Chapter 1 focuses on common food borne illnesses all food handlers must become knowledgeable with in order to receive a food handler’s card and safely serve patrons without putting them in danger. If you work in Washington, Oregon, California, Illinois, Alaska, Florida and Utah, you are required to receive a Food Handler’s Card. Several other states, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Montana, Nevada and New York, carry county requirements for passing the food handler’s test.
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Common Food Illnesses for Food Handlers
Food-borne Illness is a disease carried or transmitted to people by food.
Food-borne Illness Outbreak is when two or more people experience the same illness after eating the same food.
Higher Risk Populations: Infants, preschool age children, pregnant women, the elderly, people taking medications, and people who are seriously ill.
Although any type of food can become contaminated, some are better able to support the rapid growth of microorganisms than others. These foods require Temperature Control for Safety (TCS). This includes milk, eggs, shellfish, fish, meats, meat alternatives, untreated garlic and oil mixtures, baked potatoes, raw sprouts, cooked rice, cut tomatoes, and cut melons.
TCS Foods must be kept out of the Danger Zone (41° – 135°) to prevent the growth of microorganisms and the production of toxins.
Three Types of Contamination (Hazards)
Biological – Bacteria, Virus, Parasites, Fungi, Natural Toxins
Chemical – Cleaners, Sanitizers, Toxic Metal from Non Food Service Grade Utensils and Cookware, Pesticides
Physical – Foreign Objects – Hair, Glass, Paper, Metal Shavings
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) Top 5 Documents Reasons for Outbreaks:
Purchasing food from unsafe sources
Failing to cook food adequately
Holding food at incorrect temperatures
Poor personal hygiene
4 Ways Food Becomes Contaminated
1. Time-Temperature Control -TCS foods are left in the danger zone for > 4 hours
2. Cross Contamination Contaminants cross to a food that is not going to be cooked any further
3. Poor Personal Hygiene Food handlers cause the food-borne illness
4. Poor Cleaning & Sanitizing
Ready To Eat Foods are items that can be consumed without further Preparation, Washing, and Cooking
Ready-to-eat food includes:
• Cooked food
• Washed fruit and vegetables
• Deli meat
• Bakery items
• Sugar, spices, and seasonings
Keeping Food Safe and Training
Focus on these measures
• Controlling time and temperature
• Preventing cross-contamination
• Practicing personal hygiene
• Purchasing from approved, reputable suppliers
• Cleaning and sanitizing
Training and Monitoring
• Train staff to follow food safety procedures
• Provide initial and ongoing training
• Provide all staff with general food safety knowledge
• Provide job specific food safety training
• Retrain staff regularly
• Monitor staff to make sure they are following procedures
• Document training
Government Agencies that oversee Food Handlers
• The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspects all food except meat, poultry, and eggs. The agency also regulates food transported across state lines. In addition, the agency issues the FDA Food Code, which provides recommendations for food safety regulations.
• The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates and inspects meat, poultry, and eggs. It also regulates food that crosses state boundaries or involves more than one state.
• Agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U. S. Public Health Service (PHS) conduct research into the causes of food-borne-illness outbreaks.
• State and local regulatory authorities write or adopt code that regulates retail and food service operations.