Food handling practices are one of the most closely regulated areas in the child care profession, and with good reason. Food borne illnesses are common, potentially very serious and can occur within half an hour of or up to two weeks after eating food contaminated by harmful bacteria (e.g. salmonella, shigella, Escherichia coli), viruses (eg., norovirus), or germs carried by insects and rodents.
Safe food handling and storage protocols are essential for preventing both the spread of infection through food contamination and food poisoning, which results from eating food contaminated by bacteria which thrive in moist, warm substances like food. These bacteria can double in number every 15 minutes when food is above 4℃ (40℉) and below 60℃ (140℉).
Practice four essential steps to prevent food contamination:
Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get on hands, cutting boards, knives and counter tops. Wash hands and surfaces often to help keep hands and food contact surfaces clean.
Bacteria multiply fastest at temperatures between 4℃ (40℉) and 60℃ (140℉). Cold temperatures can prevent harmful bacteria from growing.
Cross-contamination is how harmful bacteria spread. Keep raw meat/poultry/seafood and their juices away from one another and other food during storage and preparation.
Meat, poultry, seafood and eggs should be cooked to their proper final cooking temperatures.
Last modified: February 19, 2020