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A food manager is responsible for all aspects of food safety, ranging from storage to serving customers. The details vary, but most states have specific legal requirements for companies that work with food. A trained food manager is responsible for supervising the food handling practices. Food safety legislation is focused on reducing the occurrences of food-borne illness and disease from commercially prepared food.
Food-borne illness are often referred to as food poisoning. There are several different types of bacteria, naturally present in food, that can cause food poisoning. Proper food handling techniques can significantly reduce the frequency of food related illnesses. There are four areas of responsibility for food managers: food transportation, temperature, preparation and service.
Food transportation rules are typically centered on the length of travel time and the packaging of the food. A manager working in a food production facility is responsible for ensuring that the food is packed in appropriate containers for shipment. Depending on the industry, there may be sterilization, temperature limits or packaging requirements that must be met. For example, there are strict rules surrounding the packaging and transportation of hot cooked meals for home delivery. These requirements include sterile food containers, limited transportation time and temperature maintenance within a specific range.
The rules surrounding safe food transportation cover both large and small organizations. For example, Meals on Wheels is a charitable organization that arranges the delivery of hot meals for seniors and shut-ins. A food manager working for this organization is responsible for ensuring that all the food is packed in sterile containers and transported safely.
The temperature requirements are critical to avoiding food-borne illnesses. The food temperature must be maintained within the appropriate range at all times. The food manager is responsible for ensuring that the food safety protocols are followed at all times. Hot foods must be kept hot and cold foods kept cold.
It is the primary responsibility of the food manager to ensure that the specific requirements surrounding food handling and production are enforced. Staff training, supervision and reinforcement are all part of the job. These rules apply in all settings where food is prepared.
Food service is closely related to food production and storage. The same cleanliness, temperature and food exposure time lines apply in both cases. The food manager in a restaurant or institution must ensure that staff is following the safe food handling techniques at all times.
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