Safe Facilities and Pest Management


The common risk factors for foodborne illnesses are purchasing food from unsafe sources, cooking and holding food incorrectly, using contaminated equipment and poor personal hygiene. However, they are not the only threats to food safety. Equipment, utilities and building systems also play a big role in keeping food safe. In addition, having a good pest control program and a crisis management program will be important for the safety of the food.

1. Interior Requirements for a Safe Operation

- Pick durable and smooth materials when choosing flooring, wall, and ceiling materials and maintain them regularly.
- Replace missing or broken floor and ceiling tiles and repair all holes in the wall.
- Food service equipment must be nonabsorbent, smooth, corrosion-resistant, resistant to damage, clean, and durable.
- Put floor-mounted equipment on legs at least 6 inches high or seal it to a masonry base.
- Put tabletop equipment on legs at least 4 inches high or seal it to the countertop.
Dishwashing Machines
- When installing dishwasher machines, make sure they are conveniently located.
- Installation must also keep utensils, equipment, and other food-contact surfaces from becoming contaminated.
- Always follow manufacturer's instructions when installing, operating, and maintaining dishwashers.
- Use detergents and sanitizers approved by the local regulatory authority.
- Purchase dishwashers that have ability to measure:
- Water temperature
- Water pressure
- Concentration of cleaning and sanitizing chemicals.
- Post information about the correct settings on the machine.
- Clean dishwashers as often as necessary.
Handwashing Stations
- Handwashing stations are required in restrooms, or next to it, and in prep service, and dishwashing areas.
- Handwashing sinks must be used only for handwashing, not other purposes.
- Handwashing stations can not be blocked by potable equipment or stacked full of dirty kitchenware.
A handwashing station must have the following items:
- Hot and cold drinkable water with the right pressure and temperature
- Liquid, bar, or powder soap
- A way to dry hands such as disposable paper or high velocity air that is warm or room temperature
- Garbage container
- A clearly visible sign or poster telling staff to wash hands before returning to work in all languages used by the staff.
Utilities and Building Systems
- Utilities used in an operation includes water, electricity, gas, sewage, and garbage disposal.
- Building systems include plumbing, lighting, and ventilation
- If utilities and systems do not work correctly, it increases the risk of food contamination.
Water and Plumbing
- Only use drinkable water for preparing food and contact with food-contact surfaces. Water sources can be:
- Approved public water mains
- Regularly tested and maintained private water
- Closed, portable water containers
- Water transport vehicles
- Have only licensed plumbers work on the plumbing in your operation.
- If plumbing not installed and maintained correctly, can allow unsafe water and drinkable water mix.
- This mixing can cause foodborne outbreaks.
- Cross-connection is a physical link between safe water and dirty water and is the greatest challenge to water safety.
- Cross-connection can lead to backflow that is the reverse flow of dirty water to drinkable supply.
- The only sure way to prevent backflow is to create an air gap.
- Mechanical devices, such as vacuum breakers, are also used to prevent backflow.
- Good lighting, especially in prep areas, make staff see the condition of the food and items needed to be cleaned.
- Good lighting provides a safe environment.
- Make sure to replace burned out-bulbs.
- To prevent contaminating food by lighting:
- Use shatter-resistant light bulbs.
- Use light bulbs with protective covers.
- Ventilation improves the air inside an operation.
- It removes smoke, steam, heat, fumes from cooking lines.
- If not working correctly, grease can build up on walls and ceilings.
- Clean and maintain ventilation system to prevent grease build up.
- Garbage can contaminate food, food-contact surfaces, equipment, utensils and can attract pests.
- Remove garbage from prep areas as quickly as possible.
- Clean garbage containers inside and outside and never clean them next to prep or food-storage areas.
- Indoor containers must be leak-proof, pest-proof, and waterproof.
- Outdoor containers must be placed on a smooth, durable, and nonabsorbent surface such as asphalt or concrete.
- Containers must be covered when not in use.

2. Emergencies That Affect the Facilities and Food Safety

- Crises such as electrical power outages, fire, flood, earthquake, and sewage backups can affect food safety.
- They are considered imminent health hazards and requires immediate correction or closure to prevent injury.
- With no electricity, there is no power for refrigerators and freezes and pathogens can grow in TCS food.
- Drinkable water can be contaminated and become risk to food safety.
- Unauthorized people can also become risk to food safety.
- If there is a significant risk to food safety and security, stop serving food and notify local regulatory authority.
- Before continuing service, we will need approval from local regulatory authority.

3. Pest Management

- Pests, such as rodents and insects, not just can damage food, supplies and facilities, they can spread diseases.
- Pests can spread foodborne illnesses.
- To make your operation pest-free:
- Deny them access to the operation by checking all deliveries and securing all points of pest entries.
- Deny them food, water, and shelter by having clean operation and storing all food supplies as quickly as possible.
- Work with a licensed pest control operator if all the efforts are made to stop pests, but they are still seen.