Srila Prabhupada on standards for offering food
We should offer foodstuffs to the Deity and allow enough time to eat them. These are all transcendental sentiments. At Vrindaban, the Deities are offered foodstuffs and time is allowed as in the case of others. Yes, before offering anything to the Deity you must be satisfied that it is a first class offering and there is no objection if you taste it by smelling. But you should not smell for other purposes. The whole idea is that devotional service should always be immune from sense gratification.(Letter to Madhusudana, 28th December, 1967)
Regarding kitchen affairs, as a rule those who are not initiated may not enter into the kitchen affairs, but uninitiated members can work under the guidance of another initiated member when there is great need. So the direction which you are giving to the willing girls to help with the kitchen affairs is not objectionable. You can go on doing that.(Letter to Rayarama, 3rd March, 1968)
When we cook foodstuffs in the kitchen for eating ourselves, it is a different thing from the foodstuff which is prepared and offered to Krishna. The same dahl, rice is material for one purpose but the same thing becomes spiritual when it is dovetailed with Krishna. (Letter to Bhagavan dasa, 10th January, 1970)
That which is meant to be offered in yajña cannot be tasted by anyone before being offered to the Deity. In our temples, this regulation is in effect. One cannot eat food from the kitchen unless it is offered to the Deity. If something is taken before being offered to the Deity, the entire preparation is polluted and can no longer be offered. Those engaged in Deity worship must know this very well so that they may be saved from committing offenses in Deity worship. ~ SB 9.6.8
It is advisable that food being offered to the Deity be covered when taken from the kitchen to the Deity room. In that way, others may not see it. Those who are not accustomed to following the advanced regulative devotional principles may desire to eat the food, and that is an offense. Therefore no one should be given a chance to even see it. However, when it is brought before the Deity, it must be uncovered. ~ CC Madhya 4.124
Another thing I request is that everything in the Temple should be kept nice and clean. Everyone should wash hands before touching anything of Krsna's. We should always remember that Krsna is the purest and similarly only the purest can associate with Him. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
(Letter to Nandarani and Krsna Devi, October 4, 1967)
Montreal 18, Quebec, Canada
June 16, 1968
My Dear Aniruddha,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter of June 5th, 1968, and I thank you very much for it. Yes, I have noted your questions about the serving of prasadam. The main thing is that whenever prasadam is offered to the Lord, everything should be very respectfully and cleanly presented and prepared. In Jagannatha Puri, the Lord eats 56 times. So the Lord can eat as many times as you can offer. But only thing is whatever is offered must be with respect and devotion. (He is neither hungry nor poor, nor unable to eat, but He accepts everything, when such eatable is within the groups of vegetables, fruits, flours, milk, water, etc. is offered to Him with love and devotion, and faith. He wants our love only, and that makes Him hungry for eating as many times as you may offer. He is absolute, therefore, all contradictory points coincide in Him. He is hungry and satisfied simultaneously. So the purport is that everything should be offered very cleanly and pure things should be given.)
If a preparation is cooked all together, then offer all together. But if it is prepared separately, then the milk, the sugar and the cereal should be offered separately. But if the milk, sugar and grains are all cooked together, that can be done. (Everything should be prepared very carefully and cleanly within the groups of foods listed. And nothing should ever be eaten before offering to the Lord. Best thing is to prepare separately each preparation. No, food which has been offered should never be put back into the refrigerator with the unoffered foods, or brought back into the kitchen. You should prepare as much as can be consumed, and after offering, nothing should be put back in the refrigerator, or kitchen. Refrigerator should always be very cleansed and pure. Everyone should be careful to make only as much as they can eat; they cannot keep any leftovers in refrigerator. I know this is a practice in your country, but in the temples or at homes of any Krishna Consciousness persons, a person should not indulge in such unclean habits. If there is any food extra, that should be kept separately; and if there is a separate refrigerator, not within the kitchen and not having in it any unoffered foods, then you may have such special refrigerator for leftover prasadam. But it cannot be kept within the same refrigerator as the unoffered, unprepared foods. That cannot be. One should never eat within the kitchen, there is ample place to eat so why should one eat in the kitchen? Kitchen should be considered as good as the Lord's room, and nobody should wear shoes in the kitchen, smelling and tasting of foods being prepared for the Lord should never be done, talking within the kitchen should be only what is necessary for preparing the prasadam, or about the Lord, and dirty dishes (those taken from kitchen and eaten from) should not be brought back into the kitchen (but if there is no other place to wash them, then they should be put into sink and washed immediately.), hands should always be washed when preparing prasadam, and in this way, everything shall be prepared very cleanly and pure.)
What is the difficulty of enforcing these rules? They are rules, and they are simple rules, and must be followed. One must be prepared to follow the rules for Krishna. Otherwise where is the proof that he loves Krishna. And they are not very difficult to follow.
I am very happy to hear that your center there is progressing nicely, and please continue doing like that. Hoping you are well.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami