Food Companies - Person in Charge (PIC)

PIC Required Knowledge

  1. Describe the relationship between the prevention of foodborne disease and the personal hygiene of a food employee.
    • Good hygienic practices reduce the risk of food contamination. Practices include: proper handwashing for 20 seconds; avoiding bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods; not touching ready-to-eat foods after touching raw foods.
    • Clean hands are critical in preventing the spread of diseases. If food handlers fail to properly wash their hands after using the toilet, touching various body parts such as the nose or mouth areas, or after handling raw animal foods, they have the potential to spread harmful bacteria or viruses to the food. Handwashing is equally important after handling garbage, touching hair, or before handling food. Improper handwashing can result in foodborne illness.
  2. Explain the responsibility of the person in charge (PIC) for preventing the transmission of foodborne disease by a food employee who has a disease or medical condition that may cause foodborne disease.
    • The employee shall report to the PIC symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting or other acute gastroenteritis, or if he/she has been diagnosed with a foodborne illness disease.
    • The PIC must:
      • Let the employee know what symptoms and illnesses to report,
      • Restrict any person from the work place who has diarrhea or vomiting,
      • Exclude a food employee from working with food, equipment, or utensils if the employee has a bacterial pathogen capable of being transmitted through food such as Norovirus, Hepatitis A virus, Shigella spp., Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia Coli, Salmonella Typhi, or nontyphoidal Salmonella; and
      • Properly cover cuts, wounds, or open sores on the hands or arms with a waterproof bandage and single use glove.
  3. Describe the symptoms associated with the diseases that are transmissible through food.
    • Common symptoms associated with an acute gastrointestinal illness:
      • Diarrhea,
      • Fever,
      • Vomiting,
      • Jaundice, or
      • Sore throat with fever.
  4. Explain the significance of the relationship between maintaining the time/temperature control for safety food (TCS Food) and the prevention of foodborne illness.
    • Disease causing bacteria grow best in the “temperature danger zone” between 41°F and 135°F. The goal is to either keep foods entirely out of this danger zone, or to pass foods through very quickly. When foods pass through quickly, any bacteria present are not allowed an adequate time period to grow. Always remember to keep hot foods hot (135°F or higher) and cold foods cold (41°F or lower).
  5. Explain the hazards involved in the consumption of raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, and fish.
    • Raw foods of animal origin may contain different types of harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites. It is important to cook these foods to safe temperatures, for specific amounts of time, in order to kill these organisms.
  6. State the required food temperatures and times for safe cooking of time/temperature control for safety food (TCS Food) including cattle, swine, sheep, goats, poultry, eggs, and fish.

145°F for 15 Seconds

155°F for 15 Seconds

165°F for 15 Seconds

  • Raw Eggs for Immediate Service
  • Fish, Cattle, Swine, Sheep and Goats

(Cuts Not Mechanically Tenderized, Injected, Comminuted, or Stuffed)

  • Commercially Raised Game Animals Under a Voluntary Inspection Program
  • Raw Eggs for Hot Holding
  • Ratites
  • Mechanically Tenderized, or Injected Cuts, of Cattle, Swine, Sheep and Goats
  • Comminuted (Chopped, Flaked, Ground or Minced) Cattle, Swine, Sheep, Goats, Fish, or Commercially Raised Game Animals Under a Voluntary Inspection Program
  • Poultry, Baluts and Wild Game Animals
  • Stuffed Fish, Cattle, Swine, Sheep, Goats, Pasta, Ratites and Poultry
  • Stuffing Containing Cattle, Swine, Sheep, Goats, Poultry, or Ratites.
  • Raw Animal Foods Cooked in a Microwave Oven


  1. State the required temperatures and times for the safe refrigerated storage, hot holding, cooling, and reheating of time/temperature control for safety food (TCS Food).
    • Hold cold foods at 41°F or below.
    • Hold hot foods at 135°F or above.
    • Reheat foods for hot holding to 165°F for at least 15 seconds.
    • Reheat commercially processed food (from a processing plant) to 135°F for hot holding.
    • Store frozen foods in a frozen condition (hard to the touch).
    • Cool properly cooked foods from 135°F to 70°F within 2 hours, and from 135°F to 41°F or less within a total of 6 hours.
    • Cool foods to 41°F within 4 hours if prepared from ingredients at room temperature (such as reconstituted foods and canned tuna).
    • Reheat food in a microwave oven to 165°F. The food should be rotated or stirred, and covered during heating, and allowed to stand covered for 2 minutes after reheating.
  2. Describe the relationship between the prevention of foodborne illness and the management and control of the following:
    • Cross Contamination: Harmful microorganisms or substances may be introduced into foods by cross contamination. Examples of cross- contamination include: Contaminating cooked foods with drippings from raw foods; ready to eat foods touching improperly cleaned and sanitized equipment, cutting boards, utensils, thermometers or other insanitary food contact surfaces; failure to wash hands and put on gloves before touching ready to eat foods after handling raw foods, soiled clothing, or other contaminated items. Foodborne illness causing organisms need several hours to adapt to new conditions before rapidly reproducing in the new environment. It is extremely important to properly clean and sanitize room temperature surfaces and utensils every 4 hours, or after their use to prevent contamination. Equipment must also be cleaned and sanitized between working with raw and ready to eat foods. In addition, raw foods must be physically separated from cooked or ready to eat foods in storage or preparation.
    • Hand Contact with Ready-to-Eat Foods: Employees must be very careful not to transfer harmful organisms to ready to eat foods because they will not be cooked again. Hands and fingernails may contaminate the food being prepared. Employees may contaminate food by touching it with their hands, or gloves, after touching their nose or other body parts. Bare hand contact with ready to eat foods is prohibited. Employees must use gloves, tongs, or tissues to handle ready to eat foods. Hands must be thoroughly washed before putting on gloves.
    • Handwashing: Good personal hygiene, including proper and frequent hand washing, is one of the most effective ways to prevent foodborne illness. Any activity that may contaminate the hands, such as using the toilet, handling raw foods, touching contaminated surfaces or equipment, or non-food handling activities such as handling money or sweeping the floor, must be followed by thorough handwashing. Proper handwashing includes the use of handsoap and lathering hands and exposed portions of arms for at least 20 seconds, followed by rinsing with clean water. A nail brush may also be used to clean the fingertips and underneath fingernails. Workers must wash their hand in the toilet room after using the restroom, and then again, when re-entering the food preparation area
    • Maintaining the Food Establishment in a Clean Condition and in Good Repair: Soiled or damaged food contact surfaces provide places for bacteria to hide and optimum conditions for their growth. Good sanitation is necessary to prevent cross contamination from occurring as a result of soiled food equipment. Improperly maintained building areas may provide food and harborage areas for insects and rodents. These conditions can be minimized through proper sanitation. Pest control is a key component of sanitation.
  3. Describe foods identified as major food allergens and the symptoms that a major food allergen could cause in a sensitive individual who has an allergic reaction.
    • Major food allergens are milk, eggs, fish (such as bass, flounder, cod, and including crustacean shellfish such as crab, lobster, or shrimp), tree nuts (such as almonds, pecans, or walnuts), wheat, peanuts, and soybeans; or a food ingredient that contains protein derived from one of these above-mentioned foods.
    • Symptoms of food allergy can affect many parts of your body, including your:
      • Digestive System: Symptoms include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, itching in the mouth and throat, and rectal bleeding (rare in adults). These symptoms occur more often in children than in adults.
      • Skin: Symptoms include hives or welts, swelling, itching, redness, and eczema. Skin reactions are common in children.
      • Respiratory System: Symptoms include coughing; wheezing; an itchy, stuffy, runny nose; sneezing; and trouble breathing.
    • Symptoms vary from mild to life-threatening and can appear from within minutes to days of eating a food. The most severe reaction is anaphylaxis, which affects many body systems and can be deadly. Anaphylaxis can start within a few minutes to a few hours after you eat the food, and the symptoms can go away and come back hours later.
  4. Explain the relationship between food safety and providing equipment that is:
    • Sufficient in Number and Capacity: The ability of equipment to cool, heat, and maintain time/temperature control for safety foods at the required temperatures is critical to food safety. Improper holding and cooking temperatures continue to be major contributing factors to foodborne illness. Therefore, it is very important to have adequate hot or cold holding equipment with enough capacity to meet the heating and cooling demands of the operation
    • Properly Designed, Constructed, Located, Installed, Operated, Maintained, and Cleaned:
      • Equipment and utensils must be designed and constructed to be durable and capable of retaining their original characteristics to maintain their easy cleanability. Otherwise, they may become difficult to clean, allowing for the harborage of pathogenic microorganisms, insects, and rodents.
      • Equipment and utensils must be designed and constructed so that parts do not break and end up in food as foreign objects or present injury hazards to consumers. Surfaces that are unable to be routinely cleaned and sanitized because of the materials used could harbor foodborne pathogens. Deterioration of the surfaces of equipment, such as pitting, may inhibit adequate cleaning of the surfaces of equipment; so that food prepared on or in the equipment becomes contaminated.
      • Food equipment and the food that contacts the equipment must be protected from sources of overhead contamination such as leaking or ruptured water or sewer pipes, dripping condensate, and falling objects. When equipment is installed, it must be situated with consideration of the potential for contamination from such overhead sources.
      • Fixed equipment should be installed in a way that allows accessibility for cleaning on all sides, above, and underneath the units or minimizes the need for cleaning due to closely abutted surfaces; ensures that equipment that is subject to moisture is sealed; prevents the harborage of insects and rodents; and provides accessibility for the monitoring of pests.
      • Failure to properly maintain equipment could place the health of the consumer at risk. Refrigeration units in disrepair may no longer be capable of properly cooling or holding time/temperature control for safety foods at safe temperatures. The cutting or piercing parts of can openers may accumulate metal fragments that could lead to food containing foreign objects and, possibly, result in consumer injury. Adequate cleaning and sanitization of dishes and utensils using a warewashing machine is directly dependent on the exposure time during the wash, rinse, and sanitizing cycles. Failure to meet manufacturer and Department requirements for cycle times could result in failure to clean and sanitize. High temperature machines depend on the buildup of heat on the surface of dishes to accomplish sanitization. If the exposure time during any of the cycles is not met, the surface of the items may not reach the time-temperature parameter required for sanitization. Contact time is also important in warewashing machines that use a chemical sanitizer since the sanitizer must contact the items long enough for sanitization to occur. In addition, a chemical sanitizer will not sanitize a dirty dish; therefore, the cycle times during the wash and rinse phases are critical to sanitization.
  5. Explain correct procedures for cleaning and sanitizing utensils and food-contact surfaces of equipment.
    • Warewashing Machines: Should be operated in accordance with the machine’s data plate and other manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Manual Warewashing in a 3 Compartment Sink: Wash in hot soapy water (minimum temperature 110°F). Rinse in clean water. Sanitize by immersion in hot water (171°F) for 30 seconds, or immersion for a specified amount of time in an approved chemical sanitizing solution of proper concentration.
    • Chemical sanitizers shall be used according to manufacturer’s label/mixing instructions. Whether hot water (171°F) or a chemical is used, they must be used and maintained at the proper temperature or concentration. Examples of sanitizer concentration levels:
      • Chlorine: Typically at least 50 mg/L, but no more than 100 mg/L, for 10 seconds;
      • Quaternary Ammonia: According to the label instructions (usually 200-300 ppm). ;
      • Iodine: Concentration between 12.5 mg/L to 25 mg/L.
    • A test kit (test strips) and thermometer must be available and used to check for proper temperatures and concentrations.
    • Wiping cloths are usually used for sanitizing tables, slicers, and other contact surfaces. Between uses, these cloths must be stored in a clean, chemical sanitizing solution of proper concentration.
  6. Identify the source of water used and measures taken to ensure that it remains protected from contamination such as providing protection from backflow and preclude the creation of cross connections.
    • If an establishment has its own well, it must be adequately protected from contamination and the water must be potable (fit to drink).
    • Vacuums can be created in water systems. Cross-connections between potable water and wastewater sources, such as a hose-end in a floor drain or utility sink, can result in back-siphonage of unsafe water into the potable water system. This may lead to work surfaces, hands and food products to become contaminated.
    • Requirements for preventing contamination of the water supply include: Appropriate backflow prevention devices installed wherever a water hose is connected to a faucet, pre-rinse spray hoses that do not fall below the top of the flood rim level of the sink, and preventing hoses from being submerged in standing water.
  7. Identify poisonous or toxic materials in the food establishment and the procedures necessary to ensure that they are safely stored, dispensed, used, and disposed of according to law;
    • Do not store chemicals or toxic products above or immediately adjacent to food, equipment/utensils, or single-service/single-use articles. Chemicals must be approved for their intended use (specified on their container/label), and used only according to label directions. For example, all sanitizers must be labeled with an EPA registration number and contain directions for use on food or food equipment. The manufacturer’s label must state that its use is allowed in a food establishment. Pesticides must be approved for use in a food establishment. Restricted use pesticides must be applied by a state licensed applicator. Chemicals must be stored in their original container. Spray bottles containing working solutions of chemicals must be properly labeled with their contents.
  8. Identify critical control points in the operation from purchasing through sale or service that when not controlled may contribute to the transmission of foodborne illness, and explain steps taken to ensure that the points are controlled in accordance with the requirements of the Department’s food sales regulations.
    • Critical control points must be monitored for the following types of operations:
      • Smoking food as a method of food preservation rather than flavor enhancement;
      • Curing food;
      • Using food additives or adding components such as vinegar:
        • As a method of food preservation rather than as a flavor enhancement, or
        • To render a food so that it is not time/temperature control for safety food (TCS Food).
      • Packaging time/temperature control for safety food (TCS Food) using a reduced oxygen packaging method;
      • Operating a molluscan shellfish life support system tank;
      • Custom processing animals for personal use as a food and for sale within the food establishment;
      • Preparing food by any other method determined by the Department to require a variance; or
      • Sprouting seeds or beans.
    • If the firm conducts any of these operations, the person in charge should be able to explain why they identified the critical control points listed on their HACCP plan (see number 15 below), and explain their standard operating procedures which ensure their critical control points are being effectively managed.
  9. Explain the details of how the person in charge and food employees comply with the HACCP plan if a plan is required by the law, Department regulations, or an agreement between the Department and the establishment.
    • The person in charge should be able to articulate procedures, or produce documentation to support, the following:
      • A categorization of the types of time/temperature control for safety foods that are specified in the menu such as soups and sauces, salads, and bulk, solid foods such as meat roasts, or of other foods that are specified by the Department;
      • A flow diagram by specific food or category type identifying critical control points and providing information on the following:
        • Ingredients, materials, and equipment used in the preparation of that food, and
        • Formulations or recipes that delineate methods and procedural control measures that address the food safety concerns involved;
        • Food employee and supervisory training plan that addresses the food safety issues of concern;
        • A statement of standard operating procedures for the plan under consideration, which clearly identifies:
          • Each critical control point,
          • The critical limits for each critical control point,
          • The method and frequency for monitoring and controlling each critical control point by the food employee designated by the person in charge,
          • The method and frequency for the person in charge to routinely verify that the food employee is following standard operating procedures and monitoring critical control points,
          • Action to be taken by the person in charge if the critical limits for each critical control point are not met, and
          • Records to be maintained by the person in charge to demonstrate that the HACCP plan is properly operated and managed; and
        • Any additional scientific data or other information, as required by the Department, supporting the determination that food safety is not compromised.
  10. Explain the responsibilities, rights, and authorities assigned by the Department’s regulations to the:
    • Food Employee: Food employees must conduct food processing and related activities within the food establishment in accordance with the Georgia Department of Agriculture rules and regulations. They must report to the person in charge any medical condition or illness that can cause foodborne illness.
    • Conditional Employee: Conditional employees are subject to the food establishment’s hiring processes, with respect to Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
    • Person in Charge: The person in charge must ensure that:
      • Food establishment operations are not conducted in a private home or in a room used as living or sleeping quarters;
      • Persons unnecessary to the food establishment operation are not allowed in the food preparation, food storage, or warewashing areas, except that brief visits and tours may be authorized by the person in charge if steps are taken to ensure that exposed food; clean equipment, utensils, and linens; and unwrapped single-service and single-use articles are protected from contamination;
      • Employees and other persons such as delivery and maintenance persons and pesticide applicators entering the food preparation, food storage, and warewashing areas comply with Department regulations;
      • Employees are effectively cleaning their hands, by routinely monitoring the employees' handwashing;
      • Employees are visibly observing foods as they are received to determine that they are from approved sources, delivered at the required temperatures, protected from contamination, unadulterated, and accurately presented, by routinely monitoring the employees’ observations and periodically evaluating foods upon their receipt;
      • Employees are verifying that foods delivered to the food establishment during non-operating hours are from approved sources and are placed into appropriate storage locations such that they are maintained at the required temperatures, protected from contamination, unadulterated, and accurately presented;
      • Employees are properly cooking time/temperature control for safety food, being particularly careful in cooking those foods known to cause severe foodborne illness and death, such as eggs and comminuted meats, through daily oversight of the employees' routine monitoring of the cooking temperatures using appropriate temperature measuring devices properly scaled and calibrated;
      • Employees are using proper methods to rapidly cool time/temperature control for safety foods that are not held hot or are not for consumption within 4 hours, through daily oversight of the employees' routine monitoring of food temperatures during cooling;
      • Consumers who order raw, or partially cooked ready-to-eat foods of animal origin, are informed that the food is not cooked sufficiently to ensure its safety;
      • Employees are properly sanitizing cleaned multiuse equipment and utensils before they are reused, through routine monitoring of solution temperature and exposure time for hot water sanitizing, and chemical concentration, pH, temperature, and exposure time for chemical sanitizing;
      • Consumers are notified that clean tableware is to be used when they return to self-service areas such as salad bars and buffets;
      • Except when approval is obtained from the Department, employees are preventing cross-contamination of ready-to-eat food with bare hands by properly using suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single-use gloves, or dispensing equipment;
      • Employees are properly trained in food safety, including food allergy awareness, as it relates to their assigned duties;
      • Food employees and conditional employees are informed in a verifiable manner of their responsibility to report in accordance with law, to the person in charge, information about their health and activities as they relate to diseases that are transmissible through food, and
      • Written procedures and plans, where specified by Department regulations and as developed by the food establishment, are maintained and implemented as required.
    • The Department: The Department shall apply all relevant regulations and statutes to promote safeguarding of the public health, and ensure that food is not adulterated, misbranded or falsely advertised.
  11. Explain how the person in charge, food employees, and conditional employees comply with reporting responsibilities and exclusion or restriction of food employees.
    • The person in charge (PIC) duties require he/she makes sure employees properly report certain information about their health status as it relates to diseases that are transmitted by food. There must be a way to verify that food employees and conditional employees are informed of their responsibility to report such information. This can be accomplished by:
      • Presenting evidence such as curriculum and attendance rosters documenting that each employee has completed a training program which includes all the information required for reporting;
      • Implementation of an employee health policy that includes a system of employee notification using a combination of training, signs, pocket cards or other means to convey all the required information; or
      • Other methods that satisfactorily demonstrate that all food employees and conditional employees are informed of their responsibility to report to the PIC information about their health and activities as it relates to diseases that are transmissible through food.
    • In lieu of a written employee health policy, the person in charge (PIC) should be able to articulate the firm’s policies and procedures regarding restrictions, exclusions, and the removal of exclusions and restrictions. Specifically:
      • Knowledge of the reportable diagnoses (Norovirus, Hepatitis A virus, Shigella spp., Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia Coli, SalmonellaT yphi, or nontyphoidal Salmonella)
      • Under what circumstances an employee can either be restricted or excluded;
      • For Restricted Employees: What areas of the firm the employee can work in, and what duties he/she could perform; and
      • Know how long an employee must be asymptomatic to resume normal work functions.

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