-   OR   -

Home / Archive by Category "Cleaning Sanitizing"

Archives

Food Safety Considerations for the “New Way” of Dining

Spring is my favorite time of year, as we head out of the winter months, welcome warmer weather, and increase the daylight hours.  As such, we turnover a new leaf and welcome new life as our grass, trees, and perennials come out of dormancy. This year as the Coronavirus vaccine continues its roll out and we welcome a third vaccine onto the market this morning, perhaps this spring we are turning over a ‘new leaf’ in a much more profound way, as we see light at the end of the Coronavirus tunnel. If you work in a school, restaurant, or other on-site foodservice operation, much of your last year has been figuring out ways to serve your customer through carry-out, curbside delivery, or via at-home...

Cleaning and Sanitizing in a Mid- to Post-Coronavirus World

What have we learned from this Coronavirus pandemic?  In many ways, it is still too early to tell.  At this writing, many foodservice operations across the country are still closed.  Some are just starting to reopen. Others have transitioned to car side or curbside to-go and have been operating with a skeleton crew throughout the worst of the pandemic.  As you get ready to reopen operations to the public or start serving students again, let’s discuss one that is sure to get noticed by everyone – how food contact and non-food contact surfaces are cleaned and sanitized.  For years, we preached the importance of first cleaning and then sanitizing food contact surfaces.  But now, in our mid- to post-Coronavirus world, we must be mindful to…

Back to the Basics with Coronavirus

Coronavirus.  Had we conducted a survey at the start of the 2019, we are willing to bet that less than 10% of Americans would have recognized the word and less than 1% would have identified it as a respiratory illness.  Many would have found the entire concept of “social distancing” comical.  Yet, here we are in a world drastically different than it was at the start of March. As we write this in late April, many of your businesses have been negatively impacted in one way or another with declining sales and the need to lay off staff. Doors have closed and the old way of doing business ended. While many of you have embarked on new ways of serving your customers, the foundation of…

Accountability Supports Food Safety Culture

With the low unemployment numbers, and competition for good workers, many managers may choose to look the other way when staff do not complete tasks when and how they should. You may recall the parent who tells the little scamp, I’m going to count to three – one, two, two and a half, two and three quarters, etc. – only to find there is no change in behavior. That little scamp may well end up in juvie because he/she was never held accountable for behavior – the parents always looked the other way just to keep the peace. But a failure to act has unintended consequences, not just for the child, but for others in the family. It is the same in any foodservice operation–lack…

Recipe for a Positive Food Safety Culture

For the past few years, we have referred to the importance of developing a positive food safety culture within foodservice operations. The workplace culture is basically a reflection of “this is what and how we do things here”.  Manufacturing and construction companies often proudly post the number of days “accident free” as a reflection of their workplace safety culture.  In foodservice though, everyday has to be foodborne illness free – otherwise the operation may not be in business for long! So what are the elements of a positive food safety culture? In past work at Iowa State University, a doctoral student led focus groups within various types of foodservices to identify elements of a food safety culture in order to better define the pieces of…

Food Safety: Vision 2020

When we hear the words 2020, we usually think of having perfect vision.  Periodically, we go to the eye doctor to have our eyes checked to make sure our vision is good.  And, many of us have prescription lenses to recalibrate our eyes so that our vision is as near 2020 as possible. What is your vision for your food safety plan?  Is it in perfect focus?  Things change, so have you done any recalibrations to make sure that your plan still meets the changing needs of your operation?  Just like going to the eye doctor for a check-up, we need to evaluate how we are doing in the area of food safety, and make adjustments to make sure our vision is clear and that…

Keep Ready-to-Eat Foods Safe

In our first blog for February, we identified some of the risks with ready-to-eat foods. RTE does not mean risk free! We pointed out that food processors have implemented food safety plans that use good manufacturing and good handling practices (GMPs and GHPs). Foodservices often purchase RTE foods to avoid some risk in-house. In fact, many schools do not purchase raw protein foods because of risks from under cooking and cross-contamination. But there are still risks from temperature abuse due to improper holding and from contamination that occurs intentionally, or unintentionally, from employee practices or unclean equipment. So, what prevention steps can be taken? Avoiding temperature abuse means having calibrated temperature measuring devices readily available and staff knowing how to use these. It means knowing…

Ready-to-Eat Foods: Are they Risky?

Those of us familiar with the retail food industry are well aware of potential risks associated with ready-to-eat foods. We recognize that any food can present risks if it is not handled correctly. Yet, our circles of family and friends outside the world of foodservice may not have this awareness. Sure, most folks know that meat, poultry, and dairy foods should be kept in the refrigerator. Yes, they know the importance of cooking meats (but you may get differences of opinion on what “done” means; quiz wait staff what temperature ‘medium well’ is and you might get some surprising answers!). What seems to go over the head of many consumers (and even some TV chefs) is the importance of handling ready-to-eat foods – or RTE…

SafeFood is Served Here: Check √

A Checklist Approach to Food Safety In our first blog this month, we discussed risk-based inspections and their importance in any foodservice operation—and we promised to provide you with a risk-based checklist to assist you with daily risk mitigation strategies. Because we appreciate structure and routines (hey, we are RDs or registered dietitians, aka real detailed!) we thought this checklist approach might be useful for managers and their staff in monitoring the safety of food served in their operations. The key with any checklist is to keep it specific, yet simple. This blog will focus on a checklist for back of the house functions (in September we will provide a sample checklist to address front of house food safety action steps). The checklists cover the…

Risk-Based Inspections–Risk Nothing®

Every day we make decisions that have a risk component—what happens if we do something and what happens if we don’t?  While some of you may be risk takers in some parts of life, risks related to food safety should not be taken because the consequences are too great—the possibility of a foodborne illness causing customers to get sick, and maybe even die, not to mention the negative publicity for the operation. For those of you who read our blogs routinely, you know that we always end with the FoodHandler tagline—Risk Nothing.  In recent years, you probably have noticed a shift in the approach that environmental health specialists are taking with your routine health inspections.  Today, most are conducting what are called risk-based inspections.  In…

1 2