Does my restaurant need SDS OR MSDS INFORMATION?

Proper use of the chemicals found in your facility is an important factor in safe food and to your staff. Just as important as proper temperatures of foods, improper chemical use can make your diners severely ill, and your staff could get ill or injured. Your staff needs to know the proper way to use the various chemicals –  using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for example – and what is the first aid when things go wrong? This is where MSDS – Material Safety Data Sheets also known as SDS – come in.

Federally, OSHA, and locally, The HI Dept of Labor, require and do check that all restaurants and food facilities have complete and up to date MSDS available to its staff.

After WWII, the modern day MSDS had started to develop as a formal document. The MSDS has developed into a 16 section document. Without going into each section, this document has information on what the product is – common name and chemical ingredients – who makes it and what is their contact info, the hazards of the product and possible injury, PPE’s required for safe handling, First Aid, and reactions with other chemicals. Fire Fighting Instructions, Safe Handling and Storage are also listed in separate sections. There are several sections that either get pretty scientific or you would probably not ever see in a restaurant.

In your restaurant, each chemical used in the kitchen and front of house for cleaning, sanitizing, polishing… each and every chemical – needs to have a sheet for that item. These sheets can easily be found at each manufacturers website. Look at the products label. If you use a company that supplies all your chemicals, they should be able to supply you with all your sheets. The 1st time you order a new chemical, they will send you a MSDS. If you purchase them from a variety of suppliers, you will need to create a list of your chemicals, and search for the MSDS. Household products are not required to have MSDS, so it may be difficult to find them – it is always better to use professional grade products.

There are 2 options for having them on premise. They can be centrally located in a binder labeled as the MSDS binder, and only have that information in the binder. Usually, each chemicals sheets are kept together in a single plastic sheet protector. If there an incident where someone needs to go to the hospital, they should take that MSDS with them so the doctor will know exactly what to do. The MSDS can also be on a computer that is always available to pull up the sheets.

Do you need to know every section of each chemical? No, but all staff should be familiar with what and where the MSDS is kept, the proper handling and need for any PPE’s. Your staff does need to be trained on the chemicals they will be using regularly in their daily jobs. As the manager, you need to make sure proper safety is being understood and always followed.

To learn more detail about this, need assistance in setting up MSDS and other Food Safety procedures, or to set up an independent discounted audit of your facility, please contact Peter Bellisario of Peter B Food Safety Audits at or (808)491-7766. Check out my new website –



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