• Decrease font size
  • Return font size to normal
  • Increase font size
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Food

  • Print
  • Share
  • E-mail

III. Results And Discussion, Retail Food of the FDA Report on the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice, Restaurant, and Retail Food Store Facility Types (2004)

Table of contents


 

RETAIL FOOD
DELI DEPARTMENTS/STORES
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

A. Percent of observations found Out of Compliance for each RISK FACTOR

Retail Food - DELIS
Figure D-1
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each RISK FACTOR

Bar graph of data for foodborne illness risk factors in delis
FOODBORNE ILLNESS RISK FACTOR # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
red rectangle Improper Holding/Time & Temperature 315 489 64.4%
right diagonal teal bars Poor Personal Hygiene 124 528 23.5%
horizontal blue bars Contaminated Equipment/Protection from Contamination 102 435 23.4%
black grid Other/Chemical 30 137 21.9%
vertical dashes Inadequate Cooking 14 153  9.2%
  Food From Unsafe Sources 11 221  5.0%

Discussion for Figure D-1

Failure to control product holding temperatures and times was the risk factor with the highest Out of Compliance percentage. Poor personal hygiene, contaminated equipment/protection from contamination and chemical contamination also had notable Out of Compliance percentages. Management systems that were implemented to ensure foods were adequately cooked and from safe sources appeared to be effective when compared to the other risk factors evaluated during this data collection period.

B. Percent of observations found Out of Compliance for each INDIVIDUAL DATA ITEM that comprises a risk factor

For delis, the foodborne illness risk factors most in need of attention with their corresponding Out of Compliance percentages are:

  • Improper Holding/Time and Temperature (64.4%)
  • Poor Personal Hygiene (23.5%)
  • Contaminated Equipment/Protection from Contamination (23.4%)
  • Other/Chemical (21.9%)

Figures D-2 thru D-4 provide a breakdown of each of these risk factors into data items that represent specific food preparation procedures and employee behaviors in need of attention. These figures provide insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses of the food safety management systems in place in delis to control each of the risk factors during the 2003 data collection.

In general, the other/chemical risk factor had a high IN Compliance percentage. There was, however, one data item within this risk factor that warrants attention. A summary of the results of the Out of Compliance observations for the identification, storage, and use of chemicals/toxics data item will be presented.

Retail Food - DELIS
Figure D-2
IMPROPER HOLDING/TIME AND TEMPERATURE
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each DATA ITEM

Bar graph of data for compliance observations in delis
DATA ITEM # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
red rectangle Commercially-processed, RTE, PHF date marked 79 99 79.8%
horizontal red bars PHF held cold at 41 °F or below 74 108 68.5%
right diagonal red bars RTE, PHF date marked after 24 hours 51 81 63.0%
red grid PHF held hot at 140 °F or above 59 97 60.8%
vertical red dashes PHF cooled to 70 °F on 2 hours/41 °F in total of 6 hours 16 28 57.1%
left diagonal red bars RTE, PHF discarded after 4 days/45 °F or 7 days/41 °F 27 48 56.3%
* PHF (prepared from ingredients at ambient temperature)
is cooled to 41 °F or below within 4 hours *
6* 13* *
* Foods received at temperatures according to Law are
cooled to 41 °F within 4 hours.*
1* 9* *
* Roasts are held at a temperature of 130 °F or above* 2* 4* *
* When time only is used as a public health control,
food is cooked and served within 4 hours*
0* 2* *

* These four remaining Improper Holding/Time & Temperature Data Items do not appear in Figure D-2 due to a low number of total observations (obs.)

Discussion for Figure D-2

For the improper holding/time and temperature risk factor, there is a need to review food safety systems related to:

  • Date marking of open containers of commercially-processed, ready-to-eat, PHF (79.8%) and ready-to eat, PHF made on site (63.0%)
  • Maintaining cold holding temperatures for PHF (68.5%)
  • Maintaining hot holding temperatures for PHF (60.8%)
  • Cooling of PHF (57.1%)
Date Marking

Date marking of refrigerated ready-to-eat, PHF, such as deli meats, meat salads, and soft cheeses, is an important food safety system component designed to promote proper food rotation and limit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes during cold storage. Discarding ready-to-eat, PHF that has remained in cold storage beyond the parameters described in the Food Code prevents foods with a harmful level of Listeria monocytogenes from being served.

Cold and Hot Holding of PHF

Holding PHF at the proper cold and hot temperatures is critical to preventing the growth of bacteria. Equipment, processes, and monitoring procedures related to maintaining temperature control for PHF need to be assessed and corrective action should be taken if necessary.

Cooling of PHF

Safe cooling requires the removal of heat from foods quickly enough to prevent the growth of spore-forming pathogens. Deli foodservice directors and managers need to ensure their practices and procedures are capable of rapidly cooling PHF.

The total number of observations for cooling was substantially less than the total number of observations for other data items. The time of day the data was collected and the length of the time available to spend in a facility were significant factors limiting the number of observations of cooling. For example, as much as six hours may be required on site to document compliance with the Food Code critical limits for cooling.

Retail Food - DELIS
Figure D-3
POOR PERSONAL HYGIENE
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each DATA ITEM

Bar graph of data for hygiene observations in delis
DATA ITEM # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
teal rectangle Proper, adequate handwashing 58 102 56.9%
horizontal teal bars Handwashing facility, convenient/accessible 24 108 22.2%
right diagonal teal bars Handwashing facility, cleanser/drying device 21 108 19.4%
teal grid Good hygienic practices 11 106 10.4%
vertical teal dashes Prevention of hand contamination 10 104  9.6%

Discussion for Figure D-3

The food safety procedures for the poor personal hygiene risk factor that are most in need of attention include:

  • Proper, adequate handwashing (56.9%)
  • Handwashing facility, convenient/accessible (22.2%)
  • Handwashing facility, cleanser/drying device (19.4%)
Proper, Adequate Handwashing

Hands may become contaminated when employees engage in activities such as handling raw animal foods, using the restroom or handling soiled tableware. Hands are a common vehicle for the transfer of harmful bacteria and viruses to food products. Effective handwashing is one of the most important measures to minimize the contamination of food by employees. The lack of convenient handwashing facilities and/or supplies of hand cleanser/drying devices may contribute to the lack of proper handwashing. Reinforcing the importance of handwashing should be supported by a management system that includes proper employee training and monitoring of the frequency and effectiveness of handwashing practices.

While handwashing continues to be a primary concern, the results from the 2003 study show a relatively high IN Compliance percentage (90.4%) for preventing direct hand contamination with food in delis. The retail food management in delis appear to be making a concerted effort to eliminate bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.

Retail Food - DELIS
Figure D-4
CONTAMINATED EQUIPMENT/PROTECTION FROM CONTAMINATION
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each DATA ITEM

Bar graph of data for contamination observations in delis
DATA ITEM # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
blue rectangle  Surfaces/Utensils cleaned/sanitized 63 108 58.3%
horizontal blue bars  Raw/RTE foods separated 21 105 20.0%
right diagonal blue bars  Protected from environmental contamination 14 108 13.0%
blue grid  Raw animal foods, separated 4 82  4.9%
vertical blue dashes  After being served, food is not re-served 0 32  0.0%

Discussion for Figure D-4

The food safety procedures for contaminated equipment/protection from contamination risk factor that are most in need of attention include:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces and utensils (58.3%)
  • Separating raw animal foods from ready-to-eat foods (20.0%)
Cleaning and Sanitizing

Proper cleaning and sanitization of food contact surfaces is an effective means of preventing cross-contamination. Many different procedures may be involved in the assessment of the management system related to this area. Evaluations should not be restricted to dishwashing procedures but should also include observations on how food preparation tables, cutting boards, and stand-in-place equipment such as slicers and mixers are cleaned and sanitized between uses.

The high Out of Compliance percentage for cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces and utensils indicates a weakness in deli food safety management systems designed to prevent cross-contamination.

Separation of Raw Animal Foods from Ready-to-Eat Foods

Raw animal foods are a potential source of contamination in any food operation. Storing raw animal foods above or in close proximity to ready-to-eat foods increases the potential for food to become contaminated. To prevent cross-contamination, raw animal foods should also be separated by species based on required minimum cooking temperatures. Required cooking temperatures are based on thermal destruction data and anticipated microbial load. These parameters may vary with different type of raw animal foods. Having organized storage systems that include designated areas for raw animal products will help prevent cross-contamination of foods.

Preventing cross-contamination between raw animal foods and ready-to-eat foods extends to the food preparation area. Designated separate food preparation areas should be provided for raw and ready-to-eat products. If common preparation areas must be used, then procedures must be in place to ensure proper cleaning and sanitizing between uses.

Discussion for the Other/Chemical Risk Factor
 Table 23
Assessment of the Other/Chemical Category - DELIS
Poisonous or Toxic Materials are Properly Identified, Stored, and Used
# Observations
OUT
TOTAL Observations
(IN & OUT)
% Observations
OUT
30 108 27.8%

All of the Out of Compliance observations relating to the other/chemical risk factor were attributed to one data item. The proper identification, storage, and use of cleaners, sanitizers, and other chemicals in delis are in need of attention. Food safety procedures related to the identification, storage, and use of cleaners, sanitizers, and other chemicals need to be reviewed and revised, if necessary, to address any gaps in the program that may be contributing to the Out of Compliance observations made of this data item.

 

C. Summary of foodborne illness RISK FACTORS and INDIVIDUAL DATA ITEMS in need of priority attention

Table 24
Retail Food Store - DELIS
Summary of Foodborne Illness RISK FACTORS and
DATA ITEMS in Need of Priority Attention
FOODBORNE ILLNESS
RISK FACTOR
in need of Priority Attention
(From Section A)
INDIVIDUAL DATA ITEMS
in need of Priority Attention
(From Section B)
Improper Holding/
Time & Temperature
Commercially-processed RTE, PHF date marked
PHF held cold at 41 °F or below
RTE, PHF date marked after 24 hours
PHF held hot at 140 °F or above
PHF cooled to 70 °F in 2 hours/41 °F in total of 6 hours
RTE, PHF discarded after 4 days/45 °F or 7 days/41 °F
Poor Personal Hygiene Proper, adequate handwashing
Handwashing facility, convenient/accessible
Handwashing facility, cleanser/drying device
Contaminated Equipment/
Protection from Contamination
Surfaces/Utensils cleaned/sanitized
Raw animal food separated from ready-to-eat foods
Other/Chemical Poisonous or toxic materials properly identified, stored, and used

 

 

RETAIL FOOD
MEAT & POULTRY DEPARTMENTS/MARKETS
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

A. Percent of observations found Out of Compliance for each RISK FACTOR

Retail Food - MEAT & POULTRY
Figure MP-1
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each RISK FACTOR

Bar graph of data for foodborne illness risk factors in meat and poultry markets 
FOODBORNE ILLNESS RISK FACTOR # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
red rectangle  Improper Holding/Time & Temperature 48 161 29.8%
horizontal blue bars  Contaminated Equipment/Protection from Contamination 107 438 24.4%
right diagonal teal bars  Poor Personal Hygiene 91 425 21.4%
black grid  Other/Chemical 20 123 16.3%
   Food from Unsafe Sources 12 242  5.0%
*  Inadequate Cooking* 1* 2*  *

* Data for the Inadequate Cook Risk Factor is not reflected in the Figure MP-1 due to a low number of observations (Obs.)

Discussion for Figure MP-1

Failure to control product holding temperatures and times was the risk factor with the highest Out of Compliance percentage. Contaminated equipment/protection from contamination, poor personal hygiene, and chemical contamination also had notable Out of Compliance percentages. Management systems that were implemented to ensure foods were adequately cooked and from safe sources appeared to be effective when compared to the other risk factors evaluated during this data collection period.

B. Percent of observations found Out of Compliance for each INDIVIDUAL DATA ITEM that comprises a risk factor

For meat and poultry departments, the foodborne illness risk factors most in need of attention and their corresponding Out of Compliance percentages are:

  • Improper Holding/Time Temperature (29.8%)
  • Contaminated Equipment/Protection from Contamination (24.4%)
  • Poor Personal Hygiene (21.4%)
  • Other/Chemical (16.3%)

Figures MP-2 thru MP-4 provide a breakdown of each of these risk factors into data items that represent specific food preparation procedures and employee behaviors in need of attention. These figures provide insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses of the food safety management systems in place in meat and poultry department to control each of the risk factors during the 2003 data collection.

In general, the other/chemical risk factor had a high IN Compliance percentage. There was, however, one data item within this risk factor that warrants attention. A summary of the results of the Out of Compliance observations for the identification, storage and use of chemicals/toxics data item will be presented.

Retail Food - MEAT & POULTRY
Figure MP-2
IMPROPER HOLDING/TIME AND TEMPERATURE
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each DATA ITEM

Bar graph of data for compliance observations in meat and poultry markets
DATA ITEM # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
red rectangle **  Commercially-processed, RTE, PHF date marked** 12** 17** 70.6%**
horizontal red bars **  RTE, PHF date marked after 24 hours** 9** 16** 56.3%**
right diagonal red bars **  RTE, PHF discarded after 4 days/45 °F or 7 days/41 °F** 5** 13** 38.5%**
red grid  PHF held cold at 41 °F or below 19 109 17.4%
*  PHF held hot at 140 °F or above* 2* 2* *
* PHF (prepared from ingredients at ambient temperature)
is cooled to 41 °F or below within 4 Hours*
0* 2* *
*  PHF cooled to 70 °F in 2 hours/41 °F in total of 6 hours* 1* 1* *
* Foods received at temperatures according to Law are
cooled to 41 °F within 4 hours.*
0* 1* *
*  Roasts are held at a temperature of 130 °F or above* 0* 0* *
* When time only is used as a public health control,
food is cooked and served within 4 hours*
0* 0* *

* These six remaining Improper Holding/Time & Temperature Data Items do not appear in Figure MP-2 due to a low number of total observations (obs.)

**These three data items are included in Figure MP-2 even though each has less than twenty total observations. Though there are only a few observations for each data item, they are still of interest due to their relationship to each other - collectively they all pertain to date marking procedures.

Discussion for Figure MP-2

For the improper holding/time and temperature risk factor, there is a need to review food safety systems related to:

  • Date marking of open containers of commercially-processed, ready-to-eat, PHF (70.6%) and ready-to eat, PHF made on site (56.3%)
  • Maintaining cold holding temperatures for PHF (17.4%)
Date Marking

Date marking of refrigerated ready-to-eat, PHF, such as salads containing various meats that may be prepared or sold, is an important food safety system component designed to promote proper food rotation and limit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes during cold storage. Discarding ready-to-eat, PHF that has remained in cold storage beyond the parameters described in the Food Code prevents foods with a harmful level of Listeria monocytogenes from being served.

Cold Holding of PHF

Holding PHF at the proper cold temperatures is critical to preventing the growth of bacteria. Equipment, processes, and monitoring procedures related to maintaining temperature control for PHF need to be assessed and corrective action should be taken if necessary.

Retail Food - MEAT & POULTRY
Figure MP-3
CONTAMINATED EQUIPMENT/PROTECTION FROM CONTAMINATION
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each DATA ITEM

Bar graph of data for contamination observations in meat and poultry markets
DATA ITEM # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
blue rectangle  Surfaces/Utensils cleaned/sanitized 46 109 42.2%
horizontal blue bars  Raw/RTE foods, separated 26 87 29.9%
right diagonal blue bars  Raw animal foods, separated 26 107 24.3%
blue grid  Protected from environmental contamination 9 109  8.3%
vertical blue dashes  After being served, food is not re-served 0 26  0.0%

Discussion for Figure MP-3

The food safety procedures for contaminated equipment/protection from contamination risk factor that are most in need of attention include:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces and utensils (42.2%)
  • Separating raw animal foods from ready-to-eat foods (29.9%)
  • Separating raw animal foods from each other (24.3%)
Cleaning and Sanitizing

Proper cleaning and sanitization of food contact surfaces is an effective means of preventing cross-contamination. Many different procedures may be involved in the assessment of the management system related to this area. Evaluations should not be restricted to dishwashing procedures but should also include observations on how food preparation tables, cutting boards, and stand-in-place equipment such as slicers and mixers are cleaned and sanitized between uses.

The high Out of Compliance percentage for cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces and utensils indicates a weakness in meat and poultry department management systems designed to prevent cross-contamination.

Separation of Raw Animal Foods from Ready-to-Eat Foods

Raw animal foods are a potential source of contamination in any food operation. Storing raw animal foods above or in close proximity to ready-to-eat foods increases the potential for food to become contaminated. To prevent cross-contamination, raw animal foods should also be separated by species based on required minimum cooking temperatures. Required cooking temperatures are based on thermal destruction data and anticipated microbial load. These parameters may vary with different type of raw animal foods. Having organized storage systems that include designated areas for raw animal products will help prevent cross-contamination of foods.

Preventing cross-contamination between raw animal foods and ready-to-eat foods extends to the food preparation area. Designated separate food preparation areas should be provided for raw and ready-to-eat products. If common preparation areas must be used, then procedures must be in place to ensure proper cleaning and sanitizing between uses.

Retail Food - MEAT & POULTRY
Figure MP-4
POOR PERSONAL HYGIENE
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each DATA ITEM

Bar graph of data for hygiene observations in meat and poultry markets
DATA ITEM # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
teal rectangle  Proper, adequate handwashing 31 84 36.9%
horizontal teal bars  Handwashing facility, cleanser/drying device 27 109 24.8%
right diagonal teal bars  Handwashing facility, convenient/accessible 23 109 21.1%
teal grid  Good hygienic practices 7 85  8.2%
vertical teal dashes  Prevention of hand contamination 3 38  7.9%

Discussion for Figure MP-4

The food safety procedures for the poor personal hygiene risk factor that are most un need of attention include:

  • Proper, adequate handwashing (36.9%)
  • Handwashing facility, cleanser/drying device (24.8%)
  • Handwashing facility, convenient/accessible (21.1%)
Proper, Adequate Handwashing

Hands may become contaminated when employees engage in activities such as handling raw animal foods, using the restroom or handling soiled tableware. Hands are a common vehicle for the transfer of harmful bacteria and viruses to food products. Effective handwashing is one of the most important measures to minimize the contamination of food by employees. The lack of convenient handwashing facilities and/or supplies of hand cleanser/drying devices may contribute to the lack of proper handwashing. Reinforcing the importance of handwashing should be supported by a management system that includes proper employee training and monitoring of the frequency and effectiveness of handwashing practices.

While handwashing continues to be a primary concern, the results from the 2003 study show a high IN Compliance percentage (92.1%) for preventing direct hand contamination with food in meat and poultry departments. The retail food management in meat and poultry departments appear to be making a concerted effort to eliminate bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.

Discussion for the Other/Chemical Risk Factor
 Table 25
Assessment of the Other/Chemical Category - MEAT AND POULTRY
Poisonous or Toxic Materials are Properly Identified, Stored, and Used
# Observations
OUT
TOTAL Observations
(IN & OUT)
% Observations
OUT
19 109 17.4%

All of the Out of Compliance observations relating to the other/chemical risk factor are attributed to one data item. The proper identification, storage, and use of cleaners, sanitizers, and other chemicals in meat and poultry departments are in need of attention. Food safety procedures related to the identification, storage, and use of cleaners, sanitizers and other chemicals need to be reviewed and revised, if necessary, to address any gaps in the program that may be contributing to the Out of Compliance observations of this data item.

 

C. Summary of foodborne illness RISK FACTORS and INDIVIDUAL DATA ITEMS in need of priority attention

Table 26
Retail Food Store - MEAT AND POULTRY
Summary of Foodborne Illness RISK FACTORS and
DATA ITEMS in Need of Priority Attention
FOODBORNE ILLNESS
RISK FACTOR
in need of Priority Attention
(From Section A)
INDIVIDUAL DATA ITEMS
in need of Priority Attention
(From Section B)
Improper Holding/
Time & Temperature
Commercially-processed RTE, PHF date marked
RTE, PHF date marked after 24 hours
RTE, PHF discarded after 4 days/45 °F or 7 days/41 °F
PHF held cold at 41 °F or below
Contaminated Equipment/
Protection from Contamination
Surfaces/Utensils cleaned/sanitized
Raw animal food separated from ready-to-eat foods
Poor Personal Hygiene Proper, adequate handwashing
Handwashing facility, cleanser/drying device
Handwashing facility, convenient/accessible
Other/Chemical Poisonous or toxic materials properly identified, stored, and used

 

 

RETAIL FOOD
SEAFOOD DEPARTMENTS/MARKETS
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

A. Percent of observations found Out of Compliance for each RISK FACTOR

Retail Food - SEAFOOD
Figure S-1
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each RISK FACTOR

Bar graph of data for foodborne illness risk factors in seafood markets 
FOODBORNE ILLNESS RISK FACTOR # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
red rectangle  Improper Holding/Time & Temperature 95 225 42.2%
horizontal blue bars  Contaminated Equipment/Protection from Contamination 84 419 20.0%
black grid  Other/Chemical 21 120 17.5%
right diagonal teal bars  Poor Personal Hygiene 74 441 16.8%
   Food from Unsafe Sources 47 370 12.7%
*  Inadequate Cooking* 2* 7*  *

* Data for the Inadequate Cook Risk Factor is not reflected in the Figure S-1 due to a low number of observations (obs.)

Discussion for Figure S-1

Failure to control product holding temperatures and times was the risk factor with the highest Out of Compliance percentage. Contaminated equipment/protection from contamination, chemical contamination, and poor personal hygiene also had notable Out of Compliance percentages. Management systems that were implemented to ensure foods were adequately cooked and from safe sources appeared to be effective when compared to the other risk factors evaluated during this data collection period.

B. Percent of observations found Out of Compliance for each INDIVIDUAL DATA ITEM that comprises a risk factor

For seafood departments, the foodborne illness risk factors most in need of attention and their corresponding Out of Compliance percentages are:

  • Improper Holding/Time and Temperature (42.2%)
  • Contaminated Equipment/Protection from Contamination (20.0%)
  • Other/Chemical (17.5%)
  • Poor Personal Hygiene (16.8%)

Figures S-2 thru S-4 provide a breakdown of each of these risk factors into data items that represent specific food preparation procedures and employee behaviors in need of attention. These figures provide insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses of the food safety management systems in place in seafood operations to control each of the risk factors during the 2003 data collection.

The other/chemical and food from unsafe sources risk factors all had relatively high IN Compliance percentages. There were a few data items within each of these risk factors that are in need of attention. Information for these data items will be presented as part of the discussion.

Retail Food - SEAFOOD
Figure S-2
IMPROPER HOLDING/TIME AND TEMPERATURE
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each DATA ITEM

Bar graph of data for contamination observations in seafood markets
DATA ITEM # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
red rectangle  Commercially-processed, RTE, PHF date marked 45 55 81.8%
horizontal red bars  RTE, PHF date marked after 24 hours 18 25 72.0%
right diagonal red bars **  RTE, PHF discarded after 4 days/45 °F or 7 days/41 °F** 9** 18** 50.0%**
red grid  PHF held cold at 41 °F or below 17 105 16.2 %
* Foods received at temperatures according to Law are
cooled to 41 °F within 4 hours.*
0* 8* *
*  PHF held hot at 140 °F or above* 3* 6* *
* PHF (prepared from ingredients at ambient temperature)
is cooled to 41 °F or below within 4 hours *
2* 5* *
*  PHF cooled to 70 °F on 2 hours/41 °F in total of 6 hours* 1* 2* *
*  When time only is used as a public health control,  food is cooked and served within 4 hours* 0* 1* *
*  Roasts are held at a temperature of 130 °F or above* 0* 0* *

* These six remaining Improper Holding/Time & Temperature Data Items do not appear in Figure S-2 due to a low number of total observations (obs.)

**This data item is included in Figure S-2 even though it has less than twenty total observations. Though there are only a few observations for this data item, it relates directly to the first 2 date marking data items that appear in the Figure.

Discussion for Figure S-2

For the improper holding/time and temperature risk factor, there is a need to review food safety systems related to:

  • Date marking of open containers of commercially-processed, ready-to-eat, PHF (81.8%) and ready-to eat, PHF made on site (72.0%)
  • Maintaining cold holding temperatures for PHF (16.2%)
Date Marking

Date marking of refrigerated ready-to-eat, PHF, such as seafood salads that may be prepared or sold, is an important food safety system component designed to promote proper food rotation and limit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes during cold storage. Discarding ready-to-eat, PHF that have remained in cold storage beyond the parameters described in the Food Code prevents foods with a harmful level of Listeria monocytogenes from being served.

Cold Holding of PHF

Holding PHF at the proper cold temperatures is critical to preventing the growth of bacteria. Equipment, processes, and monitoring procedures related to maintaining temperature control for PHF need to be assessed and corrective action should be taken if necessary.

 

Retail Food - SEAFOOD
Figure S-3
CONTAMINATED EQUIPMENT/PROTECTION FROM CONTAMINATION
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each DATA ITEM

Bar graph of data for contamination observations in seafood markets
DATA ITEM # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
blue rectangle  Surfaces/Utensils cleaned/sanitized 37 105 35.2%
horizontal blue bars  Raw/RTE foods, separated 23 98 23.5%
right diagonal blue bars  Raw animal foods, separated 16 88 18.2%
blue grid  Protected from environmental contamination 8 105  7.6%
vertical blue dashes  After being served, food is not re-served 0 23  0.0%

Discussion for Figure S-3

The food safety procedures for contaminated equipment/protection from contamination risk factor that are most in need of attention include:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces and utensils (35.2%)
  • Separating raw animal foods from ready-to-eat foods (23.5%)
  • Separating raw animal foods from each other (18.2%)
Cleaning and Sanitizing

Proper cleaning and sanitization of food contact surfaces is an effective means of preventing cross-contamination. Many different procedures may be involved in the assessment of the management system related to this area. Evaluations should not be restricted to dishwashing procedures but should also include observations on how food preparation tables, cutting boards, and stand-in-place equipment such as slicers and mixers are cleaned and sanitized between uses.

The high Out of Compliance percentage for cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces and utensils indicates a weakness in seafood department management systems designed to prevent cross-contamination.

Separation of Raw Animal Foods from Ready-to-Eat Foods

Raw animal foods are a potential source of contamination in any food operation. Storing raw animal foods above or in close proximity to ready-to-eat foods increases the potential for food to become contaminated. To prevent cross-contamination, raw animal foods should also be separated by species based on required minimum cooking temperatures. Required cooking temperatures are based on thermal destruction data and anticipated microbial load. These parameters may vary with different type of raw animal foods. Having organized storage systems that include designated areas for raw animal products will help prevent cross-contamination of foods.

Preventing cross-contamination between raw animal foods and ready-to-eat foods extends to the food preparation area. Designated separate food preparation areas should be provided for raw and ready-to-eat products. If common preparation areas must be used, then procedures must be in place to ensure proper cleaning and sanitizing between uses.

Retail Food - SEAFOOD
Figure S-4
POOR PERSONAL HYGIENE
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each DATA ITEM

Bar graph of data for hygiene observations in seafood markets
DATA ITEM # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
teal rectangle  Proper, adequate handwashing 29 77 37.7%
horizontal teal bars  Handwashing facility, cleanser/drying device 17 105 16.2%
right diagonal teal bars  Handwashing facility, convenient/accessible 16 105 15.2%
teal grid  Good hygienic practices 7 89  7.9%
vertical teal dashes  Prevention of hand contamination 5 65  7.7%

 

Discussion for Figure S-4

The food safety procedures for the poor personal hygiene risk factor that are most in need of attention include:

  • Proper, adequate handwashing (37.7%)
  • Handwashing facility, cleanser/drying device (16.2%)
  • Handwashing facility, convenient/accessible (15.2%)
Proper, Adequate Handwashing

Hands may become contaminated when employees engage in activities such as handling raw animal foods, using the restroom or handling soiled tableware. Hands are a common vehicle for the transfer of harmful bacteria and viruses to food products. Effective handwashing is one of the most important measures to minimize the contamination of food by employees. The lack of convenient handwashing facilities and/or supplies of hand cleanser/drying devices may contribute to the lack of proper handwashing. Reinforcing the importance of handwashing should be supported by a management system that includes proper employee training and monitoring of the frequency and effectiveness of handwashing practices.

While handwashing continues to be a primary concern, the results from the 2003 study show a high IN Compliance percentage (92.3%) for preventing direct hand contamination with food in seafood departments. The retail food management in seafood departments appear to be making a concerted effort to eliminate bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.

Discussion for the Other/Chemical Risk Factor
 Table 27
Assessment of the Other/Chemical Category - SEAFOOD
Poisonous or Toxic Materials are Properly Identified, Stored, and Used
# Observations
OUT
TOTAL Observations
(IN & OUT)
% Observations
OUT
20 105 19.0%

All of the Out of Compliance observations relating to the other/chemical risk factor are attributed to one data item. The proper identification, storage, and use of cleaners, sanitizers, and other chemicals in seafood departments are in need of attention. Food safety procedures related to the identification, storage, and use of cleaners, sanitizers, and other chemicals need to be reviewed and revised, If necessary, to address any gaps in the program that may be contributing to
the Out of Compliance observations of this data item.

Discussion for the Food from Unsafe Sources
 Table 28
Assessment of the Other/Chemical Category - SEAFOOD
Shellstock Tags Retained for 90 Days
# Observations
OUT
TOTAL Observations
(IN & OUT)
% Observations
OUT
31 70 44.3%

The overall IN Compliance percentages for data items that comprise the food from unsafe sources risk factor was high indicating effective management of this area. There is one exception to this general observation - retention of shellstock tags for 90 days.

Shellfish harvested from contaminated water can harbor harmful bacteria and viruses. Effective monitoring of shellfish sources must be continuous and involve all segments of the industry. Retention of shellstock tags for 90 days is not a direct contributing factor to the occurrence of foodborne illness. It is, however, an essential management practice that provides a means for conducting tracebacks to the harvest areas should a food-related illness or contamination be associated with shellstock.

 

C. Summary of foodborne illness RISK FACTORS and INDIVIDUAL DATA ITEMS in need of priority attention

 Table 29
Retail Food Store - SEAFOOD
Summary of Foodborne Illness RISK FACTORS and
DATA ITEMS in Need of Priority Attention
FOODBORNE ILLNESS
RISK FACTOR
in need of Priority Attention
(From Section A)
INDIVIDUAL DATA ITEMS
in need of Priority Attention
(From Section B)
Improper Holding/
Time & Temperature
Commercially-processed RTE, PHF date marked
RTE, PHF date marked after 24 hours
RTE, PHF discarded after 4 days/45 °F or 7 days/41 °F
PHF held cold at 41 °F or below
Contaminated Equipment/
Protection from Contamination
Surfaces/Utensils cleaned/sanitized
Raw animal food separated from ready-to-eat foods
Raw animal foods separated from each other
Other/Chemical Poisonous or toxic materials properly identified, stored, and used
Poor Personal Hygiene Proper, adequate handwashing
Handwashing facility, cleanser/drying device
Handwashing facility, convenient/accessible
Food from Unsafe Sources Shellstock tags retained for 90 days

 

 

RETAIL FOOD
PRODUCE DEPARTMENTS/MARKETS
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

A. Percent of observations found Out of Compliance for each RISK FACTOR

Retail Food - PRODUCE
Figure P-1
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each RISK FACTOR

Bar graph of data for foodborne illness risk factors in produce markets 
FOODBORNE ILLNESS RISK FACTOR # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
red rectangle  Improper Holding/Time & Temperature 99 201 49.3%
right diagonal teal bars  Poor Personal Hygiene 72 323 22.3%
horizontal blue bars  Contaminated Equipment/Protection from Contamination 56 273 20.5%
black grid  Other/Chemical 24 178 13.5%
   Food from Unsafe Sources 4 223  1.8%

* Data for the Inadequate Cook Risk Factor is not reflected in the Figure S-1 due to a low number of observations (obs.)

Discussion for Figure P-1

Failure to control product holding temperatures and times was the risk factor with the highest Out of Compliance percentage. Poor personal hygiene, contaminated equipment/protection from contamination, and chemical contamination also had notable Out of Compliance percentages. Management systems that were implemented to ensure foods were adequately cooked and from safe sources appeared to be effective when compared to the other risk factors evaluated during this data collection period.

B. Percent of observations found Out of Compliance for each INDIVIDUAL DATA ITEM that comprises a risk factor

For produce departments, the foodborne illness risk factors most in need of attention and corresponding Out of Compliance percentages are:

  • Improper Holding/Time Temperature (49.3%)
  • Poor Personal Hygiene (22.3%)
  • Contaminated Equipment (20.5%)
  • Other/Chemical (13.5%)

Figures P-2 thru P-4 provide a breakdown of each of these risk factors into data items that represent specific food preparation procedures and employee behaviors in need of attention. These figures provide insight into the relative strengths and weaknesses of the food safety management systems in place in produce departments to control each of the risk factors during the 2003 data collection.

In general, the other/chemical risk factor had a high IN Compliance percentage. There was, however, one data item within this risk factor that warrants attention. A summary of the results of the Out of Compliance observations for the identification, storage, and use of chemicals/toxics data item will be presented.

Retail Food - PRODUCE
Figure P-2
IMPROPER HOLDING/TIME AND TEMPERATURE
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each DATA ITEM

Bar graph of data for compliance observations in produce markets
DATA ITEM # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
red rectangle  PHF held cold at 41 °F or below 73 104 70.2%
horizontal red bars  RTE, PHF date marked after 24 hours 16 47 34.0%
right diagonal red bars  RTE, PHF discarded after 4 days/45 °F or 7 days/41 °F 3 29 10.3%
* PHF (prepared from ingredients at ambient temperature)
is cooled to 41 °F or below within 4 hours*
4* 9* *
*  Commercially-processed, RTE, PHF date marked* 3* 6* *
*  PHF held hot at 140 °F or above* 0* 6* *
*  PHF cooled to 70 °F on 2 hours/41 °F in total of 6 hours* 0* 0* *
* When time only is used as a public health control,
food is cooked and served within 4 hours*
0* 0* *
*  Roasts are held at a temperature of 130 °F or above* 0* 0* *
* Foods received at temperatures according to Law are
cooled to 41 °F within 4 hours.*
0* 0* *

Discussion for Figure P-2

For the improper holding/time and temperature risk factor, there is a need to review food safety systems related to:

  • Maintaining cold holding temperatures for PHF (70.2%)
  • Date marking of ready-to eat, PHF made on site (34.0%)
Cold Holding of PHF

Holding PHF at the proper cold temperatures is critical to preventing the growth of bacteria. Equipment, processes, and monitoring procedures related to maintaining temperature control for PHF need to be assessed and corrective action should be taken if necessary.

Date Marking

Date marking of refrigerated ready-to-eat, PHF is an important food safety system component designed to promote proper food rotation and limit the growth of Listeria monocytogenes during cold storage. Discarding ready-to-eat, PHF that has remained in cold storage beyond the parameters described in the Food Code prevents foods with a harmful level of Listeria monocytogenes from being served.

 

Retail Food - PRODUCE
Figure P-3
POOR PERSONAL HYGIENE
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each DATA ITEM

Bar graph of data for hygiene observations in produce markets
DATA ITEM # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
teal rectangle  Proper, adequate handwashing 10 30 33.3%
horizontal teal bars  Handwashing facility, convenient/accessible 28 107 26.2%
right diagonal teal bars  Handwashing facility, cleanser/drying device 22 107 20.6%
teal grid  Good hygienic practices 8 48 16.7%
vertical teal dashes  Prevention of hand contamination 4 31 12.9%

Discussion for Figure P-3

The food safety procedures for the poor personal hygiene risk factor that are most in need of attention include:

  • Proper, adequate handwashing (33.3%)
  • Handwashing facility, cleanser/drying device (26.2%)
  • Handwashing facility, convenient/accessible (20.6%)
Proper, Adequate Handwashing

Hands may become contaminated when employees engage in activities such as handling raw animal foods, using the restroom or handling soiled tableware. Hands are a common vehicle for the transfer of harmful bacteria and viruses to food products. Effective handwashing is one of the most important measures to minimize the contamination of food by employees. The lack of convenient handwashing facilities and/or supplies of hand cleanser/drying devices may contribute to the lack of proper handwashing. Reinforcing the importance of handwashing should be supported by a management system that includes proper employee training and monitoring of the frequency and effectiveness of handwashing practices.

While handwashing continues to be a primary concern, the results from the 2003 study show a high IN Compliance percentage (87.1%) for preventing direct hand contamination with food in produce departments. The retail food management in produce departments appear to be making a concerted effort to eliminate bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.

Retail Food - PRODUCE
Figure P-4
CONTAMINATED EQUIPMENT/PROTECTION FROM CONTAMINATION
PERCENT (%) of OBSERVATIONS found
Out of Compliance for each DATA ITEM

Bar graph of data for contamination observations in produce markets
DATA ITEM # OUT Total Obs.
(IN & OUT)
% OUT
blue rectangle Surfaces/Utensils cleaned/sanitized 48 108 44.4%
horizontal blue bars Raw/RTE foods, separated 2 20 10.0%
right diagonal blue bars Protected from environmental contamination 6 108  5.6%
blue grid Raw animal foods, separated 0 9  0.0%
vertical blue dashes After being served, food is not re-served 0 28  0.0%

Discussion for Figure P-4

The food safety procedures for contaminated equipment/protection from contamination risk factor that are most in need of attention include:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces and utensils (44.4%)
Cleaning and Sanitizing

Proper cleaning and sanitization of food contact surfaces is an effective means of preventing cross-contamination. Many different procedures may be involved in the assessment of the management system related to this area. Evaluations should not be restricted to dishwashing procedures but should also include observations on how food preparation tables, cutting boards, and stand in place equipment such as slicers and mixers are cleaned and sanitized between uses.

Discussion for the Other/Chemical Risk Factor
 Table 30
Assessment of the Other/Chemical Category - PRODUCE
Poisonous or Toxic Materials are Properly Identified, Stored, and Used
# Observations
OUT
TOTAL Observations
(IN & OUT)
% Observations
OUT
21 108 19.4%

All of the Out of Compliance observations relating to the other/chemical risk factor were attributed to one data item. The proper identification, storage, and use of cleaners, sanitizers and other chemicals in produce departments are in need of attention. Food safety procedures related to the identification, storage, and use of cleaners, sanitizers, and other chemicals need to be reviewed and revised, if necessary, to address any gaps in the program that may be contributing to the Out of Compliance observations of this data item.

 

C. Summary of foodborne illness RISK FACTORS and INDIVIDUAL DATA ITEMS in need of priority attention

 Table 31
Retail Food Store - PRODUCE
Summary of Foodborne Illness RISK FACTORS and
DATA ITEMS in Need of Priority Attention
FOODBORNE ILLNESS
RISK FACTOR
in need of Priority Attention
(From Section A)
INDIVIDUAL DATA ITEMS
in need of Priority Attention
(From Section B)
Improper Holding/
Time & Temperature
PHF held cold at 41 °F or below
RTE, PHF date marked after 24 hours
RTE, PHF discarded after 4 days/45 °F or 7 days/41 °F
Poor Personal Hygiene Proper, adequate handwashing
Handwashing facility, convenient/accessible
Handwashing Facility, cleanser/drying Device
Contaminated Equipment/
Protection from Contamination
Surfaces/Utensils cleaned/sanitized
Other/Chemical Poisonous or toxic materials properly identified, stored, and used