Standard Operating Procedures


To provide information on:

  • A definition of Standard Operating Procedures(SOP)
  • What should be included in an SOP
  • Examples of SOP’s

What are SOP’s?

Standard Operating Procedures are written instructions, which describe procedures designed to work towards maintaining an environment, which promotes the reduction of risk of foodborne illness.

It is very important that the food service manager is able to demonstrate that they took prudent and reasonable precautions to reduce the risk of foodborne illness in the foodservice environment. SOP’s will:

  • Document the food safety program
  • Communicate the food safety program to employees
  • Provides an opportunity to review current food safety practices
  • Make modifications/improvements

Developing SOP’s

  • Based on specific food handling and sanitation practices established in the current Rhode Island Food Code and established organizational policies and procedures
  • Focus on preventing foodborne illness by focusing on the major causes including:
    • Lack of temperature control
    • Personal hygiene
    • Cross Contamination
    • Contaminated ingredients
    • Sanitation
  • Include all aspects of the operation from receiving to serving
  • Are very specific — who, what, when, how
  • Useful in training employees correct methods/procedures

Examples of SOP’s

  • Calibrating thermometers
  • Cleaning and sanitizing equipment, work surfaces and facility
  • Cooking PHF
  • Cooling PHF procedures based upon charting
  • Hot and cold holding including recording food temperatures
  • Personal hygiene issues including handwashing, employee attire
  • Preparation
  • Receiving


Revised 6/00
University of Rhode Island
Cooperative Extension Food Safety Education