Pre-Class Study Guide

This study guide can be used to prepare for the Food Safety Manager Exam before attending class.

Chapter 1 – Providing Safe Food

A foodborne illness is a disease transmitted to people through food. An illness is considered an outbreak when:

  1. Two or more people have the same symptoms after eating the same or similar food at the same establishment
  2. An investigation is conducted by state and local regulatory authorities
  3. The outbreak is confirmed by laboratory analysis

Challenges Include:

Time and money, language and culture, literacy and education, pathogens, unapproved suppliers, high-risk customers and staff turnover

Costs of Foodborne Illness:

  • Loss of customers and sales
  • Loss of reputation
  • Negative work exposure
  • Lower staff morale
  • Lawsuits and legal fees
  • Staff missing work
  • Increased insurance
  • Staff retrainign

There are 5 top risk factors for foodborne illness:

  1. Purchasing food from unsafe sources
  2. Failing to cook food correctly
  3. Holding food at incorrect temperatures
  4. Using contaminated equipment
  5. Practicing poor personal hygiene

How Does Food Become Unsafe?

  1. Time-Temperature Abuse
  2. Cross-Contmination
  3. Poor Personal Hygiene
  4. Poor Cleaning and Sanitizing

Foods Most Likely to Become Unsafe (TCS Foods)

TCS foods are foods that require time and tempture control to prevent the growth of pathogens

TCS Foods

Milk and Milk Products image
Milk & milk products
Meat Image
raw poultry image
Fish Image
Shellfish and Crustaceans image
Shellfish & Crustaceans
Heat-treated plant food image
Heat-treated plant food
Raw sprouts and sprouts seeds image
Raw sprouts & sprout seeds
Cooked Rice image
Cooked rice
Sliced melon image
Sliced melons
Cut tomato image
Cut tomatoes
Untreated oil and garlic mixtures image
Untreated oil & garlic mixtures
cut leafy greens image
Cut leafy greens
Baked Potato Image
Baked potato

1. Food From Unsafe Sources:

Food from unsafe sources image

Food must be obtained from an approved source. An approved source is one that has been inspected by a regulatory authority such as the FDA or the USDA or the state counterpart to those authorities.

When receiving food, check it to make sure that it is being received at the proper temperatures, that it is not infested with any kind of vermin, and that it has not been adulterated in any way. If the food has been temperature abused, is infested, or has been adulterated, do not accept the delivery. Since it can be difficult to tell if fresh produce has been contaminated prior to delivery, ensure that it is always washed prior to being cut, cooked, prepared, served.

2. Failing to Cook Food Adequately

cooking temperature icon

Cooking food to the proper temperatures is extremely important because many raw meats have pathogenic bacteria on them naturally, such as salmonella on raw chicken. Cooking is the only food preparation step that will actually kill bacteria. Proper holding temperatures slow down reproduction, freezing food makes bacteria go dormant, but proper cooking temperatures will kill bacteria that are in the food. When cooking foods, ensure that the proper temperature is reached by using an accurate probe thermometer to measure the center of the food. Once the proper cooking temperature has been achieved, ensure that the food remains at or above that temperature for at least 15 seconds to make sure that most if not all of the bacteria are eliminated.

Cook the following foods to the listed minimum internal temperatures

Type of Food Minimum Internal Temperature
Fruits, Vegetables, Plain Pasta 135°F. (57°C.)
Seafood 145°F. (63°C.)
Whole cuts of meat 145°F. (63°C.)
Ground Meat and Seafood 155°F. (68°C.)
Poultry 165°F. (74°C.)

3. Holding Food at Improper Temperatures

The purpose of holding TCS foods at proper temperatures is to minimize the growth of any pathogenic bacteria that may be present in the food. The number of bacteria that a person ingests with their food has a direct impact on a possible illness. A small number of disease causing bacteria may cause a mild illness or possibly no illness at all. However, a large number of the same bacteria may cause a very severe illness. Holding TCS foods at improper temperatures may allow pathogenic bacteria to reproduce rapidly and progressively to great numbers, thus putting someone who eats that food at great risk for foodborne illness.

Cooling Icon

TCS foods that are going to be held at cold temperatures (i.e. refrigerated) must be held at a temperature of 41°F or below. Examples of cold holding methods include walk-in coolers, prep coolers, cold top tables, holding foods on ice, refrigerated displays, and the use of refrigerated trucks. It is important that the temperature of the food itself be 41°F or below at all times. Foods in a cooler that read 40°F in the morning before the facility opens may be well above 41°F during a lunch rush with the cooler door constantly opening and closing.

Hot Holding Icon

TCS foods that are going to be held at hot temperatures must be held at a temperature of 135°F or above. Examples of hot holding methods include steam tables, crock pots, heat lamps, double boilers, and hot holding cases/cabinets.

The temperature range between 41°F and 135°F is called the danger zone. Food facility operators must take every precaution to minimize the amount of time that TCS foods spend in the danger zone. The maximum amount of time TCS foods can remain in the temperature danger zone cannot be 4 hours or more.

4. Using Contaminated Equipment

contaminated equipment logo

When utensils or equipment become dirty or contaminated, they can transfer that contamination to the food causing a foodborne illness. This may occur a number of different ways. If utensils or equipment are not cleaned frequently, and old food residue is allowed to build up at room temperature, bacteria in the residue may multiply rapidly and contaminate any food that comes into contact with it. In order to prevent this from happening, utensils, food preparation equipment, and food contact surfaces should be washed, rinsed, and sanitized at least once every 4 hours. This can be done manually in a 3-compartment sink, in a mechanical dish machine, or through a clean-in-place procedure for large pieces of equipment.

5. Practicing Poor Personal Hygiene

Poor Personal Hygiene Logo

It is imperative that food workers are in good health while preparing food. A food worker that has been diagnosed with an acute gastrointestinal illness (GI), or is showing symptoms such as diarrhea, or vomiting in conjunction with diarrhea, could potentially contam