The food preparation process includes strict observation of personal hygiene, continuous application of sanitary food-handling techniques, destroying harmful bacteria,thorough washing, and minimal handling of food throughout the process.


  1. Only employee and regular volunteers (four or more days per month) with current Food Handlers Cards (that are posted) will prepare food for breakfast, lunch, snacks, or cooking projects.
  2. Food must be prepared with a minimum of handling, with suitable utensils, and on surfaces that prior to use have been cleaned, rinsed, and sanitized to prevent cross-contamination.
  3. Raw fruits and vegetables must be thoroughly washed with water before cooking or serving. Tops of cans are washed before opening.
  4. Potentially hazardous food containing milk, meat, poultry, eggs, and fish products are prepared from chilled products as quickly as possible and refrigerated in shallow containers or served immediately.
  5. Potentially hazardous foods requiring cooking (meat, fish, eggs, poultry) must be cooked to proper internal cooking temperature to kill germs; utilizing the temperature guide provided by Lane County Environmental Health:
    1. Poultry and dressing must be cooked to heat all parts of the food to at least 165º Fahrenheit without interruption of the cooking process.
    2. Pork and pork products must be cooked to heat all parts of the food to at least 150º Fahrenheit.
    3. Ground beef must be cooked to at least 155º Fahrenheit.
    4. Other beef, eggs, fish to at least 145º Fahrenheit.
    5. Microwaveable cooking heat to 165º Fahrenheit and let stand for two minutes.
  6. Potentially hazardous foods that have been cooked and then refrigerated must be reheated rapidly and thoroughly to 165º Fahrenheit or more before being served or before being placed in on the table for consumption.
  7. Potentially hazardous foods must be thawed:
    1. Under refrigeration at a temperature below 41º Fahrenheit;
    2. In a microwave oven only when the food is being cooked immediately afterwards.
    3. As part of conventional cooking.
  8. Potentially hazardous food must be kept at an internal temperature of 40º Fahrenheit or below,or at an internal temperature of 140º Fahrenheit or above during the holding period.
  9. Food thermometers must be calibrated daily before use and whenever it is bumped or dropped to ensure correct temperature readings (Post on wall in kitchen).
  10. Two spoons are used for tasting. One spoon dips into the food and transfers it to the other spoon for tasting.
  11. Each serving bowl on the table has a separate spoon or other utensil for serving food. Cover food in bowls to set on table before serving. Use plastic wrap for cold, aluminum foil for hot.
  12. Sufficient amounts of prepared food must be placed on each dinner table or be readily available to provide full required portion of all food components for all children and any adults supervising and eating the meal at the table.
  13. No leftovers from the table will be sent home with children, staff, or adults due to the hazards of bacterial growth. Food left on plates or the table must also be thrown away. Unopened packages and cans may be saved.
  14. Pour milk into clean pitchers for each meal.

This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standard 45 CFR Section 1304.23.
It was approved by Policy Council on October 14, 1997.
Updated July 01. July 2002. July 12004. June 2009, June 2010. September 2015. May 2018

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