01 Food Source
01a- Approved Source
Food served in a restaurant needs to come from an approved source for several reasons. Meats and poultry need to come from an inspected plant to be sure that proper safety measures are taken when the meat is being cut and packaged. It is also important that items such as mushrooms come from an approved source to ensure that they are safe to eat and don’t pose a risk of poisoning. Another unapproved source would be wild game meats that are not from an inspected processor.
01b- Wholesome, free of spoilage
This item is pretty self explanatory. Violations of 01b include food that is moldy, rotting or otherwise in unsound condition. One of the lesser known violations in this category is the storage of bottles or drink containers in drink ice bins. The bottles could have contamination from shipping or the restaurant’s bar and could also break leaving glass in the ice. Ice used for cooling or cold holding must be separate from drink ice. Ice has actually been linked to food borne illness. Remember any contamination that happens to drink ice is going to get passed on the customers or house guests because there is no kill step for the ice prior to it being served.
01c- Cross Contamination
Cross contamination is an important cause of food borne illness. Cross contamination occurs when food of different types touch or drip onto each other. This is most dangerous when a food of animal origin contaminates fruits or vegetables. The fruits and vegetables often will not be cooked so the contamination on them has no kill step. Another problem is when different types of animal products contaminate each other and proper cooking temperatures are not reached to kill the bacteria that were part of the contamination incident. For example, if juices from raw chicken which needs to be cooked to 165 degrees drip onto pork which only needs to be cooked to 145 degrees, the result could be a properly cooked pork chop that is still contaminated with salmonella that is not safe to eat. To avoid these situations in the kitchen it is important that item which require the highest cook temperatures are stored on the bottom and produce is stored either on the top shelves or on a separate side or cooler altogether. Cross contamination can also occur from dirty countertops and cutting boards that are not properly cleaned and sanitized between food products or after use, along with a host of other scenarios.
01d- HACCP Plan
HACCP is short for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Plan. The most common activity to require a HACCP plan in restaurant kitchens is the use of a vacuum packager. Although these tools can be very useful for extending food life and portion sizing they have the potential to cause botulism poisoning. This happens in vacuum packaged products because botulism spores only produce their toxin in an environment without oxygen which is what is created by the vacuum packaging process. Because of this risk, facilities are required to develop a plan to ensure that botulism risks have been addressed and staff have been properly trained to use the machine to protect the safety of the dining public from botulism. Botulism is very dangerous and is often time fatal so very special care is taken to address it specifically during inspections. If you’re using a home packager it is important not to use it for food that have been cooked. Raw meats have other competing organisms on them that keep the botulism from producing toxin but the cooking process kills the other organisms off and leaves only botulism and large chunk of food for it to thrive on. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also fine to package.
*** There are references above to the term “kill step”. This refers to a cooking process that would kill any bacterial contamination that may be present on or in the food. For example, cooking a ground beef patty to 155 degrees internal temperature is a kill step for any e. coli that may have been in the ground beef. Ready to eat food such as fresh fruits and vegetables as well a drink ice do not have a kill step.
Please contact Rachel Burmeister at 970-920-5075 with any food safety or restaurant related questions.