20 Questions With Explanations
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40°F - 140°F
70°F - 125°F
32°F - 212°F
41°F - 135°F
All foods naturally contain pathogens. Some of these pathogens are harmful to humans when ingested.
Our bodies can tolerate low levels of pathogens without getting sick. But if the levels are high, then our immune system cannot defend against them. This is why we must keep the levels as low as possible.
Science has determined that the pathogens which cause foodborne illness thrive and rapidly multiply to high levels between the temperatures of 70°F and 125°F. It has also been determined that their rate of multiplying is significantly reduced outside of the temperature range of 41°F and 135°F.
The "Temperature Danger Zone" is between 41°F and 135°F. Inside of this temperature range pathogens can multiply. But outside of this temperature range, their ability to multiply is significantly reduced. This is why we store foods either hot or cold until they are served.
Other sources may quote the Temperature Danger Zone as a range between 40°F and 140°F. For example, this is the range used by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). But for ServSafe, the Temperature Danger Zone is always 41°F to 135°F.
Raw freshwater fish, seafood, shellfish, and crustaceans should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F for at least 15 seconds.
Some examples of shellfish and crustaceans are: shrimp, crayfish, crab, lobster, clams, scallops, oysters, and mussels.
Washing fruits or produce
Handling ready to eat foods
Preparing food for cooking
Taking out the garbage
It is a good practice to wear single-use gloves when handling ready to eat foods. The gloves are called single-use because they should be changed between each task. And the same gloves should not be worn for more than 4 hours. If the glove becomes torn or damaged it should be replaced immediately.
Use approved gloves for foodservice and never use them in place of handwashing.
Some activities do not require wearing gloves. Some activities that do not require gloves are:
*Handling food before it has been cooked
*Washing food, dishes or other equipment
*Taking out the garbage
Time and temperature abuse
The deliberate contamination of food
Poor personal hygiene
Making a corrective action
Aside from the accidental causes of foodborne illness, there is also the risk of deliberate actions taken by some people.
A disgruntled employee could want to harm the reputation of a company. Or a business could be intentionally sabotaged by a competitor. There is also the possibility of terroristic motivations.
The ALERT acronym refers to the following:
"Assure" that your products come from safe sources.
"Look" and monitor the security of products in the facility.
"Employees" should be vetted, know who they are.
"Report" suspicious behavior to your supervisors.
"Threats" should be identified and you should know who to contact if something suspicious happens.
That it must remain frozen until used
If it's fresh catch or farmed raised
The SKU number
It's Nutrition Facts
The current ServSafe Manager 7th Edition textbook does not include this portion but it has been updated with supplemental information and is now part of the curriculum.
If your operation is packaging fish using reduced-oxygen packaging (ROP), the fish must be frozen before, during or after the packaging. And it must also include a label stating that the fish must remain frozen until it is used.
If your operation is using frozen fish from a supplier that has packaged it by ROP, it should usually remain frozen until it is used. And the package should be inspected for a label containing instructions for thawing the fish and if the fish should be removed from the package before, during or after thawing.
Serve the food as soon as possible
Throw it out
Move the food to a cold storage unit and label it appropriately
Quickly bring the food to the correct temperature
Hot food should be held at an internal temperature of at least 135°F while it's waiting to be served to customers. An example of this is a buffet line.
Theoretically, food could be held at this temperature (or higher) forever and still be safe to eat. But most establishments will throw food out at the end of the day if it's been hot-held all day. This is for quality reasons and not for safety.
For safety, hot food should never fall below 135°F for more than 4 hours and if it does, it should be thrown out.
Your establishment should have policies for how often the internal temperature of hot-held food is taken.
If the policy is that the temperature is taken every 4 hours and if the temperature falls below 135°F, you need to throw it out. This is because it could have been below 135°F for the entire 4 hours.
However, if your establishment has the policy to check the temperature every 2 hours and it falls below, then corrective action can be taken. The food can be quickly heated back up to 135°F and still be safe to eat.
There are several reasons why all food, supplies, and equipment should be stored away from the walls and at least 6 inches above the floor. The biggest reasons are pests and cleanliness.
Despite your best efforts, pests may still enter the establishment. Rats, mice, and cockroaches are able to climb and crawl almost anywhere. But other pests may find it difficult to reach items stored above the floor and away from the walls.
The floor is often dirtiest place in the establishment. Storing items above the floor keeps them away from dirt, dust, and debris. It could also make cleaning underneath the shelves easier.
Storing items away from the walls also makes for easier cleaning. It also prevents spiders from making webs or from dirt and debris from accumulating in hard to reach spaces.
Mixing raw food with cooked food that will then be served without further cooking.
Leaving foods in the temperature danger zone for too long.
Storing food on a shelf where it could drip or leak onto the food stored below it.
Using the same cutting board for chicken and beef.
Cross-contamination occurs when a food or a food-contact surface comes into contact with something that is contaminated.
One example is when an employee who was handling raw foods then handles ready to eat foods or surfaces that will come into contact with ready to eat foods - without first washing their hands or these surfaces.
Another example is when raw foods requiring a higher cooking temperature come into contact with foods requiring a lower temperature of cooking.
This can also happen indirectly, such as using the same utensils, cookware or surfaces for foods requiring different temperatures of cooking.
Cross-contamination can further be prevented with good personal hygiene and cleaning/sanitizing methods.
A 65-year-old man
A foodservice worker
A 40-year-old woman
A teenage girl
Preschool-age children, the elderly and people with a compromised immune system are at the highest risk for foodborne illness.
Preschool-age children have not had enough time to develop an immune system strong enough to defend against some illnesses.
The elderly and people suffering from some diseases have a weakened immune system, making them more susceptible.
Hot TCS food should not be allowed to remain in the temperature danger zone for more than 4 hours (between 135°F and 41°F). So why is the answer to this question 6 hours and not 4 hours?
This is because the food will be cooled and then reheated in a controlled manner. There are a few more rules regarding cooling and reheating foods that make everything work.
The TCS food must be cooled from 135°F to 70°F within 2 hours. Because this is the temperature range that microorganisms will thrive and reproduce the most rapidly.
Then, the TCS food must be cooled from 70°F to the storage temperature of 41°F or lower within 4 hours.
Finally, when reheating TCS food that will be hot-held for service, it must be cooked again to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F for 15 seconds. This will kill the microorganisms that reproduced during the cooling process.
However, if the food will be immediately served to a customer, it does not need to be reheated and can be served at any temperature. As long as it has been previously cooked and cooled properly.
This entire process can be simplified by cooling the food very rapidly with a blast chiller or another method. Then there is no need to monitor the time so closely.
The reason that we control the temperature of food is so that we can control the growth of the microorganisms within it. The microorganisms are what cause foodborne illness.
Microorganisms multiply at a much slower rate in cold temperatures, but they still reproduce. Temperatures below freezing completely stop the growth of microorganisms but it is not practical to keep all foods frozen all of the time.
Science has determined that temperatures of 41°F and below slow down the growth of microorganisms enough to make it an ideal storage temperature. But because the microorganisms are still multiplying, the food should be served or thrown out within 7 days.
Offering live shellfish from a display tank
Smoking food as a way to enhance the flavor (but not to preserve it)
Offering customers al fresco style dining
Hiring a food handler who is under the age of 16
A variance is a document issued by your regulatory authority that allows a regulatory requirement to be waived or changed. You will need a variance if your operation plans to prep food in any of the following ways:
• Offering live shellfish from a display tank.
• Smoking food as a way to preserve it (but not to enhance flavor).
• Packaging fresh juice on-site for sale at a later time, unless the juice has a warning label that complies with local regulations.
• Using food additives or adding components such as vinegar to preserve or alter the food so that it no longer needs time and temperature control for safety.
• Curing food.
• Custom-processing animals for personal use. For example, a hunter brings a deer to a restaurant for dressing and takes the meat home for later use.
• Packaging food using a reduced-oxygen packaging (ROP) method. This includes MAP, vacuum-packed, and sous vide food.
• Sprouting seeds or beans.
When applying for a variance, your regulatory authority may require you to submit a HACCP plan.
• The HACCP plan must account for any food safety risks related to the way you plan to prep the food item.
• You must comply with the HACCP Plan and procedures submitted.
• You must maintain and provide records requested by the regulatory authority which show that you are regularly:
– Following procedures for monitoring Critical Control Points
– Monitoring the Critical Control Points
– Verifying the effectiveness of the operation or process
– Taking the necessary corrective actions if there is a failure at a critical control point
Pressure fluctuation contamination
Air-gap resistance contamination
The term cross-connection is sometimes confused with cross-contamination. Although both terms are related to contamination, cross-connection has a specific definition.
Cross-connection happens when a clean water supply is accidentally connected to a dirty water supply, usually through a hose or an incorrectly installed faucet.
For example, if a faucet is installed to close to the sink so that when the sink is full of water, the end of the faucet is submerged in the sink water. This can cause contamination of the water within the faucet. Changing air pressure can cause the dirty sink water to move up and into the clean faucet water.
The best way to prevent this is an "air-gap" or a "backflow prevention device".
An air-gap is simply ensuring that there is sufficient space between the faucet and the sink so that the faucet cannot become submerged in the sink water.
A backflow prevention device is a fixture with valves that keep water moving in only one direction and prevent it from going backward. A thermocouple is an example.
Both of these preventative measures can be used for faucets, hoses or any other potential water-to-water connection.
The internal temperature of meats
The air temperature of coolers and ovens
The surface temperature of flat cooking equipment, such as a griddle
The temperature of liquids such as soups, sauces, and frying oil
Probed thermometers are the most common and effective type of thermometers for a foodservice operation. A probed thermometer is characterized by a long, pointy stem which is the sensing area.
There are 4 types of probed thermometers, they are:1) Immersion probes. These are used to take the temperature of liquids, like soups and frying oil.
2) Bimetallic Stemmed Thermometer. These are the most common of all food thermometers. Every food service establishment should have several of them. Although they can be used for many things, they are best for taking the temperature of thick foods.
2) Surface Probes. These are used to take the temperature of flat surfaces, like a griddle.
3) Penetration Probes. These are used to take the temperature of thin foods, like hamburger patties or fish fillets.
4) Air Probes. These are used to take the air temperature of coolers and ovens.
Asking a customer who is ordering an alcoholic beverage for ID.
Throwing out food that has been time-temperature abused.
Rejecting a shipment of food that appears to be spoiled.
Retraining staff who are doing a task improperly.
Sometimes the term "corrective action" refers to a HACCP plan. But it also applies to the food safety practices of any foodservice operation.
A corrective action is when a food handler discovers an unsafe practice and takes action to stop it and prevent it from happening again.
HACCP is beyond the scope of a ServSafe manager and usually only applies to an industrial production operation such as a meat processing plant or a milk/juice pasteurizing facility.
Disassemble the removable parts
Sanitize the equipment surfaces
Wash the equipment with soapy water
Unplug the equipment
Equipment manufacturers will usually provide instructions for cleaning and sanitizing stationary equipment such as a slicer or mixer. Typically, you should follow these steps:
1) Unplug the equipment.
2) Take off the removable parts and wash rinse and sanitize them by hand or in a dishwasher if approved by the manufacturer.
3) Scrape to remove food and other particles from the equipment surfaces.
4) Wash the surfaces with an appropriate cleaning solution using a tool such as a cloth towel, nylon brush, or abrasive pad.
5) Rinse the surfaces with clean water using a cloth towel or other appropriate tool.
6) Sanitize all surfaces with the correct sanitizing solution according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
7) Allow all surfaces to completely air-dry then reassemble the equipment.
Near the same area as the garbage so that you can keep both from coming into contact with food
In an area that is used only for this purpose
In a separate building outside of the establishment
In a designated area that can only be accessed through the dish room
Cleaning supplies and tools should be stored in a designated area away from food or food contact surfaces. The storage area should be arranged in a way that makes it easy to clean and it should also have the following:
• A floor drain for dumping dirty water.
• Hooks for hanging mops and brooms, etc.
• A utility sink for cleaning the tools and filling buckets.
• Good lighting so that the labels of the chemicals can be read easily.
Hepatitis A is a pathogen that can be transmitted in many ways. Usually, it is spread through contaminated food or water.
Hepatitis A needs blood to blood contact in order to spread. But blood can be spread in many ways. For example, it can be spread from blood in a wound to food and then to the stomach where it can enter the bloodstream.
The number one way that Hepatitis A is spread in a food service establishment is through the fecal-oral route. There is blood in feces and if employees do not properly wash their hands it can then enter the food.
Hepatitis A attacks the liver and a complicated process can cause the skin and eyes to turn a yellowish color.
Although Hepatitis A is rare compared to other foodborne illnesses, it should not be ignored. Hepatitis A is not curable and the treatments are limited. Also, Hepatitis A can exist in the body for months or years without the person knowing and it can then be spread to many more people.