It’s September, and we’re in the midst of National Food Safety Month. National Food Safety Month gives us the opportunity to look at some of the most important rules that keep our food safe. It also gives restaurateurs and food service supervisors the chance to pass on the knowledge they’ve learned during food safe training to their customers.
Temperature Control and Food Safety Training
Before we talk about ways to introduce food safe cooking practices to your guests, it’s important to quickly review proper temperature control procedures. All food must spend as little time in the danger zone as possible. This means all hot foods must remain over 140 degrees and all chilled foods must remain below 41 degrees. Raw proteins and reheated foods must be fully cooked before serving.
- Reheated cooked product: 165 degrees
- Raw poultry: 165 degrees
- Ground meats and pork: 155 degrees
- Eggs that will be held: 155 degrees
- Eggs for immediate service: 145 degrees
- Beef, fish and game: 145 degrees
When we talk to people who have never worked in the food industry, we find some interesting misconceptions about how temperature affects food safety. Many people know the common pathogens that cause food-borne illness due to media coverage of outbreaks, but they don’t consider how their cooking habits at home can have the same consequences on a smaller scale. While food business operators are not responsible for how their patrons handle food at home, Food Safety Month offers a way to share food safe training practices with their guests.
Including an insert in your menu that explains what Food Safety Month is about is an easy way to pass on food safe training practices. Educating your patrons on proper cooking temperatures for proteins can give them an at home guide to doing it themselves. The Minnesota Food Code provides fact sheets that can be easily adapted to produce a simple instruction guide to enlighten your guests on this key food safety issue.
We think it’s a great idea to pass on food safety tips to those not in the industry. Do you have any ways that you educate your guests?