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What kind of permit(s) do I need to sell burritos I make in my home kitchen?

That's actually a trick question. Food prepared under a home-based food processing permit cannot be "potentially hazardous food," which means it must be food that does not required time or temperature control for safety (see definition below in another question). Since burritos require being held at an appropriate temperature to limit pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation, they can only be prepared in a permitted commercial kitchen or under a temporary food establishment permit at a fixed location in conjunction with a single event or celebration.

All food service establishments are required to have a food service permit. However, New Mexico requires complete separation between food service operations and domestic facilities. In other words, to have a food service establishment (other than a home-based food processing operation) in a private home requires a separate kitchen. There may be local zoning issues to consider also.

For further information see also: Food Regulations, Home-based Food Processing

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What are the requirements for a mobile food service establishment?

The requirements are the same as for other restaurants, except self-contained mobile units are not required to have on-board restroom facilities for employees. The requirements are contained in the New Mexico Food Service and Food Processing Regulations. The Plan Review Guidelines are a useful guide to planning your business operations and facilities.

For further information see also: Food Regulations, Plan Review Guides

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Does a small restaurant or mobile unit need to have commercial equipment?

Generally, all major equipment such as refrigerators, stoves, dish machines, etc., must be ANSI-Certified.

For further information see also: Facilities

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Will the Environment Department come out to look at a building and tell me if it's suitable for a restaurant?

You will include facility information in the initial plan review stage. As shown in the Plan Review Guidelines, information should include a floor plan, plumbing details, finish information, and other relevant information. A letter of plan approval should be obtained prior to beginning construction. A pre-opening inspection is required when most construction is complete and equipment is in place.

For further information see also: Facilities, Plan Review Guides

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What is a food borne illness?

Diseases caused by ingestion of contaminated food. The contamination can be bacteria, viruses, parasites, and natural man-made chemicals.

For further information see also: Food Safety

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What is a potentially hazardous food?

A potentially hazardous food or PHF is a moist, high protein food on which bacteria can grow most easily. Some examples are dairy products, shelled eggs, meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, heat-treated vegetables (i.e. potatoes, beans, rice, etc.), soy products, oil in garlic, sliced fruits, and raw sprouts.

For further information see also: Food Safety

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What is a ready-to-eat food?

A ready-to-eat food or RTE is any food that will be served to a consumer without a further pathogenic reduction step (cooking, washing, etc.). RTE's include properly cooked potentially hazardous foods, washed whole or cut fruits and vegetables, and food products removed from their packaging, etc.

For further information see also: Food Safety

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When should food handlers use gloves in food preparation?

Gloves or other physical barriers such as spatulas, tongs, bakery paper, etc. should be used when handling ready-to-eat foods. A ready-to-eat food or RTE is any food that will be served to a consumer without a further pathogenic reduction step (cooking, washing, etc.). RTE's include properly cooked potentially hazardous foods, washed whole or cut fruits and vegetables, and food products removed from their packaging, etc.

For further information see also: Food Safety

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When should food handlers wash their hands?

Food handlers should wash their hands before starting work and after an activity that may have contaminated their hands. Proper hand hygiene is an effective way to prevent the contamination of food that may cause food borne illness. Gloves or other physical barriers such as spatulas, tongs, bakery paper, etc. should be used when handling ready-to-eat foods. A ready-to-eat food or RTE is any food that will be served to a consumer without a further pathogenic reduction step (cooking, washing, etc.). RTE's include properly cooked potentially hazardous foods, washed whole or cut fruits and vegetables, and food products removed from their packaging, etc.

For further information see also: Food Safety

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What is cross-contamination?

Cross-contamination is the transfer of harmful substances or disease-causing microorganisms to food. The contamination can be caused by food contact with improperly washed hands and dirty food-contact surfaces, bare hand contact of ready-to-eat foods, contact of raw meats with ready-to-eat-foods, etc. Food handlers should wash their hands before starting work and after an activity that may have contaminated their hands. Proper hand hygiene is an effective way to prevent the contamination of food that may cause food borne illness. Gloves or other physical barriers such as spatulas, tongs, bakery paper, etc. should be used when handling ready-to-eat foods .A ready-to-eat food or RTE is any food that will be served to a consumer without a further pathogenic reduction step (cooking, washing, etc.). RTE's include properly cooked potentially hazardous foods, washed whole or cut fruits and vegetables, and food products removed from their packaging, etc.

For further information see also: Food Safety

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Is there food safety training available for myself or my staff?

Food safety training is provided in each of the four districts by food specialists. Call the district office nearest you for training event schedules.

For further information see also: Food Training, Local Field Offices

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Is there a charge for food safety training?

No, the food safety training is provided free of charge to the food service industry.

For further information see also: Food Training

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What are alerts?

Alerts inform consumers of certain problems associated with food and, in some cases, provide details of specific action to be taken. NMED inspectors keep a watchful eye on nationwide food safety issues such as: product recalls, trace backs, etc. "Alerts" are updated often so keep this link under your "Favorites" .

For further information see also: Food Alerts

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