St. Peters Food
The City of St. Peters Health
Department conducts inspections of all food service establishments in
the City. These establishments include restaurants, caterers, schools,
delicatessens, temporary and permanent food stands, taverns, day cares,
bakeries, and frozen dessert stands. The City's Public Health
Sanitarian conducts these unannounced inspections. During an
inspection, food workers’ practices are evaluated. These practices
include the manner at which food is received and stored, how foods are
processed, and the temperatures used to cook, hold and reheat foods. Any violation observed during the inspection is recorded on the
Violations are assigned points depending on its
severity (2 points for core violations, and 5 points for critical violations). The weighted points are
added together, and then subtracted from 100. This becomes the rating
A "+" sign is added to the rating score when the food establishment has
their employees immunized for hepatitis A (i.e., A+, B+, or C+).
A follow-up inspection is usually conducted within 10 days to verify
that critical violations have been corrected. When critical violations
have not been corrected during a re-inspection or if the operation of a
food service establishment constitutes a substantial hazard to the
public, the Health Official may, without warning, notice or hearing,
suspend any license to operate the food service establishment.
BACK TO THE TOP
FAQs about Food Safety
What is the best way to thaw frozen foods?
To thaw meat,
fish, poultry, as well as other foods, the best method is to take it out
of the freezer and place it into the refrigerator. Place it in a
plastic bag or in a pan or dish to prevent juices from dripping onto
other foods. A 1-inch steak will thaw in 12 to 14 hours. A 1-inch
thick package of ground beef will defrost in 24 hours. For quick
thawing, use the microwave oven according to manufacturer directions and
then cook defrosted food immediately.
Are unrefrigerated lunches at risk?
There is a risk
anytime perishable food is left at room temperature for more than two
hours. To reduce the risk, freeze something to be included with the
lunch such as a juice box or a small plastic container of water, which
will keep the food cool until lunchtime. A small re-freezable ice pack,
like those used in coolers, is also useful.
What is the proper way to handle leftovers?
results, use small, shallow containers (less than 2 inches deep) to
freeze and refrigerate leftovers. Cut large portions into smaller
portions to speed cooling time. Leave airspace between containers to
allow circulation of cold air and help ensure rapid, even cooling. Before serving, cover and reheat leftovers to over 165 degrees
How should you select and use cutting boards?
boards can harbor bacteria in cracks and grooves caused by knives. But
with little effort, plastic, a hard wood, such as maple, or any
nonporous surface can be used safely if used properly. Here's how:
- CHOOSE A GOOD SURFACE: Select a board that can be cleaned
easily, that is smooth, durable and nonabsorbent. Plastic is less
porous than wood, making it less likely to harbor bacteria and easier
- WASH YOUR BOARD: Wash your cutting board with hot water, soap and even a scrub brush, to remove food and dirt particles.
- SANITIZE YOUR BOARD: After washing it, sanitize your board in
the dishwasher or by rinsing it in a diluted chlorine bleach solution of 1
tablespoon bleach to 1 gallon of water. You can keep such a solution
handy in a spray bottle near the sink.
What food safety precautions should I take when shopping at
While shopping, you should keep raw meat,
poultry, seafood and eggs separate from ready-to-eat foods in your
grocery shopping cart and your grocery bags. Consider placing these raw
foods inside plastic bags to keep the juices contained. Also,
transport food home right away and refrigerate perishables immediately
to prevent any bacteria from rapidly multiplying in the food. When the
weather is hot, place the groceries in the air-conditioned compartment
of your car rather than in the hot trunk.
REMEMBER: Always clean and sanitize your board after using it for
raw meat, poultry, and seafood, and before using it for read-to-eat
What is the proper temperature for your refrigerator?
should stay at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or less. A temperature of 41
degrees Fahrenheit or less is important because it slows the growth of
most bacteria. The temperature won’t kill the bacteria, but it will
keep them from multiplying. The fewer the bacteria, the less likely you
are to get sick from them. Freezing at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less stops bacterial growth
(although it won’t kill all bacteria already present).
TO THE TOP
In-Home Food Safety Tips
Be sure to follow these tips from the St. Peters Health Department when it comes to food preparation, handling and serving at home:
- Don’t leave food sitting out in the “danger zone.” Harmful bacteria will multiply more quickly when perishable foods are left in the danger zone (between 41-135 degrees Fahrenheit). This can lead to food borne illnesses. If food is sitting out at room temperature (about 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit), it must be discarded after two hours. If it is sitting out at a temperate above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it must be thrown out after just one hour.
- Keep cold foods cold. When hosting a party, prepare a number of smaller portions ahead of time and store in a refrigerator or cooler with ice. Refrigerator temperatures should be between 32 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Replace serving dishes with fresh ones throughout the party.
- Keep hot foods hot in chafing dishes, slow cookers, or warming trays. Hot foods should be kept at a minimum internal temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to keep bacteria at bay (use a stem food thermometer).
- Prevent contamination by always practicing proper hand washing, and using gloves when touching foods that will not be cooked after handling. Remember to change gloves frequently, as they can also be a source of contamination when handling other items or foods. Hand sanitizer is an excellent follow-up, but NEVER should replace hand washing.
Codes & Tips for Safe Produce
Whether it’s from your garden, local grocery store or a restaurant, produce must be washed and handled safely before eaten. What do restaurants do to ensure safe produce, and what can you do when buying from a grocer or preparing fruits and vegetables at home?
Restaurants must follow federal food codes that require raw fruits and vegetables to be thoroughly washed in water to remove soil and other contaminants before being cut, combined with other ingredients, cooked, served or offered for human consumption in ready-to-eat form.
By federal code, restaurant employees may not contact exposed, ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands and shall use suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single-use gloves or dispensing equipment.
Restaurants may also use approved commercial food-grade sanitizers to wash whole fruits and vegetables.
The City of St. Peters Health Department has several trained Food and Health Inspectors who make unannounced visits to every restaurant in the City four times a year. Inspectors check to see that restaurants are following these and other food codes.
When buying from a grocery store, you can help keep produce safe by making wise buying decisions:
- Purchase produce that is not bruised or damaged.
- When selecting fresh-cut produce — such as a half a watermelon or bagged mixed salad greens — choose only those items that are refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
- Bag fresh fruits and vegetables separately from meat, poultry and seafood products when packing them to take home from the market.
When you get fresh produce home, follow these tips for proper storage and handling to maintain both food quality and safety:
- Certain perishable fresh fruits and vegetables (such as strawberries, lettuce, herbs, and mushrooms) can be best maintained by storing in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If you’re not sure whether an item should be refrigerated to maintain quality, ask your grocer.
- All produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled should be refrigerated to maintain both quality and safety. Keep your refrigerator set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Use a fridge thermometer to check.
- Begin with clean hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
- Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing and/or eating. Produce that looks rotten should be discarded.
- All produce should be thoroughly washed with water before eating. This includes produce grown conventionally or organically at home, or produce that is purchased from a grocery store or farmer’s market. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking.
- Commercial food-safe produce washes are available for purchase. Please be sure to follow the directions carefully when using these products.
- Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush.
- Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first.
- Drying produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel may further reduce bacteria that may be present.
- Many pre-cut, bagged produce items like lettuce are pre-washed and say so on the packaging. You can use the pre-washed, bagged produce without further washing, or you can take an extra measure of caution and wash the produce again. Pre-cut or pre-washed produce in open bags should be washed before using.
- Keep fruits and vegetables that will be eaten raw separate from other foods such as raw meat, poultry or seafood — and from kitchen utensils used for those products.
TO THE TOP