General Contact Number: (530) 621-5567

Environmental Health

General Guidelines for Satisfactory Food Protection & Sanitation Practices

It is essential that food service personnel protect the health of consumers. They have the responsibility of working in an efficient and safe manner. They have a responsibility to prevent foodborne illness by practicing clean work habits and following acceptable sanitary procedures, thus creating a sanitary environment. Management has the responsibility of training personnel (with the help of health authorities) in acceptable personal hygiene habits and in sanitary techniques of food handling, with careful (and constant) supervision. These guidelines offer some basics for good food protection and sanitation practices.

(More info: Receiving and Storage)

  • Do not use home-processed or home-prepared foods.
  • Know where foods come from (reputable distributor, supplier, manufacturer).
  • Inspect food supplies when delivered for temperature, swelled or damaged cans and packages, odor, visible mold, insect infestation, etc.
  • Eggs are intact, not expired, and are refrigerated; liquid eggs should be pasteurized and refrigerated.

DRY STORAGE (food, equipment, supplies)
(More info: Receiving and Storage)

  • Rotate stock, "first-in, first-out" (FIFO); create some system, such as dating.
  • Store at least six (6) inches off the floor.
  • Loose and unwrapped food, or food where original package has been broken, should be stored in pest proof containers or tied plastic bags, properly identified (labeled).
  • Area should be cool, well ventilated, well lit, and well maintained; kept clean, neat and orderly.
  • Single service items are stored properly.
  • Keep foods and all toxic chemicals separate and in well-marked cabinets.
  • Clean spilled food off shelves or floor immediately.

(More info: Storage Temperatures)

  • Temperature at 41 degrees F or below: thermometer in every unit, checked frequently.
  • Potentially hazardous food stored in "chill-able" quantities (i.e. shallow containers or small portions) and uncovered while food is still warm (cover food when cooled to below 41 degrees F).
  • Storage practices on shelving allow for adequate air circulation: open wired shelves rather than solid (not covered with foil).
  • Raw food stored separate and below prepared food; better to store raw food in separate unit if available.
  • Food stored to allow adequate air circulation; not packed too tightly. Food stored at least six (6) inches off floor; no stacking of containers.
  • Food stored in a manner to permit "first-in, first-out" rotation.
  • Clean units frequently, at least weekly, to prevent dirt and microorganisms from accumulating.
  • Cover foods to protect from drippings, odors, drying out.
  • Refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible; throw away food not going to be used.

FREEZER STORAGE(walk-in and reach-in)

  • Temperature 0 degrees F or below; thermometer in each unit, checked frequently.
  • All food containers covered. Wrap all food well to prevent freezer burn.
  • Food stored to allow adequate air circulation; not packed too tightly.
  • Food not stored on floor of walk-in.
  • Defrosted routinely to eliminate ice buildup.
  • Units clean, free of debris.
  • Foods rotated to permit "first-in, first-out".

(More info: Handwashing)

  • Keep the hands clean. Wash as frequently as necessary. Wash with warm, soapy water, using friction action, and dry with paper towels or air dryer.
  • Always wash hands:
    • After using toilet facilities
    • Between handling raw and cooked foods to avoid cross contamination
    • After blowing the nose, sneezing, or coughing
    • After smoking, eating, drinking, or taking any break
    • After touching the face, hair (including a beard or moustache), or any unwashed body part
    • After any other activity that could potentially contaminate hands
  • Keep fingernails clean and well-trimmed.
  • Keep uniform clean; use a clean apron
  • Keep hair neat and clean; use hair restraints (caps/hairnets). No loose, long hair. Beards and moustaches kept trimmed.
  • No SMOKING or EATING in food preparation, serving or storage areas; use designated areas.
  • No rings (except wedding band) or jewelry on hands or wrists.
  • The handling of food (including ice) should be minimized; use utensils or plastic gloves to eliminate unnecessary hand contact with prepared foods (example: do not mix salad by hand).
  • If sick (especially with diarrhea, sore throat and/or sneezing and coughing), stay at home or go home.
  • Do not work in food preparation if a hand injury has resulted in a wound, infected cut or bum.

(More info: Cooking Temperatures , Cooling Food , Storage Temperatures , Thawing Food , Cross-contamination)

  •  Potentially hazardous food kept cold (below 41 degrees F.) or hot (above 135 degrees F.) -- not held at room temperature, except during necessary preparation (should not exceed 2 hours).
  • Foods prepared on approved, clean, sanitized surfaces, with clean, sanitized equipment and utensils.
  •  Defrost food properly - under refrigeration, under cool running water (not to exceed 2 hours), in a microwave oven, or during cooking; do not leave foods to defrost at room temperature.  
  •  Fruits and vegetables washed prior to preparation.  
  •  Foods covered or protected from contamination (dust, sneezing, coughing).  
  •  Do not prepare raw, cooked or ready-to-serve food on same work surface(s) (e.g., cutting board) without proper cleaning and sanitizing between uses.  
  • Preparation equipment (slicers, grinders, knives, mixers) and food contact surfaces cleaned and sanitized between uses.
  • Thoroughly cook all potentially hazardous foods to proper temperatures; check temperature with a probe thermometer.
  • Reheat all potentially hazardous foods quickly to 165 degrees F; do not use warming equipment or steam tables to do this; check temperature with a probe thermometer.
  • Microwaves tend to cook unevenly; so stir the food or food container and check temperature. Cooking temperatures should be +15 degrees hotter than required temperatures. 

(More info: Cross-contamination)

  • Serve foods on clean and sanitized dishware, handled properly.
  • Use appropriate utensils such as a serving spoon or fork, tongs or spatula to serve foods.
  • Dining area kept clean.
  • Self-serve areas monitored:
    • Milk dispenser area clean and spills wiped up as necessary.
    • Salad bar display shall be supervised, with employee(s) working the operation trained in customer surveillance and product knowledge.
    • Sign displayed in salad bar area stating:
      • that the use of hands by consumers is a violation of state law; and
      • that smoking is prohibited in the salad bar display area and adjacent areas.
        * Condiment area kept clean, spills wiped up.
        * Cleaning cloths, in separate sanitizing solution, used to wipe tables.

(More info: Cleaning and Sanitizing)

  • A planned sanitary maintenance program is crucial for good sanitation control. Each food service unit will have a somewhat different cleaning schedule depending on equipment use, amount of equipment, and business volumes. It is desirable to develop (and post) a cleaning (and sanitizing) schedule of:
    • What is to be cleaned
    • Who is to do the cleaning
    • When to clean (frequency; daily, weekly, monthly).
    • How to clean (equipment and supplies to clean floors, hoods and filters, slicers, food-contact surfaces, etc.)
  • Cleaning equipment and supplies must be stored separately from food
  • Wiping cloths kept clean, stored in a sanitizing solution; the use of sponges is not recommended
  • Clean up spills immediately. Cleaning as you go is desirable because..........
    • Food soil is difficult to clean when dry
    • Floors can get slippery (safety hazard)
    • They can attract pests (roaches, flies, rodents)
    • The surrounding floor area may be tracked up
  • Regular and adequate cleaning (housekeeping) of a facility promotes a sanitary physical plant and equipment used in a good service operation.


  • Keep garbage containers clean (use plastic bag liners) and covered when not in continuous use.  
  • Deprive pests of food and shelter by following satisfactory food protection and sanitation practices:
    • Keep areas clean
    • Keep foods covered
    • Seal all junctures of walls and equipment when there is insufficient space for easy cleaning behind or between equipment (good hiding place for roaches).
  •  Prevent entry:
    • Keep doors and windows tight-fitting and shut; door cracks no greater than 1/4 inch to exclude rodents.
    • Doors are self-closing.
    • Provide screens that are tight-fitting and in good repair, with screening less than 16 mesh to the inch being used.
    • Keep water in waste drains (special problem in winter where humidity is low) to keep out rodents and roaches.
  •  Be aware of pest indicators: 
    •  Droppings of roaches and rodents  
    •  Tracks and rubmarks of rodents along the floor and wall juncture.  
  •  Extermination should be planned with a licensed pest control personnel on a routine basis; no chemicals should be used by food service personnel for pest control activity   
  •  For fly control, "fly paper" (non-chemical) could be used outside only (away from food). No chemical resin strips are to be used. Air curtains, UV traps, and close-fitting, self-closing doors are also helpful.   
(More info: Cleaning and Sanitizing)
  • Mechanical
    • Pre-scrape and pre-rinse dishes and utensils
    • Wash temperature should be approximately 140 - 160 degrees F.
    • No overloading or improper racking.
    • Spray arms should be kept free of food particles and other obstructions; pumps operating properly.
    • Temperature and pressure gauges working.
    • Unit cleaned at lease daily or more often as needed.
    • Removal from racks and sorting done in a sanitary manner.
    • Dishware and utensils air dried - no towel drying.
    • If a high temp. sanitizing unit: rinse temperature should be min.180 degrees F.
    • If a chemical sanitizing unit: obtain sanitizer test strips to monitor solution strength of rinse cycle
    • Air dry - do not use towels.
  • Manual
    • Pre-scrape and pre-rinse.
    • Wash - use a good detergent; wash water at 110 - 120 degrees F.
    • Rinse thoroughly with clear hot water.
    • Sanitize - hot water at 180 degrees F or use an approved chemical (chlorine, iodine, or quaternary ammonium, at the proper concentrations for the proper length of time
    • Air dry - do not use towels.


  • Close the food service establishment if:
    • You have extended electrical outage
    • Loss of water supply (or extended problems)
    • Sewage backup problems
    • Extreme, out-of-control pest infestation
  • Be sure an ample supply of disposable dishware and utensils are on hand in case of dishwasher problems.
  • Notify health authorities; get advice and/or ask for help.