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Food-Safety-art - 7/27/09


"Food Safety in the SCA (or How to not kill your friends after they have killed each other!)" by Lady Avelyn Grene.


NOTE: See also the files: fd-transport-msg, fst-disasters-msg, Fst-Managemnt-art, kitchen-clean-msg, kitchn-safety-msg, out-fst-safe-msg, cooks-clothng-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



NOTE: You can find more work by this author on her webpage at: http://www.greneboke.com



Food Safety in the SCA


(or How to not kill your friends after they have killed each other!)


by Lady Avelyn Grene,



Food safety is becoming an increasingly important subject in our organization.  It is really easy to keep our food and our friends safe by following a few guidelines.  


This class will cover the basic guidelines of food safety, as recommended by the FDA.  In the large scheme of health and safety laws, the FDA makes recommendations and states and counties make their laws based on these recommendations.  


Personal Hygiene


-Clothing & Accessories:  

-Clothing should be clean and should not be loose so that it could fall into food or fires.  

-Jewelry should be kept to a minimum.  

-Hair should be restrained by a hair net or hat, and beard-nets should be worn if  necessary.


-Personal Cleanliness:  

-People helping in the kitchen should be clean.  

-Fingernails should be clean, unpolished, and non-acrylic.  

-Eating, drinking, smoking, and chewing gum/tobacco should be limited/excluded from  the kitchen.  


Hand washing:  

-Hand washing is the key component of personal hygiene in food service.  

-Hands should be washed and the beginning and end of any task, when changing  tasks  and/or gloves, after eating/smoking/using the rest room, and after touching the  face or a wound, sneezing, taking out the trash, clearing dishes, or handling foreign  objects (money, weapons, etc).



-Gloves should be worn handling ready-to-eat food, as well as when working with raw  meat.  

-Gloves should always be worn over a bandage on the finger or hand.  

-Gloves should be changed when soiled or torn, when changing tasks, at least every  four hours during continuous use, and before handling ready-to-eat food.



Major commonsense on this one! If you are sick, stay out of the kitchen!







-Toxic Metals

-Copper, lead

-Cleaning chemicals

-Physical Contaminants

-Any foreign objects in food that can be seen.


Prevent Cross contamination!

-Always change gloves and clean and sanitize work areas when changing tasks

-Never use the same utensil for 2 different foods without washing it.


-Food Allergies

-Prevent cross contact

-keep any food someone has an allergy to separate from other food

-Sanitation is of upmost importance


Food Storage

-Food and cook/serving ware should never be stored on the floor.

Storing Food in refrigerators:

-There is a specific order in which food should be stored (based on internal  cooking temps.


1. Ready to eat food

2. Seafood

3. Whole cuts of meat

4. Ground Meat

5. Whole and ground poultry


Handling Food - Temperatures


-Cold food should be held under 41 degrees F.


-Thawing -

4 methods:


-under running water (less than 70 degrees)


-microwave, if cooking immediately


Internal Temperatures



165 F. for 15 seconds


Poultry, stuffed meat, stuffing, dishes that  


include food that has previously been cooked


155 F. for 15 seconds


ground meat, injected meat, eggs to be hot-held


145 F. for 15 seconds


seafood, steaks, chops, eggs served  




145 F. for 4 minutes




135 F.


commercially processed foods, fruits,  


veggies, grains, legumes


Cooling food

-Food must come from 135 to 70 degrees F. within 2 hours of taking off heat.

-Food must be cooled from 70 – 41 F. degrees within 4 hours

-recommended methods for cooling food: ice bath


Reheating food

-Food that is reheated needs to reach 165 degrees within 2 hours


Keeping Your Kitchen Safe

-The kitchen should be clean and regularly sanitized.

-Make sure used cooking ware is put in the appropriate spot to be cleaned

-Wipe down prep areas between tasks


-Cleaning supplies

-When cleaning always wash, rinse and sanitize

-Make sure all cleaning products are used properly

-If using bleach, use only 1 Tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water.


State laws and regulations in the SCA

-Laws and regulations are different in every state/ county.  Check with your local board of health for the regulations that apply to you.


Working with the health inspector

-If you have any questions on food safety contact your local department of health.  The  people working there are happy to help.



Additional Tips and Tricks for Keeping your Food Safe in the SCA


-Take your kitchen situation into account before you get there.

-What kind of kitchen facilities do you have?

-Do you have running water?

-Do you have a place to wash dishes?

-Do you have a way to keep your food at the proper temperatures?


No running water:


Bring water and heat it in a pot or tea kettle.  Fill a water cooler with hot  water (they were designed to keep hot liquids hot!). Set up a station with your  cooler of hot water, soap, paper towels, and a wash tub to catch dirty water.



Use a three tub dishwashing system.  Set one washtub up with hot soapy water  for sanitizing, one with warm water for rinsing, and a last tub with a sanitizing  solution.  You can use either "Quat-Tabs" which can be bought from restaurant  supply stores, or a bleach solution.  In either case, follow the recommended  chemical-to-water solution and make sure your water is the right temperature  (generally around 70 degrees F.).  


Holding food

Hot food

Chafers and roasters are a great way to keep your food warm.

Cold Food

Ice chests are good to keep food cold.

Renting equipment

-If you are serving a large feast you probably want to look into renting holding  equipment.  There are companies that will rent walk in coolers and heating  equipment by day at a relatively low cost.  Look in your local area for  businesses that do this.


Be sure to wash and sanitize coolers at the beginning and end of your feast, and when  switching types of food (meat to veggies or raw to cooked).


If you are saving any kind of meat drippings for gravies, remove them from the pan once an  hour and chill them until you are ready to make your gravy.


Never put a hot food directly into a cooler.


Have gloves, thermometers, and hair restraints readily available for your volunteers.


When in doubt ask!  There are a number of people around you who are willing to help or lend equipment to you if you need it.  If you are unsure of something look it up!  (It's what we do anyway!)


Useful resources:




National Restaurant Association's Recommendations: http://www.restaurant.org/foodsafety/fs_resources.cfm



The following is taken from her blog, "The Commonplace Boke of Avelyn Grene", http://greneboke.blogspot.com/


Appendix 1. Contaminants


Contaminants are large contributing factor to food-born illness. A contaminant,  as you may have guessed, is any object or particle that does not belong in your food (so basically, if it is not food and it is in your food it is a contaminant). Contaminants can be things we can see, but they can also things too small for our eyes to see. There are three types of contaminants; biological, chemical and physical.


Biological contaminants are generally pathogens, but also come in the form of mold, spores, fermentation, and worms.


Biological contaminants can be avoided by purchasing food from reputable vendors, ensuring time and temperature control, and by preventing cross contamination (hygiene!).


Chemical contaminants often occur in two types of situations. The first is that household chemicals are not properly stored. They should be kept in cabinets or tubs, away from food and food preparation areas, to avoid contact with food. Chemicals can also contaminate food by being used in concentrations higher than recommended. Be sure to read the label on all chemical containers. Also, some chemical reactions occur when certain foods come in contact with certain types of metals, for example, tomatoes and copper. Make sure to be aware of the metals in your kitchen and how you are using them.


Physical Contaminants are foreign objects that can be seen in the food (as long as they are large enough to see). Take care when opening cans (paper and metal filings can fall into your food), washing dishes (scrubbing

implements can "shed"), and to wash hands thoroughly and be careful

of your fingernails and any bandages.


Appendix 2. Food Safety - Tips for Food Storage


Food and cook/serving ware should never be stored on the floor.


All kitchen items (food, utensils, etc) should be stored 6" from off the floor. This protects your food/equipment from outside contaminants such as pests and spills (not to mention being stepped on!)


Food should only be stored in food-grade containers such as Ziplock bags or Tupperware. Storing food in containers not made for food could allow your food to pick up any harmful chemicals in the container you are using.


Always make sure you clean and sanitize your containers before you use them!


Storing Food in refrigerators:


-There is a specific order in which food should be stored which is based on the internal cooking temperatures of each particular kind of food - the higher the internal cooking temperature, the lower you place it in the refrigerator. The reasoning for this is that if anything should drip from an upper shelf to a lower shelf, the dripping will be cooked at a temperature higher than the temp it needs to be considered "safe."


Top Shelf: Ready to eat food

2nd Shelf: Seafood

3rd Shelf: Whole cuts of meat

4th Shelf: Ground Meat

Bottom Shelf: Whole and ground poultry


If you need to, you can store seafood with whole cuts of meat, as their internal cooking temperatures are the same.


Copyright 2009 by Kristen Sullivan. <avelyn at greneboke.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org