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Old 04-16-2013
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Re: Restoring those plastic sink cover cutting board things...

As a certified Serv Safe Instructor and Protor ( I think T37chef is also) we are responsible for teaching as well as proctoring the food safety and national sanitation course recognized by the FDA with respect to the USDA Food Code.

In addition I am a certified HACCP inspector and instructor for the USDA which certifies facilities which handle food in the industry such as food processing plants, restaurants, airplanes, super markets etc. I have trained many of the county Health Inspectors in DC, South Jersey and other areas,

Food safety and sanitation is not complicated and is based on scientific principals of bacterial growth, bacterial intoxication and poisons. proper safety procedures, HACCP principals. etc. HACCP was forst developed to allow the astronauts to go into space in a safe food environment so they would get sick while in orbit from the food or sanitation.

It is not overly complicated. Without the cross contamination issue its important to wash, rinse, and sanitize ( either heat or chemical) food surface contact equipment to insure minimal bacterial growth. In addition is important to put barriers in place to minimize bacterial growth. The barriers include food, time, temperature, oxygen, moisture and acidity. There are specific cook temps for proteins as well as holding temps etc.

The requirements of a food contact surface or utensil is that it is wash rinsed and sanitized between tasks as well as no longer than 4 hours. That's a long time though. And also that is the total time the food equipment is allowed in the temperature danger zone of 41 degrees to 135 degrees, In addition it needs to be made of a material which is easily washed rinsed and sanitized and doesn't have cracks, porous surface for food debris to remain trapped so as to satisfy one of the requirements for bacteria to multiply....food.

Also should be noted that it isn't always the bacteria which gets a person sick, but can also be the toxin the bacteria produces. So you can kill the bacteria with proper heat principals, but the toxin may remain to sicken individuals.

Most people get food poisoning a mild case about 5 times a year and attribute the diherrea or upset stomach to a 24 hour virus. Most healthy adults can handle bacteria in their system, but infants, elderly and those with compromised immunities can die from food borne illness.

Most boats are not equipped to really wash rinse and sanitize properly cutting boards, utensils, pots and pans etc. The sinks alone do not fit the cutting boards for instance to adequately. The two types of sanitization is heat ( rinse temp of 180 degrees in a dishwasher or chemical. Usually this involves a quaternary solution at a specific ph sprayed and air dried on the piece of equipment. Vinegar can be effective in the CORRECT concentration of 1 part 5% vinegar to 4 parts water.

The reason most restaurants are required to use plastic cutting boards is that the ease of running a cutting board through a 180 degree rinse dish machine has been found to be more effectively done correctly than wiping down other food contact equipment with quaternary or vinegar.
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