Basic sanitation procedures should always be followed when working with and around food.
Keeping hands clean during food preparation is a must. The use of disposable gloves is often practical.
Tools and Surfaces
Be sure to clean food preparation tools and other equipment properly. Sanitize contact surfaces between every food-processing task.
Wash the tops of cans before opening them.
Do not use cans that have swelling at the tops or bottoms, or those with dents along the side seams. Swelling could mean that germs have contaminated the product; dents along the side seam may indicate the can's seal is broken. If canned products have unusual or unfamiliar odors, or if the contents seem foamy or milky, don't use them.
Do’s and Don’ts
Wash all raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly before preparation or serving.
Be especially careful when handling and preparing meat, eggs, fish, shellfish, and other foods high in protein. Do not use meats that smell strange or have slimy surfaces.
Do’s and Don’ts
Generally, any type of food that appears moldy, cloudy, or that has a strange smell should be discarded.
Do not taste foods, since this test proves nothing and can make you ill.
Freezing and Thawing
Never leave food out overnight to thaw.
Potentially hazardous foods should be
thawed in one of the following ways:
In refrigerated units
Under running water at a temperature of 70°F (21 °C) or below
In a microwave oven if the product will be immediately transferred to other cooking equipment as part of the cooking process - for example, when steaks are charbroiled from their frozen state.
Do not refreeze thawed products. Freezing, thawing, and refreezing can create sanitation problems and destroy food quality.
Some foods require a higher temperature before serving.
The center of poultry, poultry stuffings, stuffed meats, and stuffings containing meat should be heated to 165°F (74°C), pork to 150°F (66°C).
On the other hand, rare roast beef and rare beef-steak need to be heated only to 130°F (54°C). Meat and poultry temperatures should be checked with a cooking thermometer.
Prepare perishable foods as close to serving time as possible. To kill any germs that may be present, all foods should normally be heated to at least 140°F (60°C) in the center of the food mass.
Keep cold foods refrigerated until serving begins (or during service, in the case of a cafeteria or buffet operation). Many kitchens have refrigerators where prepared foods can be kept until service.
Pre-prepared Foods: The Dangers!
A common problem in many food service operations involves holding hot foods that are prepared in advance of service. Casseroles, stews, gravies, and other products high in protein are often kept in a hot water bath at lukewarm temperatures for long periods of time. If germs get into these products, conditions are ideal for food poisoning or infection.
Protein foods must be kept above 140°F (60°C) or below 45°F (7°C) or they should not be kept at all.