Food Safety Tip: Cook, Separate & Chill

•    COOK meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Using a thermometer to measure the internal temperature of meat is a good way to be sure that it is cooked sufficiently to kill bacteria. For example, ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160o F. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.

•    SEPARATE: Don’t cross-contaminate one food with another. Avoid cross-contaminating foods by washing hands, utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch another food. Put cooked meat on a clean platter, rather back on one that held the raw meat.

•    CHILL: Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature, so refrigerate leftover foods if they are not going to be eaten within 4 hours. Large volumes of food will cool more quickly if they are divided into several shallow containers for refrigeration.

•    REPORT: Report suspected foodborne illnesses to your local health department. The local public health department is an important part of the food safety system. Often calls from concerned citizens are how outbreaks are first detected. If a public health official contacts you to find our more about an illness you had, your cooperation is important. In public health investigations, it can be as important to talk to healthy people as to ill people. Your cooperation may be needed even if you are not ill.

Do Not Work While Ill

If you are ill, you can pass on infectious agents in to the food, so it is important that you never prepare food if you are ill.

You should  not work if you have:

•    fever

•    sore throat

•    diarrhea

•    vomiting

•    yellow skin (jaundice)

•    dark tea colored urine

Always notify your supervisor immediately if you are not feeling well!

It is important to be well groomed when working in the kitchen. One consideration is the fingernails–they should be clean and short. Excessively long fingernails set up an opportunity for microorganisms to grow and contaminate food. According to the FDA, a food employee should not wear fingernail polish or artificial fingernails when working with exposed food, unless wearing intact gloves in good repair.

Gloves are an important part of food service. However, gloves can also become contaminated. It is vital to always wash your hands before and after gloving. You should change gloves in between food tasks. It is unsafe to wear jewelry on arms and hands while preparing food. It is also important to wear clean outer clothing to prevent contamination of food along with other cooking utensils.

Another general employee practice is to wear hair restraints such as hats, hair coverings or nets, facial hair restraints and clothing that cover body hair in order to keep ones hair from contacting exposed food and other kitchenware.

When consuming beverages in food service areas it is important to make sure that the container has a covered lid and that the beverage container itself does not become contaminated.

When working in the food service area for an assisted living or residential care Community, it is always important to be safe and clean. Always make sure to practice good hygiene and keep your hands, tools and surfaces clean.

Do not smoke or use any kind of tobacco while preparing food. Your saliva will transfer from your hands to the food causing the food to become contaminated. It is not appropriate to use tobacco products in food service areas. Only smoke in designated areas and on your break period. Remember to wash your hands after smoking or using tobacco products.

Do not work if you have infected cuts, abscesses or any type of boils.

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