U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets strict regulations that fast food restaurants must follow. These regulations cover the cleanliness of the restaurant and kitchen, the appearance of employees, how equipment should be used and how certain types of meat and food must be stored within the facility. If FDA rules are violated, it could cause potential safety risks and health concerns for employees and customers. Violations found during health inspections may result in hefty fines or a mandated closing of the restaurant.
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Fast food employees are required to arrive to work groomed and bathed. Their hair should be tied back and held away from the face with a hairnet. Fingernails should be kept short with no artificial nails. Employees must wash their hands after using the bathroom. Employees must wear rubber latex gloves while handling and serving all food.
Fast food restaurants must store all food in separate containers to avoid cross contamination. Cross contamination occurs when contaminated food comes in contact with other foods and bacteria is then spread. All food must be labelled and dated upon receipt. The food items received first must be used first.
FDA regulations also require food to be properly refrigerated and kept at a temperature below 4.44 degrees Celsius. According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service, temperatures above 4.44 degrees C allow bacteria to grow and spread.
The FDA in recent years has asked fast food restaurants to encourage consumers to make healthier food choices. Today, fast food restaurants are providing nutrition information on their menus or food packages. The FDA continues to push fast food to market smaller portions and healthier options for kids and parents and educate the public about the dangers of trans fatty foods.
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