Food Handling And Preparation

We face two major sanitation problems when handling and preparing food.The first is cross-contamination,which is defined on page 25.

The second problem is that, while we are working on it, food is usually at a temperature between 41°F and 135°F (5°C to 57°C), or in the Food Danger Zone.The lag phase of bacteria growth (p.18) helps us a little but, to be safe,we must keep foods out of the danger zone whenever possible.

1. Start with clean, wholesome foods from reputable purveyors.Whenever applica-ble,buy government-inspected meats,poultry, fish, dairy, and egg products.

2. Handle foods as little as possible. Use tongs, spatulas, or other utensils instead of hands when practical.

3. Use clean, sanitized equipment and worktables.

4. Clean and sanitize cutting surfaces and equipment after handling raw poultry, meat, fish, or eggs and before working on another food.

5. Clean as you go. Don't wait until the end of the workday.

6. Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly.

7. When bringing foods out of refrigeration, do not bring out more than you can process in 1 hour.

8. Keep foods covered unless in immediate use.

9. Limit the time that foods spend in the Food Danger Zone. Observe the four-hour rule (p. 26).

10. Cook foods to Minimum Safe Internal Temperatures (see next section).

11. Taste foods properly. With a ladle or other serving implement, transfer a small amount of the food to a small dish.Then taste this sample using a clean spoon.After tasting, do not use either the dish or the spoon again. Send them to the warewash-ing station or,if using disposables, discard them.

12. Boil leftover gravies, sauces, soups, and vegetables before serving.

13. Don't mix leftovers with freshly prepared foods.

14. Chill all ingredients for protein salads and potato salads before combining.

15. Cool and chill foods quickly and correctly, as explained in the following section. Chill custards, cream fillings, and other hazardous foods as quickly as possible by pouring them into shallow, sanitized pans, covering them, and refrigerating. Do not stack the pans.

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