• Lesson 4: The System for Safe Food Handling

    A commonly used system in professional kitchens to ensure the safe handling of food is called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP). HACCP is a preventive system that anticipates where the problems might occur and then details the steps to take to prevent them.

    The Seven Principles of HACCP

    1. Assess the hazard. Check the menu for ingredients that are susceptible to problems.
    2. Identify the critical control points. The critical control points are those times when the use of an ingredient can prevent, eliminate, or reduce an existing hazard or prevent a potential one.
    3. Establish critical limits and control measures. Many of these will be dictated or affected by local laws.
    4. Establish procedures for monitoring the critical control points. Assign an employee to monitor the critical control points and record the results.
    5. Establish corrective action plans. The responsible person for each checkpoint must know the proper procedure to correct the problem.
    6. Set up a record-keeping system with appropriate forms.
    7. Develop a verification system. A party other than those responsible for carrying out the monitoring should verify the records and the results.


    The importance of good cleaning tools maintenance is critical, and reflected in HACCP’s certification of cleaning tools as “food safe” and “fit for purpose.”

    For more information about HACCP, check out the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration’s HACCP resource page.

    Cleanliness is critical for restaurant operators. A restaurant that is not properly cleaned is more at risk for causing foodborne illness, and can lead to health inspection violations. In short, dirty restaurants are bad for business! It is everyone’s responsibility to keep an operation clean and safe. Keep a cleaning schedule with a checklist of ongoing, daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly cleaning activities.

    The pot-washing procedures are well-defined in any foodservice establishment and consist of washing, rinsing, and some type of sanitizing with very hot water or a chemical sanitizer. The dish-washing equipment is set to keep the water at a specific temperature and a detergent with sufficient strength is used so that the dishes are washed and sanitized.

    Any establishment that has food is a target for pests. Constant vigilance and proper covering and storing of food items are essential to keep out pests.