Demonstration of Knowledge and Why it Matters

Updated: May 31, 2020

The person in charge (PIC) of a food service operation is required to be present while food is prepped and/or the facility is open for service. The PIC must have a clear understanding of the Oregon Food Sanitation Rules and its public health principles to follow sound food safety practices and to produce foods that are safe, wholesome, unadulterated, and accurately represented. This knowledge is required.

Do you know the temperature requirement when reheating food for a steam table (hot holding)? And the minimum hot holding temperature?

Demonstration of Knowledge is part of what is termed active managerial control. The data shows that when there is a PIC with a working knowledge of the food code and how to keep food safe, foodborne illnesses are reduced. It is required to have a PIC who can demonstrate this knowledge.

Your inspector can assess this in many ways which will usually come in the form of observation and/or open ended questions to the PIC.

Here are some examples:

1. What are the ‘Big 5’ foodborne illnesses?

2. What are the symptoms that require you to exclude an employee from working?

3. What are the required food temperatures and times for safe cooking of TCS (time/temperature control for safety food) for meat, poultry, eggs, and fish?

4. Describe the relationship between the prevention of foodborne disease and the personal hygiene of a food employee.

5.  Describe the relationship between the prevention of foodborne illness and 

cross contamination, hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, and  handwashing.

Inquiries like these help the inspector evaluate the PIC’s strengths and areas that they need more information. Not having sufficient knowledge, as well as not having a PIC is a priority violation. The Oregon Health Authority has a list of approved courses if you are interested in learning in a formal environment and receiving a certification as a food safety manager. With this certification you are assumed to have the required working knowledge of keeping your food safe and can not be cited for the Demonstration of Knowledge requirement.

CDC Q & A on Foodborne Illnesses

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