It can be a challenge for a kitchen to comply with all required food safety standards. But things can get even more complicated when moving food away from the kitchen and serving it out of a food truck, at an outdoor fair or other festivity away from your operation.
Luckily, food safety is not impossible to do. Keep these five things in mind and you can safely serve delicious food just about anywhere.
Some foods require time and temperature control in order to safely avoid bacterial overgrowth and the spread of foodborne illness. These are known as Time/Temperature Control for Safety (TCS) foods and include items such as eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, cut tomatoes and melons, rice and beans. If you are transporting a TCS food, you should keep it out of the temperature danger zone by using the appropriate holding equipment. Cold foods should be held at an internal temperature of 41°F (5°C) or below and hot foods should be held at an internal temperature of 135°F (57°C) or above. Check the internal temperature of TCS foods before delivery. Also, try to minimize the amount of time food is held by dropping it off as close to the service time as possible and picking it up immediately after service. Shelf-stable foods, like cereal bars and muffins, do not require temperature control.
Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms are unintentionally transferred from one substance or object to another. To prevent this, use serving utensils and single-use disposable gloves to serve food. Also, consider using pre-portioned or wrapped items so customers can grab and go without the fear of contamination. When transporting food, never place carriers on the ground; keep them up on chairs or tables.
Any surface where food will be served or consumed should be properly cleaned and sanitized before meal service, including carts, utensils, equipment, tables and serving stations.
Proper Cleaning and Sanitizing Steps
Hand washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infection and foodborne illness. All staff should wash their hands before and after meal service.
Proper Handwashing Steps
5. Have a plan for leftovers
Determining whether leftovers may be served again will depend on your location and the regulations enforced in your area. Contact your local health department and state agency to discuss whether, and how, to handle leftovers. As a general rule, throw away all perishable foods that have been at room temperature for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is over 90°F). Also, try limiting the amount of leftovers by: