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The 4 Basic Food Safety Principles You Must Know

05.31.22 | Food Safety

The food safety principles serve as a guideline for maintaining hygiene while preparing food. It represents some practices that must be followed by anyone preparing food to reduce the risk of food poisoning. If these food principles are not followed, there is a high risk that you are serving unsafe food that may pose health threats to anyone who consumes it.

Six hundred million experience food poisoning after eating contaminated food every year. Therefore, food safety is a crucial topic to save people from falling ill due to the consumption of unhealthy food.

Implementing the food safety first principles for food handlers can be difficult. However, these basic food safety principles can make a huge difference. There is no other way to detect contamination of food. Therefore, it is essential to learn and implement these basic food safety principles to ensure that your food does not become the cause of foodborne illness.

The four basic food safety principles

Food safety is a set of procedures that everyone who prepares food should adhere to decrease infection risk. For example, you risk preparing and serving food in an unsanitary setting, placing everyone who consumes that meal at significant risk of foodborne disease.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when it comes to food safety. There’s a lot to learn, and implementing these techniques in your business may seem daunting. However, even following the most basic food safety guidelines may significantly impact.

These are the food safety principles laid down by UDSA. But first, let’s dive into the detailed discussion of each practice.

  1. Clean
  2. Separate
  3. Cook
  4. Chill


Food Safety Principle One, Clean

One of the most common causes of foodborne diseases is the transmission of germs, which is why it’s critical to remember that a clean kitchen is a safe kitchen. Hands are the most common source of this problem. If you haven’t wholly cleansed your hands before starting, it’s too simple to bring bacteria into touch with food.

This should be done with hot, soapy water and go up to your forearms. If you’re not sure how to do it correctly, instructional tutorials are available that will teach you how to cover all of your hands.

The kitchen set, in general, is a natural extension of this. Before utilizing any work surfaces, make sure they are well-cleaned and free of cleaning agents. This also applies to kitchen appliances and utensils.


Food separation is one way to avoid contamination. This might entail storing raw meat in leak-proof containers to prevent juices from spreading to other foods. Unless you keep raw meat, poultry, shellfish, and eggs separate, viruses can transfer to ready-to-eat meals.

For shellfish, raw meat, and poultry, use separate cutting boards and plates.

Keep raw fish, meat, poultry, and fluids apart from other foods while shopping.

Refrigerate raw meat, poultry, fish, and eggs separately from all other foods.

Food Safety Principle Two, Seperate


Food Safety Principle Three, Cook

Cooking is an essential aspect of food safety. It may seem self-evident, but it’s more about how you cook than whether or not you remember to cook the raw chicken. It’s critical to prepare chicken and other foods that might harbor germs fully.

Never return to the same plate or chopping board that the raw meat was on after adequately cooking.


The importance of food storage cannot be overstated. After being prepared, many foods must be kept in either a dry place out of direct sunlight or in a refrigerator with precise temperature requirements.

It’s also vital to note how long we may store and eat these foods before they become unsafe while keeping them in their proper condition.

Another crucial point to consider is the storage location. To avoid cross-contamination, keep meat or any food products that might potentially spill and store other food items on the bottom shelf.

Food Safety Principle Four, Chill

Besides, the temperature range between 41 – 135 degrees Fahrenheit is often considered unhealthy for your food, and the temperature range from 70 – 125 degrees Fahrenheit is when foodborne bacteria proliferate at their fastest. Bacteria will develop on your food if it rests in this temperature range for an extended period of time.

Now You Know!

Now that you have an idea of the different factors that keep your food safe, we hope that you won’t have to compromise on the overall quality. On the contrary, we hope you will now be making the most of your food with this. Besides, you could always consider switching to technical help via platforms like MaintainIQ. This platform helps you keep a tab on the health of food items and automate preventive tasks. Wait no more; connect your food with technology today. All the best!

Poster for 4 Basic Food Safety Principles (Printable)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a consequence of poor food safety principles?

Poor food safety gives way to the risk of bacterial infestation. It may lead to food poisoning and other health ailments like vomiting, Diarrhea.

It also adversely affects the business reputation leading to declining in sales.

Poor food safety principles may also attract the attention of the FSA and local authorities. It may lead to investigation and finally the closure of your food business.

What is variance in food safety management principles?

A “variance” in food safety management refers to a written document that the Regulatory Authority may issue to authorize a waiver or modification of the 2009 NC Food Code. It states clearly about the modified activity will not result in any health hazard or nuisance in the opinion of the Regulatory Authority. NC Variance Committee evaluates the variance request based on the best available science provided by the applicant.

Some food processing requires both Variance and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plan.

What are the time and temp principles of food safety?

The bacterial growth in food can be inhibited by following the time and temp food principles of food safety. The “danger zone” for potentially unsafe food is 135 degrees F to 41 degrees F. According to the FDA Food Code, a food must not remain in the danger zone for more than a cumulative 4 hours during any time of the food preparation. This also applies to cooling and reheating the foods. You can prepare charts to measure the time and temperature with the help of a thermometer and timer. In the case of rapid cooling of hot foods, it can be a challenge as it usually takes 6 hours in the danger zone in the two stages of the cooling method: 2hours in 140 to 70 degrees F and 4 hours in 70 to 40 degrees F.

Will Jocson

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