Insights and tips on how to protect your inn or bed & breakfast, giving you and your guests peace of mind.

Ward, Hayden
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Food Safety For Innkeepers

Food Safety 101 for Bed and Breakfasts

Preparing a delicious meal is seen as an act of love or a gift. Good cooking can take people back in time and remind them of certain moments or places. It’s an art form that many bed and breakfasts are known for. However, the other side of cooking — food preparation and safety, can be easily forgotten. There is always a risk of contamination, injury and allergic reactions.

Reduce the chances of your guests getting sick by food preparation. Stir in a few of these tips for a fabulous and safe meal.

It Starts With Training

Training your staff is one of the most important steps to catering amazing meals. While some of your employees may be fabulous cooks, others may not know the difference between apples and oranges in the beginning.

Food Allergies

A food allergy occurs when a person’s immune system incorrectly identifies a food as harmful and creates specific antibodies to fight off that food. The next time that particular food is eaten, large amounts of chemicals are released in an attempt to protect the body. Research suggests that 90% of all allergic reactions are caused by foods, including milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.

Get into the habit of knowing what is in the food you make and order. When shopping and when preparing food, check ingredient labels. Many companies will list if their products are processed in a plant that contains nuts.

Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illnesses, such as E. Coli and salmonella, can also make guests and employees extremely ill. When people become ill from bacterial diseases such as E. coli or salmonella, they can suffer from symptoms for up to six weeks after consuming the food. In addition, children, pregnant women, people over 65 and those with chronic illnesses may experience serious health issues as a result of eating tainted foods.

Cooking and serving food at safe temperatures is one of the most effective ways to prevent foodborne illness. Guests can become extremely ill from eating meat, poultry or fish that is not cooked to the proper temperature. Utensils, prep tables and towels are all breeding grounds for bacteria.

Storage Safety

Many foods can spoil while in the refrigerator or freezer simply because the appliance isn’t set at the right temperature. Refrigerators should be set at 38° F or below and the food itself should be 41° F or below. In addition, seafood should be stored at 30° to 34° F and fresh produce should be at 41° to 45° F.


The cooking temperature of foods, especially meats, is the most important part of food preparation. Remember to measure temperature using a thermometer in the thickest part of the food and avoid touching fat, gristle or bone. Using a food thermometer to ensure that the food you’re preparing is cooked to the proper temperature not only prevents the spread of foodborne illness, but it will also help you avoid overcooking the dish as well.

 If you are preparing a dish with multiple ingredients, follow the temperature guidelines for the ingredient with the highest temperature requirement.

Keep It Clean

Always wash your hands after using the restroom, smoking or eating. Hands also need to be washed immediately after handling raw meat, poultry or eggs. To wash your hands effectively, use soap and warm water. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds, making sure to wash your forearms and underneath your fingernails. Other suggestions include the following:

  • Wear gloves when handling food.
  • Avoid unsanitary activities such as chewing tobacco, smoking, coughing or blowing your nose around food.
  • Avoid working if you are sick. Breathing near food when you’re ill can transfer germs or illness even without coughing or sneezing directly into the food.
  • Cover cuts, burns, sores and infected wounds with a clean bandage. Preventing cross-contamination begins when the food arrives at your establishment.
  • Keep storage areas clean and dry and sanitize any spills immediately.
  • Store raw meats and fish separately from any other foods, and below ready-to-eat foods in the event of leakage.

The Missing Ingredient – CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance

Food liability can be a considerable concern. The potential for food poisoning, contamination, injury, spoilage and allergic reactions is ever-present, making continued guest safety a challenge. We are here to help. To learn more about insuring your business through CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance, connect with a member of our team.

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. In an actual claim situation, coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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885.945.5221 | innkeepers@cbiz.com 

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Kansas City, MO 64112 

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CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., is the largest insurer of innkeeper businesses in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we developed a specific policy coverage to meet the needs for inns and bed & breakfasts, and the amenities offered by these businesses. Our policy is underwritten by an A.M. Best Rated A++ (Superior) company.

The CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance team knows insurance, specifically the risks and exposures related to beds & breakfasts. We won't confuse you with technical "insurance speak" — our representatives will explain your coverage in simple terms. With hands-on, personal customer service, we guarantee swift communication. As specialists in the industry, we leverage our knowledge and passion to ensure you and your inn are protected.





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