may not be served raw or undercooked in facilities and care centers that serve a Highly Susceptible Population. These foods include:
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