Laws governing commercial kitchen operations attempt to ensure the health and safety of consumers and restaurant patrons who could become ill by eating contaminated food. Rules for commercial kitchens, established by the county health departments that conduct routine inspections in Illinois, mandate that equipment, food storage and preparation, cleanliness, sanitation, and staff hygiene practices meet public safety standards.
Establishments that sell prepared food to the public, including product manufacturers, restaurants, caterers and food stands, must obtain a license indicating compliance with federal, state and county regulations. Establishments must display the certifications prominently. In operations such as caterers, a licensed kitchen may be leased for food preparation; the kitchen of a private residence is not allowed legally. All facilities are subject to government inspection, the results of which must be available for public review.
Food Handling and Storage
Establishments must protect food storage and preparation from contamination by insects and rodents, exposure to contaminated equipment, or infection by human cold and flu germs. Food handling must include protections from cross-contamination. Food must be stored and refrigerated at safe temperatures and cooked at high enough heat to destroy potential contaminants.
Cleanliness and Hygiene
Employees must be trained to keep equipment, utensils and surfaces sanitized, using approved non-toxic cleaners and warm water. In addition, proper hand-washing procedures must be reinforced. Workers must wear hair coverings to protect food and preparation surfaces. Management must be trained and certified in acceptable sanitation and hygiene standards.
A newsroom veteran since 1982, Gail Ferguson Jones has reported and edited for Dow Jones and "The Star-Ledger" in Newark, N.J., and has won first-place awards in deadline and spot-news reporting. Ferguson Jones is a Rutgers University graduate and completed a jounalism fellowship at the University of Missouri.