Food Safety

Food Safety Program

The food safety program protects public health by working to reduce the factors that cause most foodborne illnesses, ensuring that food sold and served to the public is free of contamination and spoilage and promoting compliance with state food safety laws and regulations through education and enforcement.

  • Licenses and inspects restaurants, grocery stores, delis, concession stands. food processors, mobile food units and pushcarts.
  • Reviews construction plans and inspect new or extensively remodeled food establishments and ones that are changing owners.
  • Investigates foodborne outbreaks and follow ups on consumer complaints.
  • Coordinates food safety training for restaurant managers and staff.
  • Maintains the Restaurant Inspection Database for the public.

Knowing about food safety is important for everyone, whether you're cooking for yourself, your family, or a big group. One thing everyone should understand is how to avoid cross-contamination. It's a simple way to keep your food safe and healthy.

Preventing Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination of food is a common factor in the cause of foodborne illness. Foods can become contaminated by microorganisms (bacteria and viruses) from many different sources during the food preparation and storage process.

There are three main ways cross-contamination can occur:

  • Food to food
  • People to food
  • Equipment to food 

Food to People Contamination

This type of cross-contamination is especially dangerous if raw foods come into contact with cooked foods. Here are some examples of food-to-food cross-contamination:

  • In a refrigerator, meat drippings from raw meat stored on a top shelf might drip onto cooked vegetables placed on lower shelf.
  • Raw chicken placed on a grill touching a steak that is being cooked.
  • People to Food

People to Food Contamination

  •  Handling foods after using the toilet without first properly washing hands.
  • Touching raw meats and then preparing vegetables without washing hands between tasks.
  • Using an apron to wipe hands between handling different foods, or wiping a counter with a towel and then using it to dry hands.

Equipment to Food Contamination

Contamination can also be passed from kitchen equipment and utensils to food. This type of contamination occurs because the equipment or utensils were not properly cleaned and sanitized between each use.   Some examples are:

  • Using unclean equipment, such as slicers, can openers, and utensils, to prepare food.
  • Using a cutting board and the same knife when cutting different types of foods, such as cutting raw chicken followed by salad preparation.
  • Storing a cooked product, such as a sauce, in an unsanitized container that previously stored raw meat.

Steps to Prevent Cross-Contamination

  • Wash your hands thoroughly between handling different foods or after using the toilet.
  • Wash and sanitize all equipment and utensils that come in contact with food.
  • Avoid touching your face, skin, and hair or wiping your hands on cleaning cloths.
  • Store foods properly by separating washed or prepared foods from unwashed or raw foods.
  • Try preparing each type of food at different times, and then clean and sanitize food contact surfaces between each task