It is critical that the person in charge (PIC) of a food establishment is knowledgeable about food safety. A lack of food safety knowledge can have serious consequences to your customers and your business.

A PIC is required to

  • Have food safety knowledge
  • Take appropriate preventive and corrective actions (including excluding ill food workers)
  • Demonstrate knowledge to the regulatory authority
Food Safety Knowledge

The PIC must be able to recognize hazards that may contribute to foodborne illness and be able to take appropriate preventive and corrective actions. The PIC must have knowledge of the basics of proper food handling, Food Code requirements, and operating procedures within the establishment.

Preventive and Corrective Actions

The PIC must ensure that all provisions of the Food Code are followed, including that:

  • Food preparation and storage occurs in proper areas.
  • Employees effectively wash their hands as needed.
  • Food is received in good condition and from approved sources.
  • Potentially hazardous foods are properly prepared, cooked, cooled, handled and stored.
  • Consumer advisories are posted if needed.
  • Proper methods are used to sanitize surfaces, utensils and equipment.
  • Ill employees and unauthorized people are excluded or restricted as appropriate.
  • Employees with illnesses transmissible through food are reported to the health authority.
  • Bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods is prevented.
  • Employees have valid food worker cards and are properly trained for their duties.
Demonstration of Knowledge

During an inspection, the PIC will need to demonstrate knowledge to the inspector. Knowledge must be demonstrated in one of three ways:

  • Compliance with the Code. No "Red" High Risk violations noted on the current inspection report. OR
  • Certification. Valid certificate from an ANSI-accredited manager certification course (i.e. ServSafe®). OR
  • Knowledge. Correct answers to food safety questions asked by the inspector.

What kind of questions will be asked of the Person In Charge? If the establishment has "Red" High Risk violations during its inspection and the PIC does not have a valid manager certificate, the PIC must correctly respond to questions regarding food safety practices. The regulatory authority may not ask questions that do not relate to the food handling in your operation. Depending on the foods prepared at your establishment, the questions will be from areas of knowledge such as these:

1. Foodborne Disease a. Relationships between foodborne disease, bare hand contact, personal hygiene, and cross contamination b. Prevention of transmission by an ill food employee c. The modes of transmission

2. Potentially Hazardous Foods a. The hazards involved in eating undercooked animal products b. Temperatures and times for receiving, holding, cooling, cooking, and reheating

3. Contamination Prevention a. Proper food storage and handling b. The procedure for cleaning and sanitizing utensils and other food contact surfaces c. Protecting the water source, including the prevention of cross connections d. Identifying toxic materials and ensuring safe handling, storage, and disposal

4. Operating Procedures a. Food safety procedures in the establishment b. Explanation of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Plan (HACCP) ,if required at the establishment c. The responsibilities of food workers, PICs, and the regulatory authority as stated in the food rule

For more information on Demonstrating Knowledge: