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Top 10 Food Safety Issues

From meticulous kitchen hygiene to precise temperature control, following essential food safety steps provides your patrons with a delightful dining experience free from worries.

1. Improper Hand Washing. Wet hands with warm water, apply soap, and rub hands together for a minimum of 20 seconds. Good hand hygiene is the first line of defense in preventing foodborne illness.

2. Improper Sanitation. Keep foodservice equipment and surfaces clean using proper washing and sanitizing procedures.

3. Same Cutting Board. Use separate chopping boards and utensils for raw and cooked/ready-to-eat foods.

4. Improper Cooking Temperature. Ensure cooked items reach proper temperatures:

  • Ground and Whole Poultry: 165°F
  • Ground Meat: 155°F
  • Seafood: 145°F
  • Whole Cut Beef, Pork, Lamb: 145°F
  • Vegetables, Rice, etc.: 135°F

5. Confusing Labeling. Any food item not stored in its original packaging must be labeled to avoid confusion. Cooked products should be labeled with a “Use by” date.

6. Washing Meat and Poultry. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry can spread to sinks and countertops causing cross-contamination. Instead, handle raw products properly and cook to correct internal temperature.

7. Untrained Employees. Each kitchen staff member should be regularly given training and reminders on proper cleaning and sanitizing protocols.

8. Unsafe Food Holding. Keep hot food hot, and cold food cold. Bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest in the “Danger Zone” – between 40°F and 140°F.

9. Sick Employees Preparing Food. Food workers should stay home when sick and for at least 24-48 hours after symptoms stop. Symptoms include but are not limited to diarrhea, fever, and sore throat.

10. Unsafe Food Storage. Raw foods, such as meat, should never be stored above ready-to-eat foods like fresh fruit, salads, or desserts. The raw food may splash or drip onto the ready-to-eat food and result in cross-contamination.

Source: Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals; Compiled by Jessy Sadler, Certified ServSafe® Instructor and Proctor