Food service personnel are a most important link in the transmission of disease through foods. The health and personal habits of food service personnel and the methods of preparing and serving foods are vital factors. Health standards for food service personnel are discussed in the HM 3 & 2 Rate Training Manual.
Food poisoning and the spread of foodborne illness would be eradicated if food were procured from approved sources and processed, prepared, and served according to recommended sanitary practices. Most foodborne illnesses can be traced to one or more of the following:
Even with exact care and handling, most uncooked foods harbor some microorganisms. Their growth can be prevented or retarded through proper temperature control. Only the quantity of food that will be consumed at each meal should be prepared, and hot foods should be kept hot and cold foods cold.
Do not return open jars or bowls of mayonnaise and salad dressing from salad bars to refrigerators for reuse at later meals.
When leftovers or warm foods are to be chilled, ensure prompt and thorough chilling to the center of the food mass (40°F or lower). Foods to be refrigerated should be placed in shallow pans of not more than 3 inches in depth and covered with lids, waxpaper, or other appropriate covers. Food to be chilled should immediately be placed in the chill box and labeled with the time and date. Leftover foods must not be held longer than 36 hours.
Foods that were cooked and then refrigerated shall be rapidly heated to 140°F (60°C) or higher throughout before being placed in a hot food storage container. Steam tables, warmers, and other food holding facilities must not be used for rapid heating.
Ground or chopped food that is to be cooked later or incorporated into a recipe must be refrigerated immediately in covered shallow pans not more than 3 inches deep.
Cut, sliced, or diced meats must be refrigerated immediately in shallow containers not more than 3 inches deep.
Green vegetables of uncertain origin or suspected of being contaminated must be chemically sanitized by immersion for at least 15 minutes in 100 parts per million (ppm) free available chlorine solution or 30 minutes in 50 ppm free available chlorine solution. These items must then be thoroughly rinsed with clean, potable water before use. Head items such as lettuce, cabbage, and celery must be broken apart before they are sanitized.
Frozen foods are subject to deleterious quality changes in color, texture, odor, flavor, and nutritional value if improperly packaged, frozen, stored, or thawed. The proper procedures for managing frozen foods include sealing the foods in moisture and vapor-proof containers or wrappers to prevent dehydration and freezer burn. Other measures are freezing foods in process freezers designed to cool bulk foods quickly to reduce chemical and biological deterioration, and storing the foods at a constant temperature not above 0°F.
Frozen foods must be thawed in a refrigerated space. Once thawed, frozen foods must not be refrozen. Thawing by exposure to excessive heat is prohibited. Likewise, thawing by immersion in water or with the use of fans is prohibited. Frozen meats must be thawed gradually at temperatures of 36° to 38°F and used as soon as possible thereafter. Frozen foods may be thawed in the galley or meat preparation space on board ship at room temperature if thaw boxes have not yet been installed and if no refrigeration space is available for this purpose. When frozen foods are thawed by this method, the temperature must not exceed 80°F, items must remain in their original containers while thawing, precautions must be taken to ensure that foods are not allowed to remain at room temperature once thawed, and the Medical Department representative (MDR) must be notified of the thawing procedures. Frozen 5-12