Hygienic Food Handling in Restaurants and Food Services

Welcome! As an employee of a restaurant, your work is very important as you are responsible for the preparation of foods that will be consumed by a large number of people. Every diner expects to find food in the soil of excellent quality but hygienic and that do not pose any risk to your health or that of your family. The foods you make can become contaminated with microbes or other substances if they are not made under strict health and hygiene guidelines. The objective of this workshop is to give you know these guidelines so you can:

  1. Recognize the main causes of contamination in food
  2. Identify food-borne diseases
  3. To know the hygienic measures in the elaboration and manipulation of the foods
  4. Distinguish best practices at each stage of the food processing process
  5. Recognize critical control points to minimize risks in the food processing process
  6. Conditions of establishment where food is prepared
  7. Normative aspects in the process of food preparation and service and conclusions

Why is hygienic food handling important?: The impact on consumer health and economics

Food-borne diseases are one of the most frequently encountered public health problems in the world population. Many of the diseases have their origin in the preparation of food at any stage of the food chain; from primary production to the consumer.

In addition to the impact on public health, food contamination has economic effects on establishments dedicated to its preparation and sale, since if there is an outbreak of disease in the population, these establishments lose reliability that can lead to closure. Fortunately, measures to avoid contamination of food are very simple and can be applied by anyone who handles food.

The purpose of this web page is to provide you with practical information on hygienic food handling, the problems that occur from food-borne diseases, poor personal hygiene, unclean food preparation stations and the keys to prevent contamination of food.

Message to Food Handlers: We all share the responsibility of cleanliness

Handling food is something that, regardless of the trade, we all do daily. Some believe that those who prepare food are only the chefs and cooks in hotels or restaurants, but the truth is that there are many other people who handle on a daily basis the food we eat have a hygienic quality that prevents us all from the danger of diseases, so that it is a shared responsibility.

Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal diseases affect people due to the lack of good hygiene while preparing food. Food-borne illness affects the most susceptible population, such as children, the elderly, pregnant women and the sick, and it is known that about two-thirds of the epidemics occur because of food consumption in restaurants, cafeterias, school canteens and in the same houses. If we manipulate food always under the proper hygienic standards, we will prevent our families, or our clients from getting sick. Food-borne illness, in addition to causing discomfort to those who suffer from it, can also have more serious short- or long-term consequences.

In addition to the ills that affect people’s health, food-borne illnesses also discredit the food businesses and those who work in the sector, which means a loss of confidence in the business and loss of work. Our contribution as food handlers is therefore key in a food establishment and our work is of paramount importance to take care of our health, that of our family, that of our community and that of the business in which we serve food.

Food chain: Within every link there is risk of contamination

The food chain starts in the field, or primary production, to the final consumer. Throughout the food chain products are subjected to different processing processes and risk situations that can contaminate food, therefore, it is throughout the chain where extreme care must be taken to ensure that food is not contaminated.

I. Main Causes of Food Contamination

Sources of Contaminant

  1. Biological Hazards

A contaminant is all matter that is incorporated into food with the ability to produce disease or harm to the user. There are three types of hazards that can contaminate food and pose a risk to public health. The first and most common are biological hazards and the main problem of microorganisms, which are defined as living, microscopic, found everywhere, including water, air and land. We can distinguish bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses and parasites, depending on their size, shape and way of life. In general, bacteria and viruses have a major impact on food safety. This type of contamination can reach the food through the human contact, by contact with contaminated food or with surfaces such as tables, containers, utensils or contaminated equipment. Contamination can also be blamed on pests that land on food such as flies, ants, cockroaches and rats.

  1. Physical Hazards

Physical dangers are associated with the presence of foreign objects in food. These hazards are potentially capable of producing injuries to those who consume a contaminated food. Some examples of physical hazards are: foreign matter such as stones, pieces of glass, wood or metal and also non-edible parts of foods such as pieces of bone or fruit seeds. Foreign matter can be detached from utensils or equipment, pieces of glass may come from broken lamps, pieces of wood usually come from packaging or pallets. Physical contaminants, especially those of metal or glass, are potentially capable of producing injury to a person who consumes a food.

  1. Chemical Hazards

Chemical hazards can occur throughout the food chain. For example: residues of chemicals used in pest control could contaminate the storage and processing stages of food when they have direct contact with toxic substances such as pesticides, fuels, lubricants, paints, detergents, disinfectants, among others. Contamination can also occur at food preparation sites and through work utensils. Some examples of chemical hazards are toxic substances that are naturally present in the food, such as biotoxins and mycotoxins; environmental or industrial contaminants such as heavy metals; residues of chemicals such as pesticides and cleaning chemicals such as chlorine and detergents; and toxic substances transmitted by the contact of food with the container or other materials.

Origin of Contamination

Microorganisms are everywhere; in the environment we find them:

• In the air, the earth, and the wind
• In contaminated utensils
• In contaminated food
• In water
• In the trash and leftover food

Also human and animals are sources of contamination, since the microorganisms are found:

• In the skin of animals and humans
• In infected wounds
• In the hair
• In dirty hands and nails
• In the saliva of humans and animals
• In stools or excrement

  1. Primary Contamination

Primary contamination occurs during the process of primary food production. For example: during harvesting, milking or fishing. A typical example is when the egg is contaminated by the feces of the hen.

2. Direct Contamination

With direct contamination, the contaminants reach the food through the person who handles them. This type of contamination is possibly the simplest and most common form of food contamination. A typical example is when we sneeze over food.

  1. Cross Contamination

Cross contamination is understood as the passage from a hazard present in a food to another that was innocuous, using as vehicle surfaces or utensils that have been in contact with both foods without proper cleaning and disinfection. The most frequent forms of cross-contamination occur when the manipulator allows the contact of a raw food with a cooked one ready to consume, through cutting boards or kitchen utensils.

Another example of this type of contamination occurs when grilling meat and using the same tray where the raw foods were cut.

Steps to Preventing Cross Contamination

Personal hygiene
Hand washing
Food handling
Separate and store properly
Cleaning and sanitizing
Clean and sanitize surfaces and utensils
Clean and sanitize cleaning rags

The most frequent causes of cross contamination are poor personal hygiene, poor food handling and inadequate cleaning and the lack of a sanitizing process.

To prevent cross contamination, one of the most important activities is hand washing. It is important to wash your hands several times on the shift and do it properly.

Wash hands before:

  • Putting on gloves
  • When changing activity
  • After handling raw food
  • After taking breaks and using the toilet
  • After touching anything other than a food

It is very important to properly handle food. One way of proper handling foods is to separate different types in different areas of the kitchen during storage, preparation, handling, display and service.

Finally, keeping the restaurant clean and sanitized is also very important to prevent cross contamination.

Factors that Encourage the Reproduction of Microorganisms

Bacteria, like all living beings, require certain conditions to live and reproduce so knowing what those conditions are and how we can act on them will allow us to prevent bacteria from reproducing. Microorganisms can only reproduce if we provide the necessary conditions for them to flourish. An example of this would be leaving potentially hazardous foods out for a long time at room temperature.

The first factor that favors a fast growth of the bacteria are the nutrients. Foods rich in proteins, such as milk, meat, creams, eggs are more prone to contamination and because of their high nutritional value also serve as food for microorganisms. Then there is the amount of water that the food contains, since this is indispensable for the life of the bacteria. Foods like milk, mayonnaise and creams have a high combination of water and nutrients, making them highly risky foods.

Potentially Hazardous Foods

Microorganisms develop easily, due to their high content of proteins, carbohydrates, moisture and low acidity, inside chicken, fish, fruit cocktails, beef, pork, milk, egg, cakes, pre-cooked foods, among others.

Foods in which the microorganisms will develop easily, due to their high content in proteins, carbohydrates, humidity and low acidity, include chicken, fish, fruit cocktails, beef, pork, milk, egg, cakes, precooked foods, ready-to-eat foods, among others.

Temperature Management

Another important factor is temperature. Bacteria can be classified into psychrophiles, thermophiles, and mesophiles depending on their optimal reproduction temperature. Mesophilic bacteria reach their highest reproduction at temperatures close to the human body, and therefore, we must follow certain guidelines to avoid their multiplication. In general terms, it is considered that under 5 ° C/41° F, growth and multiplication of bacteria are delayed; between 60 ° C/140° F and 70 ° C/158° F  bacterial reproduction is low or zero, and above 65 ° C/149° F (adequate cooking) ensures a safe and safe food. Potentially hazardous foods should be kept out of the “danger zone”.

Never leave food out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours. If the air temperature is above 32 ° C/89.6° F, the food should not be left out of refrigeration for more than 1 hour. Hot foods should be kept warm at or above 65 ° C/149° F. Place cooked foods in buffet trays, steamer, warming trays, or slow cooking pots. Cold foods should be kept cool, i.e. at a temperature less than or equal to 5 ° C/41° F.

Food should be placed in the refrigerator or in containers with ice.

Time and Temperature Control

Research shows that if bacteria grows in the “danger zone”, up to 4 hours, they are not enough to cause disease. So controlling the time you keep food in the danger zone is very important. There are many food retail and serving establishments in which foods are stopped along the way before they are consumed. This is called the food flow. Every step of the way is important, and we must all work together to keep food out of the danger zone as much as possible. From the moment food arrives until the time it is consumed, many people are involved in the preparation, cooking and transportation of food. All levels of employment must know the flow of food and how to keep food safe and safe. Time and temperature control during Arrival/Delivery, Storage, Preparation, Cooking, Retention, Refrigeration and Reheating is crucial.


The vast majority of bacteria need oxygen to survive, although some reproduce in environments without oxygen and are called anaerobic. Bacteria can grow more easily in some foods such as bulky pieces of meat. Bacteria, in ideal conditions, is able to double its number in just 20 minutes.

II. Food-borne Diseases (ETAs): ETAS = Diseases Transmitted by Food

Food-borne Diseases (ETA stands as it is recognized in various areas related to food) are those that are caused by ingestion of infected food contaminants in sufficient amounts to affect consumer health. Diseases within food can cause illness occurring from pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites or chemicals, which are found inside.

Food-borne diseases are those infectious or toxic diseases caused by agents (biological, chemical or physical) that penetrate the body using a food as a vehicle. The most common causes are poisoning and infections. The effects of FBD (Food-borne Diseases) can be serious and sometimes fatal. When we talk about infections, it is when consuming a food contaminated with germs that cause disease, such as bacteria, larvae or eggs of some parasites. It may be the case of bacteria such as Salmonella present in eggs, meats, chickens, dairy, raw vegetables and cut or peeled fruits. On the other hand, an intoxication refers to when food contaminated with chemicals, toxins produced by some germs, or with toxins that may be present in the food are consumed and generally the consequences are more serious.

Every year in the United States:
48 million people get sick
128,000 are hospitalized
3,000 die

The CDC (Center of Disease Control) estimates 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from food-borne illness each year in the United States. In 2016, FoodNet received reports of 24, 029 ETAs, 5,512 hospitalizations and 98 deaths from confirmed infections. The incidence of infections was higher for Campylobacter and Salmonella, which is consistent with previous years. The number of diagnosed Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio and Yersinia infections increased by 114% in 2016 compared to the average of 2013- 2015.

Pathogenic microorganisms

The bacteria that commonly cause diseases have very long and strange names, but it is not difficult to understand how they affect us. The pathogenic microbes that are the cause of disease, reach people when they eat contaminated food or produce substances called toxins. Symptoms of the disease may vary, but nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and, in some cases, fever may occur. If the symptoms are strong and the affected person is very susceptible, he may even die. Bacteria that cause disease are naturally present in the environment. The 6 most common pathogenic bacteria are: Clostridium Botulinum, Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia Coli, Listeria Monocytogenes, Salmonella and Staphylococcus Aureus. Each of these ETAs have particular signs and symptoms and may vary in the severity of the situation, depending on the food consumed, the amounts and particularities of the person who consumed it.

Transmission Ways

The route of transmission for the fecal-oral epidemiological cycle is one of the most common ways of transmitting the pathogen to food. The short oral fecal cycle occurs when a person with ETA, or healthy carrier, does not wash their hands after going to the bathroom and then manipulates foods that are consumed by others who subsequently become ill. The long oral fecal cycle occurs when fecal matter reaches streams of water used for irrigation of vegetables or fruits and when washing and disinfection is not done, the ingestion of pathogenic bacteria occurs. We ourselves are the main vehicle of contamination of food through hands, hair, saliva, sweat, dirty clothes, coughing or sneezing; food is contaminated, which is why it is very important to follow the hygiene standards required.


Other routes of transmission include microbes that live and are transported by animals such as cockroaches, flies, rats or mice, ants; these are known as pests. These animals live and reproduce in the most polluted places such as drainage, garbage and land; that is why many microbes stick on their bodies. If they are in the kitchen, these animals carry millions of microbes that are going to deposit in the work surfaces, equipment and foods wherever they go and put at risk health. The pests pollute everything they touch as their saliva, legs, excrement and their own parasites contain millions of bacteria that cause disease. That is why it is important to avoid pests by constant cleaning, and not leaving leftover food in the areas of storage and preparation. It is much easier to prevent entry and development of pest, than to try to eliminate it once it has been established.

Another means of transport used by microbes to enter our kitchen are raw foods, since these are contaminated by origin due to their handling, and as we cannot see them with the naked eye, we often use and manipulate raw foods without the necessary care. For example, beef, chicken, pork and other products of animal origin, go through many processes before they reach us, and in that way, they are contaminated with bacteria of the animal, the equipment and the personnel that and as a result of contact with other sources of contamination such as excreta from the same animal, blood and other contaminated animals. The microbes present in the raw materials will multiply during transport if the temperature at which food is handled is not adequate, so it is necessary that raw foods do not contaminate those already prepared, either by direct contact, or through hands or equipment.

Earth and Air

An important means of contamination for food is contaminated water. Water is contaminated with human waste, trash, etc., which are thrown into rivers, seas and lakes. Therefore, this contaminated water carries millions of microbes that we can ingest directly if not given an appropriate treatment to make it drinkable, becoming a very important vehicle of contamination for food. In addition, fish, seafood and other products marine organisms are contaminated with the water in which they live, being able to cause us diseases if we consume them raw. Many fruits and vegetables are watered with black water, even when it is prohibited.

Finally, a large amount and variety of microbes are found on the earth, which also contaminate the air, plants, animals and water. Some of these microbes can cause us serious illnesses. The land and its contaminants can reach the establishment to the areas of preparation, storage and service in the same foods, packaging, employees and air. This is why it is important to keep food covered, close windows and doors, have good hygiene habits and check the food upon arrival.

III. Hygienic measures in food processing and handling: If you are sick or injured … Stay away from food!

As we have seen, the main cause of food contamination is ourselves, specifically the lack of hygiene in the handling of food, that is why the people in charge of this work play an important role in preventing pollution. A responsible attitude when handling food is definitive for the health of the population. If we want to prepare and eat safe food, we must put some
basic rules of personal hygiene.

The first is that if you are sick you should stay away from food. If you have the flu, colds or coughs, you should not be in contact with food as it is unavoidable sneezing, or coughing, and if you are preparing food, you are likely to do it on them and contaminate them. If you have diarrhea, you know that you will go several bath and every time you go, are you going to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water? When we have skin infections, that area has millions of microbes that by means of our hands they pass to everything that we touch, contaminating it. In all these cases it is better to inform your supervisor and that day, work in another area of the establishment where you do not prepare or serve food. As part of the health controls of the manipulator, the authorities sometimes require the practice of medical or laboratory tests, but being properly trained for hygienic manipulation is the most important requirement to perform this task. Even if you are healthy, not coughing, or sneezing on food, because in our throat and mouth there are microbes such as Staphylococcus aureus, which live there, even though we do not have symptoms of the disease. Cover your mouth thoroughly with your forearm or disposable paper, and wash your hands before resuming your labors.

Wash Your hands! It is All-Important!

Personal hygiene: Before handling food, wash your hands thoroughly with warm drinking water and soap. The same procedure must be performed after performing some type of activity where the hands may have been contaminated. Believe it or not, there is an appropriate way to wash your hands since it is not just putting them under water for a few seconds. For effective handwashing to prevent disease, it must be done properly.

There are several things to remember about handwashing:

Food handlers should wash their hands in a special designated place or in an automatic sink and can not clean their hands in a sink that is used for the preparation of food or utensils; either in a utility basin or a designated tank for disposal of dirty water and similar liquid wastes. This includes the three-compartment slicer, the trash bar in the bar area, and the vegetable preparation slicer.

The water should be between warm and hot, but not too hot. You should be able to keep your hands under running water for at least 20 seconds.

Proper disinfectant soap and a sanitary drying medium should be used. You should not use rags, towels, aprons or any other cloth to dry your hands, even if you think they are clean. Use single-use paper towels or hot-air dryers.
Remember, not only are you protecting your customers, proper hand washing helps you stay healthy and prevent need to miss work because they are sick. Handwashing is the most important thing!

Correct Handwashing Technique

Follow these 11 steps of handwashing technique, which should last between 40 and 60 seconds:
1. Wet hands with water.
2. Place a sufficient amount of soap in the palm of the hand to cover the surface of the hands.
3. Rub the palms of your hands together.
4. Rub the palm of the right hand against the back of the left hand, interlacing the fingers and vice versa.
5. Rub the palms of your hands together with your fingers intertwined.
6. Rub the back of the fingers of one hand with the palm of the opposite hand, grasping the fingers.
7. Rub the left thumb in a rotating motion, trapping it with the right palm and vice versa.
8. Rub the tip of the fingers of the right hand against the left hand, making a rotation movement and vice versa.
9. Rinse hands with water.
10. Dry your hands with a disposable towel.
11. Use the towel to turn off the tap.

Wash your hands:

Before starting your work.
After going to the bathroom.
When preparing food.
When switching from raw food handling to ready-to-eat foods.
If you touched any cuts or cuts.
If you touched any part of the body: mouth, nose, hair.
After cleaning the tables and removing dirty dishes.
Before changing gloves.
When you touched any object that could contaminate your hands, such as handling chemicals or taking out the trash.

Wash your hands before starting work. Remember that the hands are in contact with multiple things filled with microbes, such as keys,doors, money, shoes, hair, etc.

Wash your hands after going to the bathroom even if you just go to the bathroom to talk or change clothes because it is a place where there is a lot of hidden dangers.

Wash your hands if you touch objects that are normally handled by many people, or something dirty like trash cans, boxes, rags, etc. so we can prevent cross contamination when we switch tasks.

Hygienic Measures to Prevent Food Contamination

Other hygiene measures include:

Keep nails clean, short and without varnish or enamel.
Showering before going to work with plenty of soap and water should be part of the routine of the food handler. Bathe every day before work begins. If there are no showers where you work, then bathe in your house.
If you have a beard or mustache, take it and do not pass from the corner of your lips.
The hair should be washed and collected with a hat or handkerchief.
Wash your teeth after every meal, to avoid infections in the mouth.

Clothing and Uniform

Clothing can be a source of food contamination as it contains microbes and soil that come from our daily activities. The appropriate clothing for the food handler includes:
1. A cap or cap that completely covers the hair.
2. Coat, apron or light colored sweater, without buttons or bags and used only in the work area.
3. Cover mouths, covering nose and mouth.
4. Gloves.
6. Special footwear, which is used only in the work area.

Wear a freshly laundred uniform perfectly clean and the apron and cap should be simple, light colored and do not require continual accommodation.  Turbans or caps should be light-colored. It is advisable to have a clean uniform in your locker for any unforeseen accident. Do not use the apron as a rag to clean, or to dry your hands on it.

You should never wear jewelry, make-up or false nails.

You should not wear jewelry like earrings, rings, bracelets, slaves or watches, since there are millions of microbes that will contaminate the foods you are preparing; either because they get dirty, or even because they fall into them. Also, if they get stuck or fall on the computer, they can break it down, or worse, cause a harmful accident.

It is also forbidden to use makeup, eyelashes and false nails for the same reason.

Also, do not smoke, eat, drink or chew gum while you are working since food can be splashed with saliva drops, chewing gum or food.

Use of gloves

To minimize hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, it is important to wear disposable gloves. Gloves are not a substitute for hand washing, as they should be washed before putting on gloves and after changing gloves. Why? Gloves are food contact surfaces. They must be kept clean and changed every four hours of continuous work.

Individual gloves should only be used for a task, such as working with ready-to-eat foods or raw animal foods. They should not be used for other purposes and should be discarded when they are dirty or broken or when interruptions occur in the operation.

If an employee has injuries or sores, they should be covered properly and then put on the glove to protect the food.

Rest, Dressing and Dining Areas

The spaces for employees to rest, dress and feed themselves or recreate themselves are also a fundamental part of the hygienic handling of food and therefore, they are subject to cleaning processes. These spaces include: rest areas, dressing rooms, restrooms and dining rooms. It is recommended that the lockers be installed slightly elevated from the floor to be able to clean underneath them. Employees must know the rules of use, which include not storing perishable products, chemicals, dirty clothes, etc .; as well as periodic review of lockers. Canteens, dressing rooms, and toilets should always be clean and organized and separated from cooking and food preparation areas.

IV. Best Practices in the Process of Food Processing

  1. Reception
  2. Storage
  3. Preparation
  4. Service

For the strongest possible food safety, it is essential to apply the best practices throughout the food processing process. The steps are: Reception, Storage, Preparation, which entails several additional steps and Service.


Proper inspection.
Plan the receipt of the products.
Check the characteristics that correspond to each type of product.
Check the arrival temperature of the food.
Immediately store food in appropriate places.
Avoid overloading the freezers.
Raw foods should be placed in the lower parts.
Consider the recommendations of the equipment manufacturers.
Avoid storing large quantities of hot food in large containers.
All stored food must be properly covered.

When receiving and handling food, the following points should be taken into account:

1. Deliveries must be made in a timely fashion, allowing for adequate inspection.
2. Plan for the receipt of the products, ensuring there is a proper place available to store them.
3. Check odor, color, flavor, aroma and texture that correspond to each type of product.
4. Check the arrival temperature of the food according to the guidelines for preservation in freezing, refrigeration or hot.
5. Immediately store the food in the appropriate places and in the temperature conditions indicated for each one.
6. Avoid overloading the freezers because this reduces the cold circulation and makes cleaning the equipment difficult.
7. Raw foods should be placed in the lower parts and those that are ready to eat or that do not require cooking at the top, to avoid cross contamination. (This is based on the fact that raw foods can release juices that can contaminate cooked foods).
8. Consideration should be given to the recommendations of the manufacturers of the equipment used, about the places where food should be accommodated.
9. Avoid storing large amounts of hot food in large containers because this causes the refrigerator temperature to rise to the point of placing other foods inside the danger zone.
10. All stored food must be properly covered.

Receiving and Handling of Raw Materials

Foods that are received or used in restaurants must come from the list of approved providers.
The gaskets should be visibly clean and free of damage to protect food from contamination.
Make sure foods are received at a safe temperature.

Foods that are received or used in restaurants must come from the list of approved suppliers.
The gaskets should be visibly clean and free of damage to protect food from contamination.
They should be received at a safe temperature.

Storage of Raw Materials

Place cool, dry, ventilated, clean.
Separate floors of walls, ceiling and floor by a minimum of 15 centimeters.
Shelves should always be used to store raw materials.

These measures will help prevent pests in this area

The storage of food depends on the type of product to be stored. The place of storage, for products that do not require refrigeration or freezing, must be:

Fresh, dry, well ventilated, clean, separate shelves of walls, ceiling and floor by a minimum of 15 centimeters. Humidity and heat are the greatest hazards for these foods. The storage temperature should be maintained between 10-20 ° C/50-68 ° F.
Shelves or pallets should always be used to store raw materials.
It should not be exposed to splashes, dust or other contamination.
It must be free of pests and insects.

Food properly packaged.
Avoid cross contamination.
Handling of products in bulk.
Well labeled.

When storing raw materials, either in the dry area or in the refrigerator or freezer, it is very important that they are well packed. Packaging should be adequate and in good condition to protect the integrity of its contents.

Contaminants, such as microorganisms, dust, foreign matter and chemicals, may be introduced through other products or equipment stored near food, or by persons who deliver, store or open packages or wrappings.

In all storage areas, food must be covered or wrapped, either in its original cartons or in other approved containers. All gaskets must be intact, undamaged and kept clean. Be sure not to cut or damage the food containers that are received together in a box or to break the wrapper when opening the carton. Hermetically sealed containers that have visible dirt should be cleaned before opening.

Bulk products, such as sugar and flour, can be emptied into covered, approved containers to prevent contamination from the outside. However, such containers must have a design that allows easy cleaning between uses.

All foods, especially the most risky, must be well labeled and dated to ensure they are safe and safe and ensure their quality.

Rotation of Raw Materials

Record date of receipt and/or preparation

The correct rotation of the raw materials is to apply the principle “The First That Goes First”, which can be done by recording the date each product the date the food was received or prepared. Staff will then store the products with the closest due date at the top or front. This allows good rotation of the products, but also helps in keeping track of

when to discard products with expired dates.

Labeling of Raw Materials

Product name
Date of receipt
Date of elaboration
Nutrition and allergen information

The labeling of food is a critical point in hygienic food handling. At the time of receipt and prior to storage, the raw materials must be labeled. The information contained on the label will help to respect the procedure of “First Tickets and First Departures”.

Food Preparation

Disinfection of fruits and vegetables
Raw food
Defrosting food
Cooking food
Pre-prepared food handling
Cooling and Reheating
Ready-to-serve foods

As part of food processing, followed by receipt and storage, it is the turn to what is properly the preparation and the
service, where we will talk about the following points:

Disinfection of fruits and vegetables
Raw food
Defrosting food
Cooking food
Pre-prepared food handling: Cooling and Reheating
Ready-to-serve foods

Disinfection of Fruits and Vegetables

Wash them with clean water and detergent.
Use a brush or scrub brush.
Rinse thoroughly with water after washing.
Apply the disinfectant as specified.
Mark the complete procedure with clear instructions on the scoreboard.
The preparation of food sauces must comply with the washing and disinfection of each of the ingredients.

As already mentioned, for different reasons, this type of food usually comes with a lot of microbes, so it is very important to carefully follow the following steps to ensure that you are preparing safe foods:

Wash them with drinking water and detergent, one by one or in small bundles. Use a brush or scouring pad to help remove soil and dirt.

Rinse the water well after washing, to remove any remaining detergent or dirt, so that the disinfectant can act correctly.

Apply the disinfectant as specified on the label (especially regarding amount and time of action).

We suggest you ask your supervisor to mark in containers or on the scoreboard for this purpose, the amount of water to use; as well as the one that puts a sign that reminds you the whole procedure with clear instructions.

Do not forget that for the preparation of food sauces you must comply with the washing and disinfection of each of the ingredients that require it.

Raw Foods

Foods such as meat, poultry, fish and seafood can be contaminated with different types of microorganisms.

Raw egg may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

If for any reason you must offer any of these products to your customers, you must specify in the menu that said dish is served under consumer consideration and the risk involved.

Because of the contamination within our waters, foods such as meat, poultry, fish and shellfish can be contaminated with different types of microorganisms that produce diseases such as cholera, salmonellosis, typhoid, hepatitis and others, so it is very risky to consume them raw. Also, the raw egg may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, so you should not use it raw in the preparation of dressings, salads and mayonnaise. If you do not want to use commercial preparations, you can use pasteurized egg. If for any reason you must offer any of these products to your customers, you must specify in the menu that said dish is served under consumer consideration and the risk involved.

Food Defrosting

Switch from freezing to refrigeration.

The other accepted method is going directly from freezing to the cooking process (oven, stove or grill).

Never defrost at room temperature and less in non-potable water.

In exceptional cases, you will be able to thaw the water stream, as long as the water is potable with a temperature below 21 ° C/69.8 ° F and does not become watertight.

Under no circumstances should you refreeze the portions of food you thawed, as this affects the microbiological and physicochemical quality of food.

Safe methods for thawing foods are:

When switching from freezing to refrigeration, you should plan in advance the amount you are going to use: freeze them from the freezer to the refrigerator for as long as necessary, thus avoiding exposure to the Temperature Hazard Zone.

The other accepted method is going directly from freezing to the cooking process (oven, stove or grill); this applies to products such as precooked frozen vegetables, meats, hamburgers and foods that allow it, without affecting its texture or quality.

Never defrost at room temperature or in non-potable water, as it favors the development of the microorganisms present.
In exceptional cases, i.e. emergencies, you can defrost the water jet, ensuring the following: that the water is drinkable with a temperature below 21 ° C/69.8  ° F and does not leak.

Under no circumstances should you refreeze the portions of food you thawed, as this affects the microbiological and physicochemical quality of food.

Food Cooking

Poultry and stuffed meats: in the thickest part must reach a minimum temperature of 74 ° C/165.2 ° F, for at least 15 seconds.

Fish and all other foods should be cooked at least 63 ° C/145.4 °F for at least 15 seconds.

Pork and ground beef, cook until they reach more than 69 ° C/156 ° F for at least 15 seconds.

Cooked foods should be constantly monitored to ensure they reach the right temperatures.

This stage is very important in the preparation of food. The following are the minimum temperatures and times to cook the different types of products:

Poultry and stuffed meats: in the thickest part must reach a minimum temperature of 74 ° C/165.2 ° F, for at least 15 seconds.

Fish and all other foods should be cooked at least 63 ° C/145.4 ° F for at least 15 seconds.

Pork and ground beef, cook until they reach more than 69 ° C/156 ° F for at least 15 seconds.

Be sure to check these temperatures on the thickest or solidest part of the food.

Cooked foods should be constantly monitored to ensure they reach the right temperatures.

Food & Beverage Outlets


Portion them so as to reduce the volume.

Insert these containers into ice and water baths.

When the food reaches 20ºC/68 ° F, you must refrigerate it without forgetting to cover the container.

Make sure they reach 4 ° C/39.2 ° F in the refrigerator.

Never cool to room temperature.

This process should not last more than four hours.

All refrigerators and freezers must be equipped with an internal thermometer as well as an external monitoring device to facilitate and make more efficient the monitoring of temperatures.

Hot foods that you prepare and that you will not consume or use immediately should be chilled under the following procedure:

Portion them to reduce the volume and place them in shallow containers or of smaller capacity.

Insert these containers into ice and water baths, ensuring that this mixture covers at least two-thirds of the container; stirs the contents frequently, measuring the temperature from time to time.

When the food reaches 20ºC/68 ° F, you must refrigerate it without forgetting to cover the container.

Make sure they reach 4 ° C/39.2 ° F in the refrigerator.

Never cool to room temperature.

This process should not last more than four hours.

All refrigerators and freezers must be equipped with an internal thermometer as well as an external monitoring device to facilitate and make more efficient the monitoring of temperatures.


Remove it from the refrigerator.
Reheat immediately: 74 ° C/165.2 ° F for at least 15 seconds.
The reheated food should be served maximum in two hours.
Separate the food into smaller portions, to comply with this time.
Never pass food directly from the refrigerator to the hot table or water bath.


When you are going to use some prepared food that you have under refrigeration, you must follow the following rules:
Remove it from the refrigerator.
Immediately reheat it quickly to at least 74 ° C/165.2 ° F, for at least 15 seconds, whether in an oven, stove or iron.
The reheated food should be served maximum in two hours.
In some cases you will need to separate the food into smaller portions to meet this time.
Never pass food directly from the refrigerator to the hot table or water bath; these equipment are only used to keep food warm, not to warm them.

Food Ready to Serve

Keep warm foods at temperatures above 60ºC/140 ° F.
Keep the containers covered, and often mix the contents to standardize the temperature of the food.
Cold foods should be kept to a maximum of 7ºC/ 44.6 ° F.
Sauces, dressings, creams and the like that are served in portions, must comply with the instructions of the manufacturer for its conservation and once used you must discard them.
During preparation, food must pass through the Temperature Hazard Zone as quickly as possible and as few times as possible.

Hot foods that are ready to be served either in the buffet or in the kitchen, such as soups, consommés, meats, etc., should be kept at over 60ºC/140 °F. To achieve this you must verify that the water bath is properly installed or that the Chaffers have sufficient amount of hot water and alcohol, and they stay on. It is also important that you try to keep the containers covered, and often mix the contents to standardize the temperature of the food. Now, cold foods that are ready to serve as fruits, dairy, dressings, cold meats, sauces, etc., should be kept at maximum 7ºC/44.6 °F. The above is achieved if the container in which you have your food, is well mounted in a bath of ice and water, or frappe ice. Sauces, dressings, creams, jams, butter, vegetable pastes and the like that are served in portions, must comply with the manufacturer’s instructions for its preservation and once used you must discard them. During preparation, food must pass through the Temperature Hazard Zone as quickly as possible and as few times as possible.


Your hands should not touch the surfaces that will contact the food or the mouth of the commensal.

Handle cutlery, glasses and plates in such a way that your fingers do not take the parts that will be in contact with the food or the mouth of the diner.

Prepared foods that are displayed for sale, you must keep them at the temperatures indicated above.

When serving ice you must use ladles or tongs properly washed and disinfected, never directly with your hands or glasses.

The ice you use to cool food should never be used for human consumption.

Once you have prepared the food, it is time to serve them to the diners. While serving, remember these Good Service Practices:

Your hands should not touch the surfaces that will have contact with the food or with the mouth of the commensal.

You must manipulate the cutlery in such a way that your fingers do not take the parts that will be in contact with the food, but by the handles.

Nor should you place your fingers on parts of glasses, cups, plates, chopsticks, straws, etc., that will be in contact with the food or the mouth of the diner.

Prepared foods that are displayed for sale must be kept at the temperatures indicated in Food Ready to Serve, keeping them covered, and ensuring that the surplus you did not sell on that day is discarded.

To serve the ice you must use ladles or tongs properly washed and disinfected, never directly with your hands or glasses.

The ice you use to cool food, should never be used for human consumption.

V. Critical Points of Food Contamination

Critical points are those stages of the procedure, places or operations in which food is most likely to become contaminated or altered. If we control these critical points we can reduce foodborne illness (FBD). In each of the establishments, these points can be varied, here are the most common ones:

Correct washing of hands and utensils as preparation prior to handling food (never work with rusty utensils).

Wash and disinfect the food we are going to use.

Wash hands before peeling or cutting food.

Work with clean and disinfected surfaces.

Separate raw foods from cooked foods; this also means making use of different utensils for this type of food such as knives and cutting boards.

In general, when mixing food, we should not do it with hands but use spatulas or tongs. If we are going to use the hands, for example to knead, the hands must be perfectly clean.

In the final preparation of the food, the handling of temperature and time is critical.

Store foods refrigerated at less than 4 ° C/39.2 °F.

Heat the minimum amount of food to 60 ° C/140 °F to eliminate microbes.

Calculate fair amounts that will be used in a short period of time, avoiding overheating and contaminating food.

Consider how long a food is going to be at risk of microbial multiplication risk, should never be greater than 4 hours.

Serve food with clean utensils, hygienic habits visible to consumers and a correct presentation.

Use adequate concentrations of disinfectants for sanitizing and sanitizing utensils and surfaces.

Properly label foods to your receipt and before storing them.

Foods suitable for consumption

Management of good hygiene practices at all stages of the food chain.
Suitable organoleptic characteristics (taste, smell, texture, color).
Absence of pathogenic microorganisms or their toxins.
Free of chemical substances that are foreign to their natural composition or that are not expressly permitted.

A food considered fit for consumption, must meet the following requirements:
Management of good hygiene practices at all stages of the food chain.
Suitable organoleptic characteristics (taste, smell, texture, color).
Absence of pathogenic microorganisms or their toxins.
Free of chemical substances that are foreign to their natural composition or that are not expressly permitted.

VI. Establishment Conditions Where Food is Prepared

Location of the place of preparation and environment.
Design and hygiene of the facilities.
Construction materials.
Lighting and ventilation.
Cleaning and disinfection.

In the establishment where food is prepared, all necessary measures must be taken to reduce the likelihood of contamination in food. These practices are known as good manufacturing practices and must be recognized by the food handler.
Location of preparation location and environment: Away from garbage dumps, sewage streams, toxic production sites and other sources of pollution.

Design and hygiene of the facilities: It is desirable that there be physical separation between the areas where raw materials are handled and the food preparation areas, also, between hot and cold cooking, among other examples. If it is not possible that the separation is physical, at least it must be functional. For example: working at different times raw raw materials and ready-to-eat foods. On the other hand, it is important to have records of cleaning of all areas of kitchen and also of rest and recreation of employees. These reports must be signed and verified with the person responsible for each shift to see that the cleaning tasks are being carried out in all areas.

Materials of construction: All materials used in floors, walls and ceilings where food is prepared must be smooth and impermeable, accessible for easy cleaning and disinfection. No cracks, cracks or designs that allow buildup of dirt or bacteria.
Lighting and ventilation: Lamps with protection to prevent that in case of breakage, pieces of glass fall to the food. Good ventilation is key to controlling: 1. The internal temperature, 2. Dust, 3. Smoke, and 4. Excessive vapor. Doors and windows help with ventilation and should be made of smooth materials, easy to clean, and in addition, windows must have mosquito nets to prevent the entry of dust, insects and other pests.

Cleaning and Disinfection: This work is key in the hygienic handling of food. Daily cleaning and disinfection of:
Process areas (walls, floors, ceilings).
Food contact surfaces (tables, containers, utensils).
These procedures should be carried out at the end of the preparation tasks, prior to their initiation, and in some cases during the process. The photographs show ideal conditions of the establishment

Storage of Chemicals

Cleaning and sanitizing chemicals.
Separated from food area.
Maintained in good condition and entry control.
Chemicals labeled.
Do not use food chemical containers and vice versa.
MSDS safety data sheets.

This area should be used for the storage of chemicals used for cleaning and disinfection of equipment and work utensils, as well as for storing hygiene items in the establishment. Therefore, this sector should be separated from the food storage area, and will have to be kept in good clean, tidy conditions, with labeled products, and in some cases kept in locked places.
Empty food containers should never be used to store chemicals, nor should food be stored in empty containers of chemicals. A confusion in this regard can easily lead to severe intoxication.

All chemicals used in a food sales and service facility must have a Material Safety Data Sheet called MSDS. These sheets contain information about the properties of chemicals and are an important component of workplace safety, as it provides emergency personnel and food handlers with procedures for using the chemical safely.

Pest Control

Good structural conditions.
Constant cleaning and disinfection.
Keep the order.
Correct storage of food.
Remove debris.
Avoid ingesting pests.
Prevent them from eating waste.
Prevent nesting.

To avoid the proliferation of pests the following points should be followed:

1. Ensure that the structural conditions of the facilities (buildings, furniture, windows) are in optimal conditions.
2. Constantly carry out cleaning and disinfection of the workplace.
3. Store food properly.
4. Dispose of waste correctly in the workplace.
5. Prevent possible pests from entering the workplace, avoid leaving open doors and windows, using mosquito nets, and drainage grids.
6. Prevent animals from feeding on garbage and leftover food.
7. Prevent pests from nesting in the workplace. To do this, you must maintain order and cleanliness at all times, including in places that are not seen, such as behind and below the freezers.

Pest control

Free from insects, rodents and other pests with control measures:
Devices (Traps)
Eliminate shelter conditions
Keep facilities clean and repair damage.

Food establishment should be kept free of insects, rodents and other pests. Any time an insect, rodent and other pests are observed, they must be controlled to eliminate their presence.

To maintain a pest-free environment, there should be routine inspections of incoming food and facility shipments, both inside and out. When pests are observed, control methods, such as traps and other means of pest control, should be implemented. All shelter conditions must be eliminated.

It is important to clean up any spills as soon as possible as they attract pests. Drains should also be kept clean and damage should be reported as holes in the walls so they can be repaired. This will prevent pests from nesting in these areas.

VII. Normative Aspects

Remember: in our hands is the health of all.

Good habits for hygienic food handling should be applied primarily as a responsible attitude and as the safest means of preventing us, our families or our clients from becoming ill. However, authorities everywhere have sanitary regulations that make it compulsory to observe standards related to the hygienic management of food: in the case of establishments that produce, process or distribute food, these standards refer to the fulfillment of what is known as the Good Manufacturing Practices, which should be understood as preventive measures of simple and habitual application. In the case of manipulators, these standards establish requirements to exercise the role of food handler, among others, the need to conduct a training course in hygienic food handling.

Assimilating and putting into practice knowledge for the prevention of diseases caused by poor food handling at all stages of processing, will help you not only prevent these diseases but also avoid food waste by alteration or putrefaction. Being able to hygienically handle food, will be an indispensable requirement to exercise your trade.

People who in some way manipulate food, influence the health of the community. It is largely their responsibility that the food they prepare and serve is in optimal condition for their consumption. It is necessary to take hygienic measures at every step of the operation, in the choice of the place where the food is bought, in the reception, in the adequate storage, during the preparation and then in the distribution and delivery to the final consumers.

Information Sources

Food equipment repair and maintenance manual. Ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. Glen. 1987.
KINTON Ronald, CESERANI Victor and FOSKETT David. Catering Theory. Ed. Acribia. Zaragoza, Spain. nineteen ninety five
MCGREGOR Duglas. Command and motivation. Ed. Diana. Mexico. 1977.
PINKHAM Ellen. A thousand and one practical tips in the kitchen. Ed. Lasser Press. USES. 1981.
QA International. Complete food guide. Ed. Könemann. Glen. 1999.
SERVSAFE. Foodservice sanitation applied. 4a. Ed. Ed. John Wiley & Sons. Inc. USA. 1992.
TEUBER Christian, GRAFIN Sybil and FREY Werner. The great cuisine of the meat. Ed Everest. Spain. 2002.
MEXICAN SOCIETY OF STANDARDIZATION AND CERTIFICATION. NMX-F-605-NORMEX-2004. Food-Managementhygienic in the food service prepared to obtain the Distinctive H. Mexico. 2004.

HEALTH SECRETARY. NOM-093- SSA1-1994, Goods and Services. Practices of hygiene and health in the preparation of foods that are offered in fixed establishments. Mexico. 1994
HEALTH SECRETARY. MODIFICATION to Mexican Official Standard NOM-127- SSA1-1994, Environmental Health. Water for human use and consumption. Permissible limits of quality and treatments to which the water must be submitted for its purification. Mexico. 2002
HEALTH SECRETARY. NOM-201- SSA1-2002, Products and services. Water and ice for human consumption, packaged and in bulk. Sanitary specifications. Mexico. 2002
MEXICAN SOCIETY OF STANDARDIZATION AND CERTIFICATION. NMX-F-610-NORMEX-2002, Food-Technical provisions for the provision of services in the field of disinfection and pest control. Mexico, 2002.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Bad bug book, foodborne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. 2. ed. New Hampshire; 2012.
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Training manual for food handlers.
IMAGES: https://www.megapixl.com

Causes of Food-borne Illnesses

DEFICIENT PERSONAL HYGIENE: Man is the main source of contamination of food, so it is very important that you observe good personal hygiene habits, including: daily bath, hand washing, clean uniform, hair completely covered with network or cofia, among others. Remember that these measures help to prevent food-borne illness.

CROSS-CONTAMINATION: Originating from the transmission of microbes from raw to cooked foods or requiring no further cooking, through of hands, rags, equipment, utensils or work surfaces. Avoid this contamination by cleaning, disinfecting equipment and utensils, as well as hand washing.

INAPPROPRIATE FOOD HANDLING: Caused by not using contaminated utensils during food preparation and serving. This is why you should avoid direct contact of your hands with food.

INACCURATE CONSERVATION TEMPERATURES: In the Temperature Hazard Zone (4 ° C to 60 ° C), the development of microbes is favored. Keep food cold at 4ºC or less and hot at 60ºC or more.

RECEIVE PROVISIONS OF CONTAMINATED FOODS. It originates when food is not properly received, or they are not handled correctly; which may favor foodborne illness. Check that foods reach the correct temperatures, as well as their appearance and organoleptic characteristics (smell, color and texture); also checks the integrity of the containers and expiration date.

PERSONNEL WITH DISEASES OR INFECTIONS. If you are sick with diarrhea, cough or flu, you can transmit millions of microbes to food and to the people who consume them. It is important that you notify your supervisor of any discomfort and avoid handling food.

DIRTY EQUIPMENT AND UTENSILS. It is present due to deficiencies in the washing and disinfection of the equipment and utensils, favoring pockets of contamination. Perform a proper washing and disinfection of equipment and utensils that have contact with food.

PESTS. Flies, cockroaches and rodents are carriers of millions of microbes that contaminate food. Avoid their presence in the establishment as well as any source of food or shelter for them. Hire professional pest control assistance.

CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION. Foods can be contaminated by chemicals, detergents, anti-fungals, degreasers and disinfectants. So you must store these products separated from the food, keeping them in their original containers, well covered and correctly identified.

INACCURATE COOKING OR REHABILITATION. Remember that to prepare food in a safe way you must cook poultry, stuffed meats and egg dishes at least 74ºC for at least 15 seconds, pork and ground beef to at least 69ºC for 15 seconds and fish and the remaining food at 63 ° C for at least 15 seconds. Also do not forget that the minimum temperature of reheating is of 74ºC for at least 15 seconds. Remember that these temperatures should be taken in the thickest part of the food.