Food Safety for Food Workers

Most foodborne illness can be avoided by hand ling food properly. Foods from animal sources and cooked beans, rice and pasta are especially risky. These foods are “Time/Temperature Control Safety (TCS) Food”. Follow these basic food safety principles and practices to keep the food you prepare and serve safe to eat. These recommendations are consistent with the FDA 2013 Food Code.


Key Principle Hazard Food Safety Message
Be in Good Health Microbiological Contamination
  • Don’t prepare food when you are ill or have an open cut or sore on your hand s or arms.
  • Report illnesses to the manager.
  • Avoid coughing and sneezing in food areas.

Practice Good Personal Hygiene

Hand Under Faucet

Microbiological Contamination

Always wash your hands after you:

  • use the restroom.
  • cough, sneeze, or use a hand kerchief or tissue.
  • work with raw foods.
  • handle dirty equipment or utensils.
  • take out the garbage.
  • Use a designated hand sink.
  Physical Contamination
  • Wear clean clothing on the job.

Microbiological and Physical Contamination

  • Wear effective hair restraint while working in a food preparation area.
  • Don’t eat, drink or smoke while preparing food.
  • Keep nails trimmed.



Key Principle Hazard Food Safety Message
Control Time and Temperature During Recieving

Bacterial Growth, Toxin Production

Keep foods out of the “Danger Zone”: 41ºF - 135ºF

  • Use a calibrated food thermometer to check food temperatures.

Receive and store food at proper temperatures

  • Refrigerated foods at 41ºF or below.
  • Frozen foods at 0ºF or below.
During Preparation

Bacterial Growth, Toxin Production

Thaw frozen foods in:

  • Refrigerator.
  • Potable cold running water below 70ºF for 2 hours or less.
  • Microwave oven followed by cooking or as part of the cooking process.

Control Time & Temperature During Cooking

Chicken in Roasting Pan

Bacterial Survival, Toxin Production

Cook each food to proper internal temperature:

  • 165 ºF for 15 seconds:
    • poultry, stuffed meat, fish, pasta and stuffing containing meat, poultry or fish.
  • 165 ºF for 15 seconds:
    • ground poultry, turkey.
  • 155 ºF for 15 seconds or 158ºF instantaneously:
    • for ground meats (mechanically tenderized and injected meats) and the following comminuted: fish, meat and raw eggs not prepared for immediate consumption.
  • 145 ºF for 15 seconds:
    • fish, meat, pork and raw shell eggs that are intended for immediate service.
  • 145 ºF for 3 minutes:
    • whole beef roasts, whole pork roasts and corned beef roasts.
  • 145 ºF on the top and bottom surface of a beef steak labeled to indicate that it meets the definition of “whole muscle intact beef.”
  • 165 ºF raw animal foods cooked in a microwave.
During Holding

Bacterial Growth, Toxin Production

  • Hold hot Time/Temperature Control Safety (TCS) Food at 135ºF and above.
  • Hold cold TCS Food at 41ºF or below.

During Cooling

Food Cooling in Ice Bath

Bacterial Growth, Toxin Production

  • Cool cooked Time/Temperature Control Safety (TCS) Food
    • 135ºF to 70ºF in 2 hours or less.
    • 70ºF to 41ºF in 4 hours or less.
  • Cool foods prepared cold to 41ºF or less within 4 hours.
  • Date and mark cold foods prepared on-site and held for more than 24 hours with the date of discard:
    • at 41ºF - 7 days including date of preparation
    • at 45 ºF - 4 days including date of preparation
  • Cool foods in shallow containers (4 inches or less).
During Reheating

Bacterial Survival and Growth, Toxin Production

  • Rapidly reheat TCS Food to 165 ºF (2 hours or less) and hold at 135ºF.


Key Principle Hazard Food Safety Message

Protect Food from Contamination

Hand Pulling on Glove

Microbiological and Physical Contamination

  • Prevent bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods by using utensils like disposable gloves, deli tissue, spatulas, tongs or dispensing utensils.
  •  Minimize bare-hand contact with exposed foods that are not in ready-to-eat form.
  •  Store food in covered containers or original packaging.
  •  Do not store packaged food in absorbent packaging in direct contact with ice or water.
  •  Do not store unpackaged food in direct contact with undrained ice.
  •  Wash fruits and vegetables before cooking or serving.
  •  Store foods in a clean, dry location that is not subject to splash, dust or other contaminants and is 6 inches above the floor.

Prevent Cross-contamination

Cutting Board with Fish, Separate Cutting Board with Fruit

  • Separate raw animal foods from ready-to-eat animal foods and other ready-to-eat foods (sushi, molluscan shellfish, fruits and vegetables) during storage, preparation, holding and serving.

Microbiological Contamination

  • Clean and sanitize food thermometers before and after each temperature check of raw and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Do not mix raw animal foods with cooked food.

Keep Food Contact Surfaces Clean

Bucket and Hand wiping table

Microbiological Contamination

Clean and sanitize food contact equipment and utensils:

  • Before you use a different type of raw animal food (beef, fish, lamb, pork and poultry).
  • When you change from working with raw foods to working with ready-to-eat foods.
  • Between preparing raw fruits and vegetables and Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food.
  • At any time during the operation when contamination may have occurred.
  • Every 4 hours if used with Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food at room temperature greater than 55 ºF.
  • Clean and sanitize food thermometers before using and storing.


Key Principle Hazard Food Safety Message

Consider the Source and the Condition of the Food

Microbiological, Physical and Chemical Contamination

  • Use foods from approved suppliers.
  • Do not use food prepared in a private home.
  • Do not use food from bulging or dented cans or from damaged packaging.

Use Safe Water

Microbiological and Chemical Contamination

  • Use only safe, potable water.
  • Ice for food use must be made from potable water.

Use Safe Transportation/Travel

Microbiological and Chemical Contamination

  • Protect food from contamination during transportation.
  • Transport in clean vehicles and equipment.
  • Keep refrigerated foods cold (41ºF or below).
  • Keep hot foods hot (135ºF or above).

Use and Store Chemicals and Pesticides Safely


Chemical Contamination

  • Store and use only chemicals that are absolutely necessary.
  • Use chemicals in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Do not store chemicals where they can contaminate food equipment, utensils, linen s and single service/single use articles.
  • Only licensed individuals should apply pesticides.