Division of Hotels and Restaurants
Food Safety FAQ
All information on this page is current and was last reviewed by the division on August 3, 2012.
1. Q: Do I have to wear gloves all the time when handling food?
A: No. There is no code requirement that mandates the use of gloves. The Food Code prohibits food employees from contacting exposed, ready-to-eat food with their bare hands and requires them to use utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, dispensing equipment, or single-use gloves. (see question below concerning Alternative Operating Plans.)
2. Q: Is there anything I can do that will allow my employees to touch ready-to-eat food with their bare hands?
A: Yes. There is a provision in the Florida Administrative Code (Title 61-C) that allows an establishment to develop a written Alternative Operating Plan (AOP) that describes the additional food safety and sanitation steps that will be used in order for employees to have direct bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food. For further information about AOPs, contact the Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395.
3. Q: Do all food service employees have to wear a hair net?
A: No. The Food Code requires that employees wear hair restraints that keep their hair from contacting exposed food, clean equipment, utensils, linens, and unwrapped single-service and single-use articles. Other head coverings worn correctly such as hats, caps, or scarves can accomplish this requirement also.
4. Q: Is hair spray considered an adequate hair restraint?
A: No. Hair spray is not considered to be an adequate hair restraint as it is not resistant to the conditions normally found in a food service and cannot meet the minimum performance requirements in the Food Code.
5. Q: How long can food be out of temperature before it needs to be discarded?
A: The amount of time that potentially hazardous food can be held in the temperature danger zone is approximately four (4) hours. A number of risk factors must be considered when evaluating the potential safety risk of a food that has been held at an improper temperature including:
- Total time out of temperature
- Type of handling
- Stage of processing
- Type of bacteria present
- Because it cannot always be determined if a food has passed the point of no return, it is better to be safe than sorry. Make your motto: "When in doubt, throw it out."
6. Q: I want to see if I can make any money in the restaurant business before I rent a location. Can I operate out of my home on a trial basis?
A: No. Food establishment operations cannot be conducted in a private home or even a room used as living or sleeping quarters or an area that opens directly into a room used for such.
7. Q: Can I cook outdoors on a grill if it has a lid?
A: Not routinely. A public food service is allowed to cook outdoors on a covered grill only when participating in a temporary event. For routine usage, the grill must be housed in a properly enclosed room that can be separate from the main building. For further information, contact the Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395.