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For Immediate Release: October 23, 2005
Contact: Meg Shannon (850) 443-9775

DBPR Reminds Restaurant Owners to Follow Safe Operating Procedures

Tallahassee – The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s (DBPR) Division of Hotels and Restaurants urges food service operators throughout the state to take special measures during power or water outages and other emergency conditions.

“After an emergency, it is especially critical that those operating food service establishments take appropriate precautions in order to ensure the safety of their patrons,” said Secretary Simone Marstiller.

The Division performs critical inspections in the aftermath of significant weather events. For crucial public health reasons, it is imperative that inspection staff deploy as soon as possible following a hurricane. Due to emergency factors such as flooding or loss of power, food service operators must ensure food remains safe. The division provides emergency recovery guidelines and performs abbreviated inspections to ensure operators have the ability to safely operate. Following the 2004 storms, the division completed nearly 13,000 emergency recovery inspections.

In the aftermath of such events, food service operators must overcome the effects of utility interruptions, flooding, compromised water supplies and structural damage and ensure the safety of their food supplies and their ability to safely serve it. Food that has warmed due to of lack of refrigeration or that has been contaminated by floodwater, storm debris or other contaminants, poses the greatest potential for foodborne illness. In the wake of emergency events, operators should take the following precautions:

  • Assure that all potentially hazardous food has been maintained at 41° F or below. Food that has been out of temperature for more than 4 hours must be discarded in a manner that does not create a sanitary nuisance.
  • Clean and sanitize all contaminated equipment and food-contact surfaces with potable or boiled water.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling foods.
  • Maintain hot foods at temperatures of 140°F or above.
  • Maintain cold foods at temperatures of 41°F or below.
  • Take food temperatures frequently.
  • Cook ground beef to a minimum of 155°F; cook chicken to a minimum of 165°F; and cook pork to a minimum of 145°F.
  • Heat foods quickly and cool foods rapidly.
  • Use single-service articles whenever possible. · Keep food covered and protected from dust, dirt, insects, vermin and other contaminants.
  • Do not use swollen, leaking or damaged canned goods.
  • Do not use containers of food with screw type closures that contacted floodwater or
  • other liquid contaminants.

When a “Boil Water Notice” is issued by the local Health Department, operators must observe the following procedures:

  • Do not serve water from faucets until local authorities advise the water is safe for consumption. Use only bottled and/or boiled water from an approved source. Boil water at a rolling boil for five minutes.
  • Do not use ice from ice machines or ice making refrigerators. Ice present in ice machines after a power outage should be discarded and machines not restarted until water supply is approved.
  • Sanitize interior of ice machine with two teaspoons (100+ ppm) of household bleach in one gallon of water. Sanitize ice trays in refrigerators with the same strength bleach solution.
  • Do not cook with or use tap water in food or salad preparation until cleared by local authorities. Use bottled and/or boiled water for these purposes.
  • Do not use tap water for handwashing. Use bottled and/or boiled water. Follow your handwashing by using a sanitizing solution on the hands. This may be accomplished by using a commercial hand sanitizing lotion requiring no rinse or a chlorine bleach solution of two teaspoons of household bleach in one gallon of water.
  • Disconnect or turn off drinking fountains and post-mix beverage machines so that they cannot be used.
  • Manually wash, rinse and sanitize dishes with bottled and/or boiled water utilizing a 3-compartment sink in the approved manner as usual.

Operators will be advised by either the local Health Department and/or the news media when a “Boil Water Notice” has been lifted. After the “Boil Water Notice” has been lifted, operators must allow water to run for three minutes at each tap to flush the lines with safe water.

The Division of Hotels and Restaurants is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of the public through education in partnership with industry. DBPR licenses nearly 1 million businesses and professionals ranging from real estate agents, veterinarians, and accountants to contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit www.MyFlorida.com/dbpr.


Last updated: November 09, 2007

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