Food Safety-Sanitation and Why it is so Important

Posted: April 28, 2017 by gamegetterII in Uncategorized

***This post,and all the following food safety/cooking posts will be linked to on the

Beyond Storing up Beans and Rice page-just click at top of the blog where it says

Beyond Storing up Beans and Rice-How to Safely Feed Groups of People Under Less Than Ideal Conditions***




Sanitation-keeping your work surfaces,pots,pans,utensils,cutting boards,knives,food storage areas,and cooking surfaces clean and sanitized so that you do not spread foodborne illnesses.

There is a huge difference between cleaning and sanitizing things. You have to first clean any surface you need to sanitize with HOT soapy water.

There are multiple sanitizing agents available,the main two are bleach and bleach products,and quaternary ammonia products-such as Quat.

We will be using bleach since it is something we all store in large quantities-if you don’t,you need to.

The easiest way to store large quantities of bleach is to use pool shock,stored properly,it lasts a long time,regular Clorox type bleach starts losing potency after 6 months.

Using pool shock,you can mix a concentrated ‘stock solution’,then dilute that to the strength needed to sanitize surfaces,pots,pans,etc. (I’ll provide detailed instructions on using bleach and pool shock in the next post)

The following was copied and pasted from files I had from teaching various cooking classes over the years-so the font size is different in places,as some sections came from different files in various formats.

One of the most important things is to wash your hands,warm water and soap,rubbing hands together using the lather for at least 30 seconds,then rinse under running water for a minimum of 30 seconds before you start handling food or utensils.

Every time you touch any raw meat,seafood,or poultry, you must wash your hands before you touch anything else.

You will also have to wash and sanitize cutting boards and knives that were used before they can be used for anything else.

The reason for this is to avoid cross contamination of foods.

When you are working without touching any raw foods you must wash your hands a minimum of once every 4 hours,and any time you leave the kitchen for a smoke,a restroom break,or anything else-you have to wash your hands before you start working in the kitchen again.

Every working surface of the food prep and kitchen area must be washed with HOT soapy water-(preferred soap is the original dawn dish soap-the blue stuff)- and a CLEAN kitchen towel,sponge, Scotch-Brite type scrub pad,or chore-boy type metal scrub pads-depending on surface to be cleaned-use common sense here.

After the surfaces have been washed,the they must be rinsed with hot clean water,and a fresh,clean kitchen towel.

After all surfaces have been washed and rinsed,the next step is to use

a 200ppm/1 T per gallon of water solution of bleach and warm-not hot- water on all surfaces,this solution is applied with a clean kitchen towel,wipe all surfaces down with the bleach solution,then allow to air dry.

Hot water degrades bleach-that is why the sanitizing solution is made with warm,not hot water.

Pots,pans and utensils must also be washed,rinsed,and sanitized-using a 3 compartent sink-or if you’re in some type of field kitchen/mobile kitchen set-up-you can use 5 gallon buckets,or large Rubbermaid bins.

Step one is wash in hot soapy water,using a scrub brush,or Scotch Brite type scratch pad,or a metal Chore Boy type pot and pan scrubber-or a combination of them.

Step two is rise in clean hot water in a separate sink or other container.

Step three is to sanitize in a 1 T per gallon of warm water bleach solution.

Step four is to air dry.

Stoves,ovens,broilers,grills,fryers,steam kettles,etc. Are cleaned using the same process,other than using a wire brush on broiler racks and if needed on oven racks.

Step one-all surfaces are washed-you may need to use scrub brushes,Scotch Brite,or metal scrub pads-using hot,soapy water.

Step two-using a clean kitchen towel,and clean,hot water,all surfaces are rinsed.

Step three-all surfaces are wiped down with a clean kitchen towel,and a 1 T bleach to 1 gallon of warm water solution.

There are also ammonia based cleaners (quaternary ammonia) that can be used in a kitchen-at a rate of 200ppm,which is 1 T ammonia to 1 gallon of water-same as with bleach-as long as no one mixes the ammonia with bleach,as it produces chlorine gas,which will injure your lungs.

Plus iodine based cleaners may be used.

For the purposes of all of my classes-and likely in any emergency/grid down scenario,it’s best to stick to using bleach.

Since you will have to wipe down counters and cutting boards many times during the coarse of a day,you can re-use the wash,rinse,and bleach towels-as long as you keep using each for the same task,and rinse thoroughly between uses.

Each station will have it’s own wash,rinse,sanitize containers set up within easy reach.

You will have to frequently change the hot soapy water,rinse water,and bleach solution during the course of a shift,at least every 4 hours,more often if doing heavy cleaning,or the water becomes dirty.

Keep all areas clean during the shift,and the close of the kitchen at the end of the day will be much easier and faster.

There is a reason for keeping all surfaces as clean as possible during a shift,and being sure they are washed,rinsed,and sanitized several times during a shift-a minimum of once every 4 hours,plus after each different raw food is prepared on a surface-it keeps bacteria from growing.

Bacteria are the cause of almost all foodborne illnesses,the rest are caused by things like the norovirus.

From the CDC…

Foodborne illness (sometimes called “foodborne disease,” “foodborne infection,” or “food poisoning) is a common, costly—yet preventable—public health problem. Each year, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Many different disease-causing microbes, or pathogens, can contaminate foods, so there are many different foodborne infections. In addition, poisonous chemicals, or other harmful substances can cause foodborne diseases if they are present in food.

More than 250 different foodborne diseases have been described.

Most of these diseases are infections, caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can be foodborne. Other diseases are poisonings, caused by harmful toxins or chemicals that have contaminated the food, for example, poisonous mushrooms.

These different diseases have many different symptoms, so there is no one “syndrome” that is foodborne illness. However, the microbe or toxin enters the body through the gastrointestinal tract, and often causes the first symptoms there, so nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea are common symptoms in many foodborne diseases.

***There are many opportunities for food to become contaminated as it is produced and prepared *** (More on this subject later)

Many foodborne microbes are present in healthy animals (usually in their intestines) that are raised for food. Meat and poultry carcasses can become contaminated during slaughter by contact with small amounts of intestinal contents.

Similarly, fresh fruits and vegetables can be contaminated if they are washed or irrigated with water that is contaminated with animal manure or human sewage.

Some types of Salmonella can infect a hen’s ovary so that the internal contents of a normal looking egg can be contaminated with Salmonella even before the shell in formed.

Oysters and other filter feeding shellfish can concentrate Vibrio bacteria that are naturally present in sea water, or other microbes such as norovirus that are present in human sewage dumped into the sea.

Later in food processing, other foodborne microbes can be introduced from infected humans who handle the food, or by cross contamination from some other raw agricultural product.

For example, Shigella bacteria, hepatitis A virus and norovirus can be introduced by the unwashed hands of food handlers who are themselves infected.

In the kitchen, microbes can be transferred from one food to another food by using the same knife, cutting board, or other utensil to prepare both, without washing the surface or utensil in between.

A food that is fully cooked can become recontaminated if it touches other raw foods or drippings from raw foods that contain pathogens.

The way that food is handled after it is contaminated can also make a difference in whether or not an outbreak occurs.

Many bacterial microbes need to multiply to a larger number before enough are present in food to cause disease. Given warm moist conditions and an ample supply of nutrients, one bacterium that reproduces by dividing itself every half hour can produce 17 million progeny in 12 hours.

As a result, lightly contaminated food left out overnight can be highly infectious by the next day. If the food were refrigerated promptly, the bacteria would not multiply at all.

In general, refrigeration or freezing prevents virtually all bacteria from growing but generally preserves them in a state of suspended animation. This general rule has a few surprising exceptions.

Two foodborne bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes and Yersinia enterocoliticacan actually grow at refrigerator temperatures.

High salt, high sugar or high acid levels keep bacteria from growing, which is why salted meats, jam, and pickled vegetables are traditional preserved foods.

Microbes are killed by heat.

If food is heated to an internal temperature above 160oF, or 78oC, for even a few seconds this sufficient to kill parasites, viruses or bacteria, except for the Clostridium bacteria, which produce a heat-resistant form called a spore.

Clostridium spores are killed only at temperatures above boiling. This is why canned foods must be cooked to a high temperature under pressure as part of the canning process.

* This is why some foods-such as green beans,farm/ranch raised meats,wild game and fish have to be canned in a pressure canner-as a water bath canner can only reach a temperature of 212F / 100C – the temperature at which water boils. Some foods,such as tomatoes and jellies and jams can be safely canned in a water bath canner-tomatoes due to the high acid level,jellies and jams due to the high sugar levels.

I’ll do a few posts on canning the harvest from your garden as it gets closer to time to start canning veggies.*

The toxins produced by bacteria vary in their sensitivity to heat.

The staphylococcal toxin which causes vomiting is not inactivated even if it is boiled.

Fortunately, the potent toxin that causes botulism is completely inactivated by boiling.

From the CDC here



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