Frequently Asked Food Handling Questions in New Mexico

What Are The Key Regulations And Guidelines Regarding Proper Food Handling Practices In Restaurants in New Mexico?

1. Cleanliness: All food preparation and serving areas must be kept in a clean and sanitary condition. Employees must maintain a high standard of personal hygiene and wear a clean uniform.

2. Separation of Raw and Ready-to-Eat Foods: Raw foods should be stored separately from ready-to-eat foods in order to prevent cross contamination. When thawing frozen foods, they should be placed below and away from ready-to-eat foods.

3. Temperature Control: Both cold and hot food should be kept at the proper temperatures during storage, preparation, cooking, and serving. Food should not be left in the temperature danger zone of 40°F to 140°F for more than four hours.

4. Proper Cooking and Reheating: All food should be cooked to the proper internal temperature (as specified by the manufacturer) before being served or stored. Reheated food should be cooked to 165°F for 15 seconds or above.

5. Pest Control: All restaurants must have an effective pest control program in place to prevent infestations of rodents or other pests.

6. Handwashing: Employees should wash their hands frequently and properly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food items, after using the restroom, after contact with animals, and after handling garbage.

7. Sanitizing: Surfaces that come into contact with food must be sanitized regularly with approved sanitizing solutions such as chlorine bleach, quaternary ammonia, or iodophor solutions.

Can You Explain The Importance Of Handwashing In Food Handling And The Recommended Steps For Effective Handwashing in New Mexico?

The importance of handwashing in food handling in New Mexico cannot be overstated. Proper and effective handwashing helps reduce the chances of spreading harmful bacteria and other germs from one person to another and from one item of food to another. This is particularly important when preparing and handling food, as it helps to ensure safety for those consuming the food.

The following steps are recommended for effective handwashing in New Mexico:

1. Wet hands with warm, running water.

2. Lather hands with soap and rub all surfaces for at least 20 seconds, including between fingers and under nails.

3. Rinse hands thoroughly under running water.

4. Dry hands with a single-use paper towel or air dryer.

5. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

When Are Food Handlers Required To Use Gloves, And What Situations Might Warrant Bare Hand Contact With Food in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, food handlers are required to use gloves when they are handling food that is ready to eat, such as sandwiches, fruits, salads, etc. Bare hand contact with food should be avoided as much as possible in order to prevent the spread of bacteria and other contaminants from the food handler’s hands. However, there are certain situations in which bare hand contact with food may be necessary. These include: when handling raw meats or eggs, when preparing hazardous food items (such as sushi), and when handling any food that has been contaminated by another source (such as a sick employee). In all of these cases, hands should be washed thoroughly before and after handling the food, as well as between tasks.

How Does The Health Department Ensure That Restaurants Prevent Cross-Contamination Between Raw And Cooked Foods in New Mexico?

The New Mexico Department of Health requires all restaurants to develop and implement a written food safety program to protect their customers from foodborne illness. This program should include practices to prevent cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods. These practices include separating raw foods from cooked foods, and using clean utensils and food preparation surfaces. The Department of Health also requires that restaurants use proper cooling and reheating procedures to ensure that cooked foods are not contaminated with raw food juices. Restaurants must also ensure that their staff is properly trained in food safety procedures to help prevent cross-contamination.

What Are The Critical Temperature Control Points For Hot And Cold Foods, And How Are These Temperatures Monitored And Maintained in New Mexico?

The critical temperature control points for hot and cold foods in New Mexico are as follows:

• Hot food must be held at 135°F or above.
• Cold food must be held at 41°F or below.

These temperatures can be monitored and maintained using thermometers and temperature logs. Temperature logs should be kept up-to-date and filled out at least once per hour for hot foods and two to four times per hour for cold foods. Additionally, thermometers should be calibrated regularly to ensure accuracy.

What Methods Should Restaurants Follow For Thawing Frozen Foods To Prevent Bacterial Growth in New Mexico?

1. Thaw foods in the refrigerator or under cold running water. Place the frozen food in a leak-proof container so it doesn’t come into contact with other foods or surfaces.

2. Do not thaw food at room temperature as this increases the chances of bacteria growth.

3. Reheat all frozen foods to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

4. Discard any food that has been kept at room temperature for more than two hours since this can encourage bacteria growth.

5. Once thawed, use the food within four days or freeze again for later use.

6. Clean and sanitize food preparation surfaces and utensils that have come into contact with raw frozen foods before using them for other food items.

Can You Detail The Internal Cooking Temperatures Required For Various Types Of Foods To Ensure They’Re Safe To Consume in New Mexico?

Beef: Steaks and Roasts: 145°F (medium rare) to 160°F (medium)

Poultry: 165°F

Ground Beef and Pork: 160°F

Seafood: 145°F

Eggs: 160°F

Lamb: 145°F (medium rare) to 160°F (medium)

How Do Restaurants Ensure That Foods Are Rapidly Cooled After Cooking To Prevent The Growth Of Harmful Bacteria in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, restaurants must ensure that food is rapidly cooled after cooking to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria by doing the following:

1. Split large portions into smaller portions and cool in shallow containers no more than 2 inches deep.

2. Place food in a walk-in cooler or refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking.

3. Place an ice bath underneath the containers to quickly chill the food.

4. Stir the food regularly while it is cooling to ensure that all parts of the food chill at the same rate.

5. Use pre-chilled ingredients when making dishes that require cooking.

What Are The Recommended Guidelines For Reheating Cooked Foods To Guarantee They Reach A Safe Temperature in New Mexico?

The New Mexico Department of Health recommends the following guidelines for reheating cooked foods to guarantee they reach a safe temperature:

1. Use a food thermometer to ensure food has reached the recommended safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

2. Heat all leftovers to at least 165°F (74°C).

3. Reheat sauces, soups, and gravies by bringing them to a rolling boil.

4. Heat precooked foods such as hot dogs, breakfast sausage, and bacon until steaming hot or until an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) is reached.

5. When reheating leftovers in the microwave, cover the food and stir every few minutes, ensuring even heating and allowing steam to escape from the dish.

6. Refrigerate or freeze perishable leftovers within two hours after cooking.

How Do Buffet And Salad Bar Setups Adhere To Food Safety Practices, Including Temperature Control And Hygiene Measures in New Mexico?

When setting up a buffet or salad bar, there are key food safety practices that must be followed to protect the health of customers. These include keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold, washing hands, following proper food temperature guidelines, and using food-safe utensils and equipment. In New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Health sets forth minimum food safety standards for food establishments, which include the following:

1. Hot foods must be kept at 135°F (57°C) or higher.
2. Cold foods must be kept at 41°F (5°C) or lower.
3. Food should not be left out of refrigeration for more than two hours.
4. Disposable gloves must be worn when handling food.
5. Utensils and equipment must be washed and sanitized regularly.
6. Hand-washing stations must be available and accessible in all areas where food is handled.
7. Food must be stored in containers labeled with the expiration date and storage instructions.
8. Food preparation surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
9. Adequate lighting must be provided to allow for proper inspection of food items.

What Protocols Are In Place To Handle Food Allergens, Both In Terms Of Proper Labeling And Preventing Cross-Contact in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires food manufacturers to clearly label any food product that contains allergens such as milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, soybeans, peanuts, and wheat as ingredients on the product label. This law also requires restaurants to provide a written advisory to notify customers of potential allergen cross-contamination in menu items.

To prevent cross-contact in food preparation areas, the New Mexico Environmental Department (NMED) requires restaurants to have separate storage areas for food items containing allergens and non-allergen foods and separate utensils and equipment for use with allergen foods. Additionally, NMED requires staff to wear hairnets and clean their hands before preparing allergen foods and after handling non-allergen foods. Lastly, NMED has developed an Allergen Control Plan (ACP) for food service establishments to reduce the risk of allergen cross-contact in their facilities. The ACP includes detailed instructions for staff to follow when preparing allergen foods.

How Do Restaurants Ensure The Safety Of Seafood, Including Storage, Preparation, And Cooking Practices in New Mexico?

1. Restaurants in New Mexico should always source their seafood from reputable suppliers that practice safe handling and storage. The suppliers should follow the FDA’s guidelines for seafood safety, which include storing raw seafood under 40°F and properly labeling and dating all products.

2. When storing seafood, restaurants should always keep raw and cooked products separated to avoid cross-contamination. Seafood should also be stored on ice or in a refrigerator until it is ready to be used or served.

3. Before preparing any seafood, restaurants should always thoroughly wash their hands and any surfaces or utensils that will come in contact with the food.

4. Restaurants should also cook seafood to the proper temperatures to ensure safety. The FDA recommends that all seafood be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F for 15 seconds or more.

5. Finally, restaurants should avoid using any unsafe cooking methods such as microwaving or frying raw seafood, as this can increase the risk of foodborne illness.

What Precautions Should Food Handlers Take When Dealing With Raw Foods Like Meats And Eggs To Prevent Contamination in New Mexico?

1. Wear proper protective clothing, such as gloves, hairnets, and aprons.

2. Wash hands with warm soapy water before and after handling raw foods.

3. Keep raw food separate from ready-to-eat food; use separate cutting boards, utensils, and containers for raw and cooked foods.

4. Thoroughly cook all raw foods to the proper temperature to kill any harmful bacteria.

5. Store raw foods at the correct temperature to prevent the growth of bacteria, and use them as soon as possible.

6. Refrigerate cooked foods within two hours of serving or discard them if they have been left at room temperature for longer than two hours.

7. Avoid cross-contamination by washing cutting boards, utensils, and work surfaces after handling raw food.

8. Regularly clean and sanitize food contact surfaces to prevent the spread of bacteria.

9. Dispose of any food that has been left out for more than four hours or is visibly spoiled or soiled.

Can You Provide Insights Into Proper Cleaning And Sanitization Practices For Kitchen Equipment And Surfaces in New Mexico?

1. Clean all kitchen equipment regularly using a dish soap and water solution, followed by a sanitizing solution such as chlorine bleach at a ratio of 1 teaspoon of bleach per 1 gallon of water.

2. Thoroughly sanitize cutting boards, utensils, counters, and any other food contact surfaces after every use with a sanitizing solution such as chlorine bleach at a ratio of 1 teaspoon of bleach per 1 gallon of water.

3. Clean and sanitize reusable grocery bags and other storage containers regularly to prevent contamination.

4. Keep food-preparation areas clean by wiping up spills immediately and washing all surfaces frequently with a mild detergent solution.

5. Store all food items in sealed containers or covered with plastic wrap to protect them from contamination.

6. Always keep a thermometer on hand to ensure that food is cooked at the correct temperature for the proper length of time.

7. Wear gloves when handling food to prevent cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods.

8. Make sure that all employees are properly trained in food safety and cleaning/sanitization practices.

What Strategies Do Restaurants Implement To Prevent Pest Infestations And Maintain A Pest-Free Environment in New Mexico?

1. Utilize Integrated Pest Management Systems: An integrated pest management (IPM) system combines several types of pest control methods into one comprehensive strategy. This includes practices such as eliminating sources of food, water, and shelter for pests, monitoring for infestations, and using physical, mechanical, biological, and chemical controls when necessary.

2. Make Cleanliness and Sanitation a Priority: Regularly cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, floors, walls, and other areas of the restaurant can prevent pests from being attracted to the location. It is also important to ensure that food is properly stored, garbage is disposed of properly, and all spills are cleaned up quickly.

3. Install Door Screens: Installing door screens can help to prevent pests from entering the restaurant. It is especially important for restaurants in New Mexico to make sure that their screens are fine enough to keep out small insects such as gnats or mosquitos.

4. Seal Cracks and Gaps: It is important to close up any potential entry points into the restaurant, such as cracks or gaps in walls and floors. This will help to keep pests out of the building.

5. Utilize Professional Exterminators: If you suspect a pest infestation in your restaurant, contact a professional exterminator as soon as possible to help get rid of any existing pests and prevent new ones from entering the premises.

How Do Restaurants Address The Health Of Food Handlers, Including Reporting Illnesses And Maintaining Personal Hygiene in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, restaurants must adhere to the Food Code of the Environmental Services Division of the Department of Health. This code outlines the practices a restaurant should put into place when addressing the health of food handlers. These include requiring food handlers to have a current New Mexico Food Handlers’ Card, reporting any illnesses to the local public health office within 24 hours, and maintaining personal hygiene at all times. Additionally, food handlers should be trained to practice good hygiene by keeping their hands clean and washing them whenever necessary, wearing protective clothing such as hair nets and aprons, and disposing of any soiled items properly. Lastly, restaurants should provide handwashing sinks with liquid soap, single-use towels or a hot air dryer for hand drying, and a covered trash receptacle for used paper towels.

What Are The Best Practices For Storing Perishable And Non-Perishable Foods In A Restaurant Setting in New Mexico?

1. Store perishable foods in a temperature-controlled environment. This includes refrigeration for items such as dairy, meat, and seafood, as well as frozen storage for items like ice cream.

2. Store non-perishable foods in a cool, dry area that is not exposed to direct sunlight and away from any cooking appliances.

3. Keep a log of all food items that enter and leave the kitchen. This will help you ensure that you always have fresh ingredients on-hand and that you are only using the oldest products first.

4. Label all food containers with the date that the ingredients were purchased or made, the expiration date, and any other relevant information.

5. Date-mark all perishable foods upon receipt to ensure proper rotation and quick disposal of items that have gone bad.

6. Regularly inspect food items for signs of spoilage or contamination and discard items that are not safe to eat.

7. Always follow proper sanitation procedures when storing, preparing, and serving food to prevent cross-contamination of bacteria or food-borne illnesses.

How Are “Use By” And “Sell By” Dates Determined For Food Products, And How Should Restaurants Interpret And Manage These Dates in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, the Department of Health is responsible for determining and enforcing the use by and sell by dates for food products. Generally, the use by date is based on the estimated shelf life of the product, based on temperature and other factors, while the sell by date is determined by the manufacturer and usually reflects when a product should be removed from store shelves.

Restaurants should abide by the use by dates on food products, but they can generally keep using products that have expired sell by dates as long as they are safe to consume. Restaurants should always check the condition of any food product before serving it to customers, regardless of the expiration date. Additionally, restaurants should follow all applicable local and state regulations related to food safety.

What Training And Certification Programs Are Available For Food Handlers, And How Do They Contribute To Food Safety In Restaurants in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, food handlers must complete a Food Handler’s Certification Program in order to legally work in a food establishment. This program is designed to educate food handlers on food safety and sanitation practices. The curriculum covers topics such as safe food preparation, storage, and handling; personal hygiene; cross-contamination prevention; cleaning and sanitizing; pest control; and food safety regulations.

Completion of the Food Handler’s Certification Program also provides the food handler with a valid Food Handler’s Card, which is necessary for the food handler to obtain employment in a restaurant or other food service establishment in the state of New Mexico. Additionally, restaurants must verify that each of their food handlers have obtained a valid Food Handler’s Card before they may legally handle food within their establishment.

The certification program and Food Handler’s Cards ultimately serve to protect restaurant customers from potential food-borne illnesses and other health risks associated with improper food handling. By ensuring that all food handlers have been adequately trained on food safety and sanitation practices, restaurants can provide customers with a safe and healthy dining experience.

How Does The Health Department Work Collaboratively With Restaurants To Ensure Compliance With Food Handling Regulations And Address Violations in New Mexico?

The New Mexico Department of Health works in partnership with food service establishments to ensure that all food handling regulations are followed. The Department provides technical assistance, consults on food safety regulations, and provides educational materials to the establishments. The Department also performs regular inspections of these establishments and can issue warnings or citations for any violations. If a violation is found, the establishment is required to take corrective action to address the violation and prevent future violations. The Department also has enforcement powers, including the ability to fine establishments that fail to comply with food safety regulations and can suspend or revoke permits if necessary.