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Getting Your Playbook for Food Safety Organized

As anyone who has ever worked in a foodservice operation knows, from the time food is received in your establishment to the time it is served to your customers, following proper food safety practices is crucial. What many don’t often think about is this time really should extend from the time the manager places their orders with their suppliers (including which purveyors you utilize), through the time the food is consumed – even if that consumption occurs off your premises and days after the original order was picked up by the guest. This is something that has certainly been highlighted by the pandemic as customers across the nation are utilizing take-out, curbside to go, and third-party delivery options more so now than ever before. Last...

To Toss or Not to Toss? That is the question.

Our first blog for the month emphasized the basic safe food practices needed to keep you and your guests healthy (and happy!), especially during these times of COVID. The impact of foodborne illness can range from an uncomfortable few days to hospitalization or death. Foodborne illness IS preventable and the steps taken to keep food safe also maintain quality of food, and ultimately profitability. Think of attention to food safety as part of quality control and a win-win business strategy. Knowledge about food safety can be helpful when controlling costs as making wise decisions when determining the fate of unserved food can affect the bottom line. “When in doubt, throw it out”. You’ve likely all heard this old adage one too many times. This saying...

Holiday Food Safety Controls

In case you have not noticed - the holidays are here! We have seen store decorations up since mid-September and early bird deals advertised for several weeks, stretching the typical Black Friday deals throughout the month as retailers strive to ensure market share, while following increasingly stringent mandates for physical distancing Typically, foodservice operations are very busy during the holiday season, catering parties and hosting gatherings. With reduced capacity allowances, limits on gatherings, and social distancing, chances are this stream of revenue will be less than in previous years. As operators, regardless of type of foodservice, the focus continues on safety, quality, and ultimately profitability. And with the COVID pandemic still in full throttle (although it appears a vaccine may become available later this month),...

Resources for Effective Purchasing and Receiving in Foodservice Operations

In our first blog for August, we reviewed best practices for purchasing and receiving, and why these can mitigate risks to safety of food from unintentional or intentional threats. In this posting, we offer some resources from trustworthy sources that can help foodservice managers in developing their own guidance for staff to follow when purchasing or receiving from vendors. Written guidance in the form of a standard operating procedure (SOP) makes clear to everyone in the relationship (vendor and foodservice staff) what and how tasks should be accomplished. Written SOP templates to guide purchasing and receiving can be found at several extension websites or through health agencies. We’ve worked to develop those at Iowa State University, which are tailored for restaurants, schools, assisted living, or…

Vendor Relationship Best Practices during COVID19

There has been a lot of attention to restaurant reopenings this summer. At FoodHandler, we have covered this topic with a webinar, development of a checklist, and creation of signage for posting in foodservices, in addition to discussing this topic in previous blogs. General best practice is to keep the coronavirus from entering the foodservice. A focus on keeping the virus from entering the foodservice means effectively communicating best practices with internal (staff) and external stakeholders (clientele and vendors). We have covered in previous blogs actions to mitigate risk within the operation. In the blogs for this month, we discuss control steps to consider in your relationship with vendors to ensure safe food and a safe work environment. Vendors are a necessary part of your…

Welcoming Guests Back into Your Establishments

After three long months suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are finally starting to see restaurants and other foodservices across the United States begin to reopen operations.  It is likely that more and more restrictions will be lifted across the country in the next few months with operations trying to recover from losses of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Last month in our blogs, we discussed getting back to the basics in terms of employee health and hygiene, temperature controls, and cleaning and sanitizing fundamentals. This month, we expand on that discussion and merge with guidance offered by health authorities for reopening, and elaborate on a few resources available for foodservices, compliments of FoodHandler.  Several entities have started to release guidance, including the Food and Drug Administration,…

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…