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Keeping Guests Safe and Satisfied with Food Safety Tips and Cross Contamination Guidelines

Safety challenges can pop up all around your business, from receiving food at the back door to serving guests in the front of the house. Use these Safety Tips and Guidelines to make sure your employees and customers are safe at every stage.

Shop Top Safety Items For Your Industry

Food Prep Safety Tips

Cycle of Safety

1 Safely Receive and Store Food

Millions of people become sick after eating contaminated or mishandled foods each year. Food safety and standard operating procedures need to be developed throughout a foodservice operation to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks.

Safety starts at the back door.

  • The quality and temperature of foods should be closely monitored at delivery
  • Deliveries should be scheduled during slow periods whenever possible to allow time for inspection
  • Storage areas should be clean and well-lit to discourage pests
  • Sanitary carts and dollies should be available to store foods immediately

Tips for storing foods:

  • Remove food from its original packaging and place it in a plastic container to prevent the juices of uncooked foods from dripping onto ready-to-eat foods, which can cause bacteria growth
  • Store food in color-coded containers to help prevent cross-contamination
  • Practice first in, first out when stocking your food for storage. Reliable rotation and storage solutions will keep your food safe longer
  • Bins, boxes and labels are essential for safe food storage
  • Keep a consistent system to maximize the shelf life of perishables

Hubert can help you with food rotation labels, food storage and transport tools.

2 Protect Hands With the Right Glove

OSHA estimates that hand injuries cost the food service industry about $300 million per year in workers’ compensation costs and lost work time. Hubert can help safeguard your staff from unnecessary injury.

Whether they are slicing veggies, pulling out a hot pan or handling raw meat, using the correct glove is essential to keeping your kitchen environment safe.

Glove Guide

Learn more about glove materials and features in our Glove Buying Guide.

Five Must-Have Food Service Gloves:

  • Disposable Gloves: Prevent cross-contamination and support compliance with health code standards
  • Heat-Resistant Gloves/Mitts: Protect your arms from hot spatters, steam and oil with a variety of styles and materials
  • Cut-Resistant Gloves: Cut back on workplace injuries by choosing task-specific gloves that provide the right level of protection without compromising too much dexterity and comfort
  • Cleaning Gloves: Protect workers from hot water, chemicals and other elements during warewashing or cleaning procedures
  • Work Gloves: Prevent minor cuts, abrasions and exposure from unpacking boxes, or stocking shelves and freezers

3 Prevent Cross-Contamination

If space allows, create dedicated prep zones in your commercial kitchen to help avoid cross-contamination. For example, one area to prep meat, another for produce, another for seafood, etc.

Using color-coded tools, such as knives and cutting boards, is an effective way to create contamination-free prep stations. Colors are often used to identify certain food groups, which minimizes the risk of cross-contamination. Below are the suggested food types to be used with each color.

  • Yellow: Poultry
  • Red: Cooked Meats
  • Green: Fruits and Vegetables
  • White: Bakery/Dairy
  • Purple: Allergen Awareness

Make sure everyone working in the kitchen knows the color-coded system by hanging a reference guide where employees can refer to it easily.

Shop Cutting Boards and Knives.


4 Sanitize Regularly

What customers see and regulators say matters. An effective sanitation program is necessary to the overall success of any food handling operation.

Arm Your Team for Success:

  • Make sure cleaning and sanitizing supplies are available to the people doing the job
  • Know how equipment and other items should be cleaned and sterilized
  • Understand how your chemicals work and what compromises their effectiveness
  • Establish standards for cleaning and sanitizing
  • Use the right personal protective equipment (gloves, goggles, aprons, etc.)
  • Have a plan in place to take corrective action when necessary

Hubert has all the cleaning supplies & tools you need to stay clean and compliant.


5 Maintain Safe Temperatures

The right holding equipment is essential for maintaining safe food temperatures in a busy kitchen. Holding equipment should be selected based on the volume and type of food, as well as service style.

The goal is to minimize the time food is in the “danger zone.” This ranges from 40° to 140°F. Food that has not been cooked or cooled quickly enough can become ripe for bacterial growth. This puts customers at risk for food-borne illness. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, bacteria doubles every 20 minutes when allowed to thrive on food left at room temperature. This infographic shows the temperatures at which hot and cold foods can be safely held.

Shop Thermometers & Accessories.

6 Be Allergen Aware

An estimated 15 million Americans report a food allergy, which impacts their decisions about where to eat and shop. People with food allergies are put at ease when they see purple, the universal color for Allergen Awareness.

Five Steps to be more allergen aware:

  • Create a plan: What tools and procedures are needed to keep your kitchen area compliant?
  • Train your team: Everyone from the kitchen team to the customer-facing staff needs to be trained on procedures for accommodating guests with food allergies
  • Share information: A menu of allergen-safe foods, as well as labeling dishes that contain the eight most common allergens, will help communicate with customers
  • Use color coding: Separating foods within the kitchen (and dining room) with color-coded products will help eliminate cross-contact.
  • Clean and Sanitize Frequently: Allergen Awareness products should be washed and sanitized between each use

Learn more about allergen awareness at or shop Allergen-Safe Products.

7 First Aid and General Safety

All around your business are opportunities to practice proactive safety. Hubert is your source for necessities like first aid, floor mats and more.

Here are some other notable safety tips that should be considered:

  • Keep your first aid kit full to quickly sanitize and bandage small cuts and burns.
  • Glove dispensers should stay stocked with a variety of sizes.
  • Wet Floor Signs are essential for both your staff and customers. They warn people to take extra caution when walking in these areas.
  • Slip-resistant mats are ideal for kitchen floors or other high traffic areas. Rubber mats offer better foot grip and provide a softer and more comfortable walking surface, which gives the feet, knees and other joints better protection from strains and other injuries.
  • Have back supports available and train employees to utilize proper lifting techniques that place minimum stress on the lower back.

Keep in mind, it is vital that your staff is educated on the importance of First Aid essentials and know how to properly use safety gear.