Running an Efficient Kitchen and Food Safety
11.03: Receiving, Storage & Preparation
HACCP is an operation system that ensures that as many precautions as possible are undertaken to eliminate, minimize, or prevent any kind of contamination. HACCP identifies critical control points that relate to all transportation, handling, preparation, service, and storage of food products.
Receiving, storage, and preparation are all important sections of a food safety flow chart, and receiving of products is your first step when developing a flow chart. The following are important elements to consider when receiving products in general.
Never assume that all the food you receive is good enough to eat.
The receiving dock and related areas should be well lit and kept very tidy. Incorporate this area into a daily cleaning schedule to ensure proper cleanliness.
Schedule your deliveries to allow adequate time for the proper inspection and receiving of all food products.
Have all appropriate equipment and containers on hand. Scales, plastic gloves, containers, and thermometers are important pieces to have in easy reach.
Record the temperatures of the delivery trucks refrigerated and freezer storage. If the temperature is not within an acceptable range, do not accept the shipment (because you are unable to ascertain the length of time that the temperature has been unacceptable).
Each group of food, whether dry foods, dairy products, fresh produce, or meats, requires a slightly different procedure. No matter what the product type, the principal component in a receiving procedure is accuracy. Any carelessness or half-hearted attempts at checking the delivery will render the whole process useless.
Dry foods or goods are usually shipped in cartons, bags, cases, or pails. Count the pieces and check that the number corresponds with what is listed on the invoice.
If a carton is damaged, check the contents carefully. Pay particular attention to signs of leakage in cartons that contain products in jars or bottles. It is extremely difficult to get credit at a later date for products stored in glass jars or bottles that have broken. In addition, visually check bags and pails for damage or leakage.
If sealed cartons show evidence of having been opened, check the contents. All unsealed or obviously repacked cartons should be checked to verify what they contain. Do not sign the invoice if there is any doubt about quantity, quality, or damage until you or your supervisor has cleared up the problem with the shipper.
Canned goods are delivered in cases or cartons. Do a count and a quality check of the cans.
The two most common types of damage to cans are swelling and large dents. If cans are swollen or bulging, it means the food has spoiled and must not be used. If the cans have large dents, seams may have split and the food may be contaminated. Again, the canned product is unsafe to use and should be sent back to the supplier. If a whole case of canned goods is unacceptable, the local health authority should be notified.
Dairy products are perishable and do not store long. Check the best-before date on each container, which should be at least a week after the receiving date.
As with dry foods, compare the number of items received with the invoice and check all items for damage and leakage.
Produce is delivered in bags, cases, or cartons. Count the number of pieces, weigh items, and check for quality. Open any closed cases and cartons to check the produce for ripeness, freshness, and other signs of quality.
When there are mistakes in delivery or an unacceptable quality of food has been received, you should insist that the supplier pick up the item and issue a credit.
Meats, Poultry, and Seafood
Fresh meat is shipped in pieces and/or by weight. Count and weigh the fresh items. Check for leaking vacuum-packed (Cryovac) packages, and check the grade of the meat against the grade on the invoice. In addition, if specifications were given on the order form, confirm the cuts of meat do meet those specifications.
Fresh poultry and seafood should also be counted, weighed, and checked for quality.
Frozen products are often delivered in cases and cartons. Open the cases to count the items and to check for signs of freezer burn, torn wrappings, partial thawing, or other problems.
In summary, when receiving goods, remember:
The quantity of the goods received should match the quantity on the invoice and the quantity on the purchase order.
The quality of the goods received should be to the specifications given on the invoice or to specifications previously worked out with the supplier. This includes supplying the specific brand name when it is requested.
The prices of the goods should be listed on the invoice and should match the prices on the purchase order.
To avoid injury, follow these steps for proper lifting and material handling:
Warm Up: Your muscles need good blood flow to perform properly. Consider simple exercises such as jumping jacks to get warmed up prior to lifting tasks.
Stand close to load: The force exerted on your lower back is multiplied by the distance to the object. Stand as close to the load as possible when lifting.
Bend your knees: Bending your knees and keeping your upper body upright allows you to use your legs to lift, rather than your back.
Grip the load: Do not lift a load if you can't get a good grip. Some loads are not too heavy, but are simply too large to grip easily. Consider lifting such a load with someone else.
Lower load in reverse: You can just as easily injure your back putting something down as you did picking it up. Lower using your legs and keep the load close to your body.
11.04: Cleaning vs Sanitizing
Since cleaning and sanitizing may be the most important aspects of a sanitation program, sufficient time should be given to outline proper procedures and parameters. Detailed procedures must be developed for all food-product contact surfaces (equipment, utensils, etc.) as well as for non-product surfaces such as non-product portions of equipment, overhead structures, shields, walls, ceilings, lighting devices, refrigeration units and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and anything else which could impact food safety. Cleaning frequency must be clearly defined for each process line (i.e., daily, after production runs, or more often if necessary). The type of cleaning required must also be identified. The objective of cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces is to remove food (nutrients) that bacteria need to grow, and to kill those bacteria that are present. It is important that the clean, sanitized equipment and surfaces drain dry and are stored dry so as to prevent bacteria growth.
Necessary equipment (brushes, etc.) must also be clean and stored in a clean, sanitary manner. Cleaning/sanitizing procedures must be evaluated for adequacy through evaluation and inspection procedures. Adherence to prescribed written procedures (inspection, swab testing, direct observation of personnel) should be continuously monitored, and records maintained to evaluate long-term compliance.
The correct order of events for cleaning/sanitizing of food product contact surfaces is as follows:
11.05: 7 Steps to an Effective Pest Management Program
In food processing environments, quality pest control is a must. A pest infestation can put your product and your business’ reputation at risk because nobody wants to find something in the product that’s not on the label. But pest management in such environments is also very sensitive. Special precautions must be taken to keep pest control treatments from threatening food safety. To better control pests while respecting a food plant’s sensitive environmental needs, you need to apply the principles of integrated pest management (IPM).
IPM programs are successful for a simple reason. They recognize that pest management is a process, not a one-time event, and that relying solely on chemical controls when so many other tools are available is never the best solution. By addressing the underlying causes of pest infestations – access to food, water and shelter – IPM can prevent infestation before pesticides are even considered. In practice, IPM is an ongoing cycle of seven critical steps:
Step 1: Inspection
The cornerstone of an effective IPM program is a schedule of regular inspections. For food processors weekly inspections are common, and some plants inspect even more frequently. These routine inspections should focus on areas where pests are most likely to appear – receiving docks, storage areas, employee break rooms, sites of recent ingredient spills, etc. – and identify any potential entry points, food and water sources, or harborage zones that might encourage pest problems.
Step 2: Preventive Action
As regular inspections reveal vulnerabilities in your pest management program, take steps to address them before they cause a real problem. One of the most effective prevention measures is exclusion, i.e., performing structural maintenance to close potential entry points revealed during inspection. By physically keeping pests out, you can reduce the need for chemical countermeasures. Likewise, sanitation and housekeeping will eliminate potential food and water sources, thereby reducing pest pressure.
Step 3: Identification
Different pests have different behaviors. By identifying the problematic species, pests can be eliminated more efficiently and with the least risk of harm to other organisms. Professional pest management always starts with the correct identification of the pest in question. Make sure your pest control provider undergoes rigorous training in pest identification and behavior.
Step 4: Analysis
Once you have properly identified the pest, you need to figure out why the pest is in your facility. Is there food debris or moisture accumulation that may be attracting it? What about odors? How are the pests finding their way in – perhaps through the floors or walls? Could incoming shipments be infested? The answers to these questions will lead to the best choice of control techniques.
Step 5: Treatment Selection
IPM stresses the use of non-chemical control methods, such as exclusion or trapping, before chemical options. When other control methods have failed or are inappropriate for the situation, chemicals may be used in least volatile formulations in targeted areas to treat the specific pest. In other words, use the right treatments in the right places, and only as much as you need to get the job done. Often, the “right treatment” will consist of a combination of responses, from chemical treatments to baiting to trapping. But by focusing on non-chemical options first, you can ensure that your pest management program is effectively eliminating pests at the least risk to your food safety program, non-target organisms and the environment. You’ll also see higher pest control scores at audit time.
Step 6: Monitoring
Since pest management is an ongoing process, constantly monitoring your facility for pest activity and facility and operational changes can protect against infestation and help eliminate existing ones. Since your pest management professional most likely visits your facility on a bi-weekly or weekly basis, your staff needs to be the daily eyes and ears of the IPM program. Employees should be cognizant of sanitation issues that affect the program and should report any signs of pest activity. You don’t want to lose a day when it comes to reacting to an actual pest presence.
Step 7: Documentation
Let’s face it, the food safety auditor’s visit can make or break your business. Since pest control can account for up to 20 percent of your total score, it’s imperative that your IPM program is ready to showcase come audit time. Up-to-date pest control documentation is one of the first signs to an auditor that your facility takes pest control seriously. Important documents include a scope of service, pest activity reports, service reports, corrective action reports, trap layout maps, lists of approved pesticides, pesticide usage reports and applicator licenses.
11.06: Foodborne Illnesses & Prevention
More than 48 million Americans get sick from food borne disease each year, mostly because of consuming raw or undercooked food, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While most cases of food-related illnesses are not serious and last about a couple days, it's hard to tell which exposure could turn more serious.
But there are ways to prevent harmful bacteria from contaminating your food and potentially making you sick.
Here are a few dos and dont's to prevent food borne illness:
Don't leave foods that need to be chilled sitting out. Refrigerate and freeze necessary foods right away.
Do use a meat thermometer to make sure your food is cooked thoroughly.
Do wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water before and after handling any raw meats, fruits and vegetables.
Do wash utensils and disinfect surfaces before and after use.
Don't defrost food on the kitchen counter. Instead, use the refrigerator, cold running water, or the microwave oven.
Don't let food marinate at room temperature.
Keep marinating food refrigerated.
Don't over pack the refrigerator.
The CDC estimates that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
The top five germs that cause illnesses from food eaten in the United States are:
Food poisoning symptoms may range from mild to severe and may differ depending on the germ you swallowed. The most common symptoms of food poisoning are:
Foodborne illness is caused by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Many different disease-causing microbes or pathogens can contaminate foods, so there are many different types of foodborne illnesses.
Most foodborne diseases are infections caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Other diseases are poisonings caused by harmful toxins or chemicals that have contaminated food.
Of note many foodborne pathogens also can be acquired through recreational or drinking water, from contact with animals or their environment, or through person-to-person spread.
11.07: Allergerns & Avoiding Cross-Contamination
Each year, millions of Americans have allergic reactions to food. Although most food allergies cause relatively mild and minor symptoms some food allergies can cause severe reactions, and may even be life-threatening.
There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance of food allergens — and early recognition and management of allergic reactions to food — are important measures to prevent serious health consequences.
Some of the most common allergens include: Eggs, Milk, Soy, Peanuts, Wheat, Fish, and Shellfish.
Cross-Contamination in Restaurants
When choosing a restaurant, it is important to determine if the restaurant's staff members are familiar with food allergies and have an established protocol for food safety. Speak to a manager before ordering to make sure the staff understands your food allergy-related needs.
Still, despite a restaurant's best efforts, cross-contamination can still occur if all safe practices are not upheld. The most common causes of cross-contamination in restaurants are often related to the frying oil, griddles or grills, and woks. The actual cooking of food poses more risk in a restaurant than in typical prep areas, as those areas are usually more closely monitored and understood.
Understanding the difference between Cross-Contamination vs. Cross-Contact
When dining at a restaurant, you will need to have a discussion about cross-contact with one of the restaurant employees. Even though food allergies are commonly understood, the term cross-contact is fairly new. You may know the term and how to safely prepare an allergen-free meal, but this term is still not universally used in the food service industry. The commonly used term is cross-contamination. Foodservice employees are trained to prevent foods from being contaminated by biological contaminates. Once you know the difference it will be easier to discuss this at the restaurant.
Cross-contamination is a common factor in the cause of foodborne illness. Microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses from different sources can contaminate foods during preparation and storage. Proper cooking of the contaminated food in most cases will reduce or eliminate the chances of a foodborne illness.
Cross-contact occurs when an allergen is inadvertently transferred from a food containing an allergen to a food that does not contain the allergen. Cooking does not reduce or eliminate the chances of a person with a food allergy having a reaction to the food eaten.
As you can see, many food service employees will hear you say cross-contact, and may think this is the same thing as cross-contamination. It is your responsibility to explain the difference to them.
11.08: Review/Critical Thinking
Please complete the following questions. It is important that you use full sentences and present the questions and answers when you submit your work.
Go to the Assessment area in the course to complete the assignment Review and Critical Thinking and submit the work as a file attachment.
The answers to the Review and Critical Thinking Questions are worth 10 points.
11.09: Cooking Assignment #11
https://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/page/find-allergy-friendly-recipes.aspx and search for a recipe you would like to create. Please take photos or a video of yourself performing the task. Please include a short summary of why you chose the recipe as well as some steps you take to avoid cross-contamination.
11.10: Module 11 Quiz
Before you take the quiz for this unit take a moment to review what you have learned.
When you feel that you are ready to complete the Module 11 Quiz, Running an Efficient Kitchen and Food Safety, click HERE.