Portability, with an Extra Helping of Food Safety

As off-premise eating increases, so does the need to stress food safety.
Hands with soapy water

Nearly every kind of food can be delivered to your door. That’s great for convenience, but a challenge for food safety. The safety standards used for on-premise food consumption—food storage, handling, prep, time and temperature control—should apply off-premise. 

Stress hand-washing

Hand-washing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infection and foodborne illnesses. Hand sanitizer is not a replacement for washing hands with soap and water. All employees should wash their hands before and after their tasks. 

Prevent cross-contamination

Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms are transferred from one substance or object to another. To prevent this, use separate cutting boards and kitchen utensils so ready-to-eat items such as lettuce aren’t contaminated with raw meat, poultry or fish. 

Maintain time and temperature control

Some foods require time and temperature control for safety (TCS) to avoid bacterial overgrowth. All TCS foods need to be kept out of the temperature danger zone (41°F-135°F). Check food temperature after cooking to ensure it is safe for eating. 

Clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces

Any surface—carts, utensils, equipment, tables and serving areas—where food will be served or consumed should be properly cleaned and sanitized.

Handling and holding

Do not leave perishable food out for more than two hours (one hour if the temp is 90°F (32°C) or above). Keep cold items at or below 41°F (5°C) and hot items above 135°F (57°C) so that they stay out of the temperature danger zone. 


Cool hot food from 135°F (57°C) to 70°F (21°C) within two hours and to 41°F (5°C) or below within four hours. Cold foods should also be kept at or below 41°F (5°C).

For additional food safety information, including printable takeout labels, a list of allergenic ingredients and more, sign in to Gordon Experience > Resources > Food Safety Awareness > Forms/Resources.

For food safety questions about your portability program, contact the Nutrition Resource Center by emailing nrc@gfs.com or calling (800) 968-4426.

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