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ASC Dining Services takes great care to ensure we provide you with safe food. You also have a responsibility to keep food safe
in your residence hall room or apartment.

What We Do

ASC staff members are certified in food safety and sanitation
through the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe program. They are recertified every five years.

Following ServSafe guidelines, ASC Dining makes sure that:

  • Food is cooked to proper temperatures to destroy microorganisms and then held at proper temperatures to prevent foodborne illness;
  • Food preparation practices prevent cross-contamination, especially with regard to food allergies;
  • Staff members wear clean and appropriate uniforms;
  • Staff members do not work when they are ill.
  • The Cortland County Department of Health inspects each dining unit two times per year to ensure they are using safe food and sanitation practices.

What You Can Do

Foods stored, cooked and eaten at proper temperatures help prevent the spread of foodborne illness. Limit the amount of time foods are in the danger zone (40°F to 140°F). Washing your hands before eating or preparing food will also keep you and your food safe.

Purchasing Food:

  • Do not purchase any product that is past its expiration date, especially such foods as meats, milk and yogurt.
  • Place packaged raw meats in a plastic bag to prevent juice from dripping on other foods. Keep raw meats away from ready-to-eat foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Buy hot foods, cold meats, refrigerated and frozen foods just before heading to the checkout line. Keep the hot foods away from the cold foods.
  • If you are going to save leftovers from prepared or take-out food, refrigerate them immediately. If soups or chili are purchased hot, eat them right away or refrigerate within two hours of purchase (one hour if the air temperature is above 90°F).

Storing Food:

  • Do not leave any food, especially meats, poultry, fish, hot foods, refrigerated and frozen foods, in your vehicle overnight. Food can spoil quickly, especially in the warmer months.
  • Refrigerate any meats, dairy, eggs and cooked vegetable protein immediately upon returning to your room or apartment.
  • Check the expiration dates; eat foods that will expire soon first, especially if they are refrigerated.
  • Throw out any foods that have gone past the expiration date.
  • Store products that do not need to be refrigerated on a shelf or in a cupboard – never on the floor, as this may attract insects.
  • Keep food sealed or covered tightly to prevent attracting insects and the possibility of cross-contamination. Try to keep your food storage areas clean and dry to avoid insects.


  • Before cooking, wash down counter tops with warm water and soap.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before cooking.
  • Do not touch foods that are ready to eat if you are handling raw meats.
  • Wash your hands, work surfaces, cooking utensils, bowls and pans thoroughly, especially after working with raw meats.
  • Purchase a food thermometer. Remember to calibrate it regularly in ice water (place thermometer in ice water and use the calibration nut to move the needle to 32°F).
  • Cook foods to proper internal temperature (refer to cooking chart at right) to destroy microorganisms. Microorganisms grow best between 40°F and
  • 140°F.
  • When thawing meats, put the meat on a plate or pan and let it thaw on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator for 1-3 days. Do not thaw meats at room temperature! That is the ideal environment in which microorganisms grow.


  • Eat hot foods immediately. Keep hot foods at 140°F or higher while serving.
  • Eat cold foods immediately. If saving cold foods to be eaten later, refrigerate the food immediately and keep it at 40°F or less. Purchase a thermal bag and ice unit to take with you to class or work.
  • If you are serving a cold buffet, put potentially hazardous foods on ice (bowl of food on top of a bowl of ice) to keep it cold and safe.
  • Check expiration dates and discard products that have expired.
  • Refrigerate any cooked foods within 30 to 60 minutes after finishing a meal.


  • Discard any foods that have been left out for more than 2 hours (one hour if the air temperature is 90°F or higher).
  • Any foods that contain protein (meat, dairy, vegetable protein) should be consumed within three to five days.
  • Always reheat food until it is bubbling hot (165°F or higher) before eating. Do not eat the food if it is lukewarm, as microorganisms may still be alive and can make you ill.
  • When in doubt, throw it out!

Your Refrigerator:

  • Set your refrigerator to 39°F or lower. You can purchase an inexpensive refrigerator thermometer to monitor the temperature.
  • Try not to overload your refrigerator space. This will decrease the efficiency of your refrigerator.
  • Do not keep your refrigerator door open for extended periods of time.
  • Be sure to cover food in your refrigerator. This can prevent cross-contamination among foods and prevents the absorption of odors from other foods.
  • Do not place hot foods in the refrigerator immediately. Allow them to cool first. Hot foods will raise the inside temperature of your refrigerator and warm foods, which can cause them to spoil.

Potentially Hazardous Foods

These foods spoil easily and should be handled properly to prevent foodborne illness:

  • Milk/Milk Products
  • Meat (Beef, Pork, Lamb)
  • Eggs
  • Raw Sprouts/Sprout Seeds
  • Shellfish/Crustaceans (Lobsters)
  • Cooked Rice
  • Cooked Beans
  • Cooked Vegetables
  • Fish
  • Sliced Melons
  • Poultry
  • Tofu/Other Soy Protein
  • Untreated Garlic-and-Oil Mixtures
  • Baked Potatoes