Basic Food Safety Controls

 Health of food handlers:

  • Food businesses should exclude food handlers that are experiencing a food-borne illness or a symptom of food-borne illness from food handling duties for 48 hours after symptoms cease (i.e. vomiting, diarrhoea or fever).
  • Separate hand washing facilities should be provided and food handlers should be encouraged to wash their hands frequently.  Soap, paper towel and warm running water should be provided to the hand wash basin.
  • Food handlers can avoid contaminating food by:
    • Washing and drying hands thoroughly.
    • Stop hair, clothes, jewellery or phone touching food or surfaces (i.e. tie hair back, remove loose jewellery, cover open sores).
    • Not touching ready-to-eat food with bare hands – use tongs and gloves.
    • Wear clean clothing and aprons.
    • Do not eat, spit, smoke, sneeze, blow or cough over food or surfaces that touch food.
  • Food handlers should wash their hands:
    • Before they start handling food.
    • Before working with ready-to-eat foods.
    • After using the toilet.
    • After smoking, coughing, sneezing, using a handkerchief, eating or drinking.
    • After touching their hair, scalp or nose.
    • After doing anything else that could make their hands dirty (i.e. handling garbage, touching animals, cleaning duties, handling money).

Avoiding cross contamination:

  • Utensils should be used to serve ready to eat food products (i.e. salads and sandwiches).
  • Separate utensils should be used for raw and ready-to-eat foods or utensils should be cleaned and sanitised before they are used for ready-to-eat foods and pre-cooked prepared foods.
  • Raw meats should be stored below cooked and prepared foods in the cold-room or refrigerator to avoid meat juices contaminating cooked and ready-to-eat foods, vegetables and salads.
  • Stored foods must be kept covered and in food grade containers at all times.

Cleaning and sanitising:

  • The food premises should be kept in a clean condition.
  • All food contact surfaces such as benchtops, eating and drinking utensils and equipment should be sanitised using hot water or a chemical sanitiser.
  • Cleaning and sanitising are two separate processes.  Cleaning removes dirt, grease and food particles whereas sanitising reduces the bacteria and pathogens.  All food businesses should have a food grade sanitiser to use on food preparation surfaces and equipment.

Temperature control:

  • Potentially hazardous foods must be stored and displayed at or below 5°C or above 60°C.
  • Food businesses must employ the 2hr / 4hr rule where potentially hazardous food is stored out of temperature control (i.e. return to temperature control up to 2hrs, after 4hrs the food must be used immediately or thrown out).
  • Cooked food must be cooled rapidly (60°C to 21°C within 2 hours and 21°C to 5°C within a further 4 hours).  This can be done by placing in the food in cold-room in the refrigeration and portioning into small containers while monitoring the temperature.
  • Food must be defrosted in the cold-room or bottom of the refrigerator whenever possible.  If you need to thaw food immediately, use the microwave.  As a last resort, thaw under cold running water (with food wrapped and packaged).  Avoid defrosting by leaving on the kitchen bench at room temperature.