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Evaluating Food Safety

One of the suggestions I made in the last blog was to assess the food safety culture in your organization by observing the food handling techniques of workers. Let’s explore that some more. You can do an overall assessment or you can hone in on specific areas of the operation, such as production or cleaning practices. Remember, when the environmental health inspector visits your operation, he/she just gets a snapshot of what is going on in your operation on that particular day at that specific time. You are there nearly every day, so you have a much better understanding on what really happens in your operation. For our purposes today, let’s focus on the practice of glove use because we know how important the correct…

SafeBites Time and Temperature Control: How To’s

Welcome back! In the last blog I gave the low down on temperature controlled for safety (TCS) foods and the temperature danger zone (TDZ). The focus of this blog is all about control of time and temperatures of foods in your operations. You might say we are discussing Control Issues! Kidding aside, knowing that temperature abuse is a leading cause of foodborne illness, it only makes sense to pay attention to the time that TCS foods are in the TDZ (remember, that is between 41° F and 135° F). FoodHandler® recently updated some useful time and temperature documentation tools. Daily Temperature Logs These logs provide guidance about when to check temperatures of foods and food storage units with a structured format that includes the necessary...

Cross Out Cross Contamination

Cross contamination is a major risk factor contributing to foodborne illness, but there are steps that you can take in your foodservice operation to mitigate the risk.  In this blog, we cover the basics of cross contamination, the risks that result, and sources of cross-contamination so that you can understand the serious risk it presents. In the next blog, strategies to lower this risk will be covered. What is cross contamination? Cross contamination is the spread of pathogens (bacteria or viruses) from one surface to another that at some point contacts food. Those surfaces can be hands, equipment, counter tops and cutting boards, people, and even other foods. Cross contact is a related term that we should talk about, too. Cross contact is focused on…

A Date with Safe Food Labels

When it comes to food, calendar dates relating to time and temperature are important and sometimes confusing. Terms we use are: 1) food product or code dating used for commercial food manufacturing and 2) date marking used for food prepared onsite in a restaurant. In a restaurant at the receiving step or the retail food store as a consumer, “Sell by July 14” is a type of information you might find on a meat or poultry product. Are dates required on food products? Does it mean the product will be unsafe to use after that date? Here is some background information, which answers these and other questions about food product dating. There’s a big difference between “product or code dating” from the manufacturer in an…