Food Preparation: Hygiene & Safety

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  • 0:03 Food Safety and…
  • 0:34 The Kitchen and…
  • 1:56 Storage Procedures
  • 2:33 Cooking and Serving Procedures
  • 4:06 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ian Lord

Ian is a real estate investor, MBA, former health professions educator, and Air Force veteran.

In this lesson, we will review basic food safety guidance in a commercial setting. We will give special focus to maintaining a clean and hygienic food prep area, as well as storing, cooking, and serving food at safe temperatures.

Food Safety and Hygiene Background

Carl manages a local grill specializing in cheeseburgers. Part of his duties are to educate his employees about proper food safety practices and reinforce these practices as needed. In a restaurant or hotel setting, there is the possibility of many people becoming sick or even fatally ill if food isn't stored, prepared, cooked, and/or served properly. Let's take a look at the guidelines Carl's grill uses to make sure that kitchen cleanliness is maintained and prevent guests from catching a food borne illness.

The Kitchen and Personal Hygiene

Keeping a clean kitchen requires careful attention to maintaining cleanliness throughout the day at all times. Microbes are bacteria which can live on the surface of food and make people sick if consumed in high enough quantities. When something is spilled, it must be wiped up and disinfected as soon as possible to prevent the growth and spread of these microbes. Dishes and utensils used for food preparation as well as eating must be promptly washed to prevent the growth of bacteria. A significant risk in a working kitchen is cross-contamination, which is when raw meat and its juices collect on a surface that is then used to work with vegetables, breads, or other foods. Separate work surfaces are used for cutting meats to avoid this risk. Regular disinfecting between uses further reduces the risk of someone becoming ill from cross-contamination.

Regularly practicing personal hygiene reduces the risk of food contamination as well. Food can be contaminated by people at the restaurant, not just from the processing source or from when an animal was still alive. Carl's employees must wash their hands with soap and warm water after using the restroom, before and after handling food items, and at regular intervals throughout the day. Gloves need to be worn when directly handling food, such as when sandwiches are being assembled. Hairnets also reduce the possibility of food becoming contaminated by a stray hair from the cook.

Storage Procedures

In Carl's kitchen, meats are stored separately from other refrigerated ingredients. If the meat cannot be kept in a separate fridge, it must be kept securely wrapped and as far away from other foods as possible. Meat should be kept below other foods to prevent any accidental spills or drops from causing contamination. His fridges are kept below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and freezers below 0 degrees Fahrenheit in order to appropriately slow the growth of microbes that can make people sick. Accurate temperature control will also keep food fresher for longer than an inaccurately set cooler, so Carl makes sure to regularly use thermometers to ensure accuracy.

Cooking and Serving Procedures

Carl knows that the art and science of cooking depends on controlling the temperature of food. Too hot or too cold, and the result is at best an unsatisfying meal and at worst a trip to the hospital. The U.S. Department of Agriculture publishes temperatures that have been scientifically proven to keep microbe presence in food at safe levels for consumption.

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