Every business — no matter the industry — has a person in charge who is responsible for managing the company’s overall operations.
Foodservice is no different — there must be always be a person in charge to ensure smooth and safe operations.
However, you may wonder what defines a person in charge and what responsibilities they have.
This article explains who is considered a person in charge and what responsibilities they have to keep food safe.
Who is the person in charge?
The person in charge is the one who is responsible for a foodservice operation at the time of a health inspection.
This person must also recognize conditions that may contribute to foodborne illness and take appropriate preventive and corrective action.
Multiple people can serve as the person in charge but there must be at least one person in charge on duty during all hours of foodservice operations.
Most states and municipalities require that the person in charge receive food safety and management training and pass an exam that meets specific standards and is part of an accredited program (1).
Health inspectors and surveyors use this certification as evidence that the person in charge has knowledge of foodborne illness prevention, hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) principles, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code.
However, the person in charge must still be able to answer questions asked by health inspectors and surveyors correctly to demonstrate knowledge of these topics.
The person in charge is responsible for foodservice operations at the time of a health inspection and survey. This person must also be able to identify conditions that may contribute to foodborne illness and take preventive and corrective actions.
Responsibilities of the person in charge
The person in charge has many important duties — after all, they are responsible for all foodservice operations.
Here are the main responsibilities of the person in charge (1):
- Prevent people unnecessary to foodservice operations from entering dishwashing and food preparation and storage areas, unless authorized.
- Ensure that vendors like delivery and maintenance workers who enter food preparation areas comply with the FDA Food Code.
- Ensure that employees are washing their hands correctly and when they become contaminated.
- Ensure that employees are receiving food at safe temperatures, checking for signs of contamination, and storing food safely.
- Ensure that employees are properly handling and cooking time-temperature control for safety (TCS) foods to safe minimum internal temperatures.
- Ensure that employees safely thaw food using one of the three approved methods.
- Ensure that employees are safely cooling food using the two-stage cooling process.
- Ensure that employees are holding hot and cold foods at the proper temperatures.
- Educate non-susceptible consumers who order raw or partially cooked ready-to-eat (RTE) animal products about the increase risk of foodborne illness.
- Ensure that employees are properly washing and sanitizing all food contact surfaces.
- Ensure that employees avoid bare hand contact with RTE foods.
- Ensure that employees are properly trained in food safety, including food allergy awareness.
- Ensure that employees understand which information they must report about their health to reduce the spread of foodborne illness, and notify the health department of certain symptoms and diseases.
The primary responsibilities of the person in charge is to ensure employees are practicing good food safety principles to prevent the development and spread of foodborne illness.
The bottom line
Every foodservice operation must have a person in charge on duty during all hours of operation.
This person is responsible for foodservice operations at the time of a health inspection or survey, and must identify situation that can lead to foodborne illness to take corrective and preventive actions.
The person in charge must ensure that employees receive, store, prepare, cook, hold, and cool food safely, and understand which health information they must report to prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses.
Get Our Food Safety Newsletter
Be among the first to know when we release new courses and articles.