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Cleanliness to Prevent Foodborne Illnesses

foodborne restaurant kitchen

Foodborne illnesses, such as E. Coli and salmonella, can make patrons and employees extremely ill. These microorganisms are easily transferred to food and kitchen surfaces during storage, preparation and serving. Minimize contamination risks with these safety precautions.

Personal Hygiene 

Before working in the kitchen and throughout your shift, maintain proper hygiene to prevent the spread of bacteria.

Always wash your hands after using the restroom, smoking or eating. Hands also need to be washed immediately after handling raw meat, poultry or eggs. To wash your hands effectively, use soap and warm water. Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds making sure to wash your forearms and underneath your fingernails. Other suggestions include:

  • Wear gloves when handling food directly.
  • Wear a clean uniform and pull long hair back.
  • Avoid unsanitary activities such as chewing tobacco, smoking, coughing or blowing your nose around food.
  • Avoid going to work if you are sick. Breathing near food when you’re ill can transfer germs or illness even without coughing or sneezing directly into the food. Also, cover cuts, burns, sores and infected wounds with a clean bandage.

Preventing cross-contamination begins when the food arrives at your establishment.

  • Check foods stored in the delivery trucks—make sure meats are separated from ready-to-eat foods and produce.
  • Keep storage areas clean and dry, and sanitize any spills immediately.
  • Store raw meats and fish separately from any other foods, and below ready-to-eat foods in the event of leakage.

Food Preparation

Utensils, prep tables and towels are all breeding grounds for bacteria and foodborne illnesses.

  • Prepare meats in a separate area away from produce, and use different cooking utensils and dishes.
  • Never reuse food prep tools or thermometers that have had contact with raw meat until they are thoroughly sanitized.
  • Simply rinsing utensils before reusing them does not kill germs. Sanitize them with dish soap and warm water.

Serving Food

Foods can still be contaminated through human contact or contact with contaminated utensils even after being cooked.

  • Keep foods covered until they are ready to be served.
  • Store eating utensils in a clean area away from food prep.

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