Certified food protection managers equip themselves with the knowledge and tools to safely prepare food for their guests, but certain groups require additional precautions. The Department of Health has taken notice and added a section in the new MN food code guide to serving highly-susceptible groups, outlining the precautions that must be taken when serving these groups.
MN Food Code Guide to Serving Highly-Susceptible Groups
The language in the new code defines highly-susceptible groups as “…immunocompromised, pre-school aged children, or older adults.” If you’re a certified food manager at a hospital or other medical facility, care center for aging adults, pre-school or any facility that serves these groups, you should be aware of extra precautions you must take to prevent bacteria from reaching the people in your care.
The food code outlines a few precautions:
- Undercooked eggs animal proteins may not be served or offered for sale
- Raw eggs broken for preparation must be used immediately
- Bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods is prohibited
- Unpasteurized juices may not be served to children under the age of nine
- Food and food packages served to medical patients in isolation cannot be re-served or reused
If you prepare meals for any of these populations, make sure to cook all products to the proper temperatures, and always check the internal temperature of animal proteins using the proper thermometer. It is also important to be aware of any food in the danger zone. Prevent raw meat and eggs from sitting at room temperature for any length of time, and always make sure your meals are served as soon as possible after preparation. This will prevent bacteria growth that could result in severe foodborne illness for compromised individuals.
Finally, if you serve contagious or isolated medical patients, never re-use food that may have been exposed. Use an abundance of caution with all utensils and food packages that have been used in serving patients. You may wish to look into disposable utensils and serving ware for these individuals.
Bacteria that may have little or no effect on the general populace has the potential to be fatal among sensitive groups. As a certified food manager, what precautions do you take to keep the food you serve safe for these groups?