Lesson 3, Topic 10
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Chemical Contaminants

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Chemical contaminants can come from a wide variety of substances. These include toxic metals, pesticides, cleaning products, sanitizers, lubricants, first aid, and personal care products. To prevent contamination, use only approved food-grade utensils and equipment to prepare and store food. Avoid pewter because it contains lead. Copper contamination can happen if carbonated beverage dispensers are installed improperly. When carbonated water is allowed to flow back into the copper supply lines, it can leach copper from the line and contaminate the beverage. Additionally you can reduce pesticide contamination by only allowing a licensed professional to apply them.

1) Vary depending on chemical consumed
2) Most illnesses occur within minutes
3) Vomiting and diarrhea are typical

1) Only use chemicals approved for use in foodservice operations.
2) Purchase chemicals from approved reputable suppliers.
3) Store chemicals away from prep areas, food-storage areas, and service areas.
4) Chemicals must be separated from food and food-contact surfaces by spacing and partitioning.
5) Chemicals must never be stored above food or food-contact surfaces.
6) Use chemicals for their intended use and follow manufacturer’s directions.

Only handle food with equipment and utensils approved for foodservice use. Make sure the manufacturer’s labels on original chemical containers are readable. Keep MSDS current, and make sure they are accessible to staff at all times. Finally, follow the manufacturer’s directions and local regulatory requirements when throwing out chemicals.


  1. Chemical contaminants can come from many sources including cleaning products and pesticides 
  2. Symptoms vary based on the chemical but usually start within minutes
  3. Chemicals must be stored away from food