The step-by-step approach to a safe food environment


Understanding The Flow Of Food

Food moves through your foodservice operation in a continuous flow beginning at receiving through storage, preparation and serving. At every step along the way, food safety precautions must be taken by you and your employees when handling food to prevent the possibility of a foodborne illness outbreak.

Four places where problems can occur

1. Receiving
The receiving area includes the delivery dock and wherever else food first arrives at your facility

The receiving area of your foodservice operation is the first line of defense against the bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Plan to be on hand when food is delivered. Inspect each delivery immediately to make sure the food has arrived in excellent condition and at the proper temperature. Refuse to accept any food that is spoiled or contaminated.

2. Storage

The storage area includes the cooler, freezer, dry goods pantry and anywhere else food is stored prior to preparation.

Storing food properly is a key to maintaining a safe food environment. For example, storing raw food above previously prepared food may allow the raw food to drip on the food below resulting in contamination. Overcrowded Cooler and Freezer equipment may not allow food to achieve a low enough temperature in order to ensure proper food safety.

3. Preparation & Cooking
This area includes the kitchen and wherever food is prepared or cooked prior to serving.

The kitchen is one of the most common areas food safety is compromised. Unless Counterops and Cutting Boards are cleaned and sanitized every time they are used, cross-contamination can occur whenever one food comes into contact with the bacteria left behind from another. Vegetable sinks are another place where bacteria can breed if not regularly sanitized.

4. Serving & Holding
The serving & holding area comprises dining rooms, buffet lines, cafetarias and anywhere else food is served.

Food that is held in heated Serving Lines and other holding areas are at special risk of becoming contaminated with foodborne illness. Cooked foods must be held above 60 degrees C / 140 degrees F or bacteria will quickly multiply. Dishes and flatware must be properly washed and sanitized either manually or in a Dishmachine after serving guests.


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