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Proper Cooling: Your Food-Safe Culture Demands It

Last week, we had a great webinar presented by Dr. Paola Paez from the Center for Food Safety in Child Nutrition Programs at Kansas State University.  If you were not able to join us, please feel free to go back and review the webinar to learn some valuable ways in which you can implement safe cooling practices in your foodservice operation. In a perfect world, if any amount of cooling of food products within your operation was done, there would be a blast chiller.  Blast chillers are designed to expel hot air from the environment, whereas a regular cooler is only equipped to keep cold air, cold.  But, they are an expensive investment (estimate of $5,500 - $10,000 for counter model!) and once you invest...

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…

Food Allergy Training Resources

Earlier this month, we discussed the importance of being proactive in accommodating customers and staff with allergies.  If you read the post, hopefully the message about the importance of training staff on ways to protect guests was loud and clear!  Therefore, we devote this blog to discussing some resources available to assist in training staff about food allergies – some are free, and others cost a nominal fee.  Most everyone involved with management of restaurants or other foodservices are aware of ServSafe® educational offerings. While it is not required, and it does cost a nominal fee, the ServSafe Allergens training program offered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation could be a worthwhile investment for key staff.  Requiring employees to pass this assessment provides an…

Customers’ and Employees’ Allergies in Foodservice Operations

When we began our careers in foodservice management many years ago, allergies were not very commonplace.  Yes, occasionally there were customers who had a random allergy – peanuts, or perhaps MSG (which is actually an intolerance) – but nothing like what goes on today in most food operations, with both customers and employees dealing with potential deadly reactions to either food or materials. Dealing with allergies and intolerances are now a common concern among foodservice operators across the country.  And this concern is warranted as recent research indicates almost 11% of adults have a food allergy [1]. Those working in school nutrition are well aware that between 1997 and 2011, the prevalence of food allergies among those under 18 years of age increased by more…

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