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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...

Produce Safety: A Growing Concern

Fifteen to 20 years ago, if you would have asked a restaurant manager about food safety, she or he would have likely engaged you in a deep conversation about end-point cooking temperatures of meat and poultry products, limiting cross contamination, and the temperature danger zone.  Missing from the conversation would have been much, if any, discussion about fresh produce safety. Then, we didn’t think anyone could get sick from lettuce or tomatoes. Then in 2006 – we had the BIG bagged lettuce national outbreak followed by outbreaks of listeria and salmonella from cantaloupes in 2011 and 2012. Now, we know better. Fast forward to 2020 and attention to produce safety is something of which foodservice operations are very mindful.  Produce-related outbreaks account for around half...

Hepatitis A—On the Upswing

We all know that the leading cause of foodborne illness is norovirus, but there is another virus that should also be of concern to everyone–hepatitis A.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 2016 29 states have reported nearly 25,000 hepatitis A illnesses with 60% requiring hospitalization and 244 deaths.  The number of cases increased nearly 70% between 2016 and 2017.  This uptick in cases is cause for concern for everyone–state and local health departments, healthcare professionals, individuals, and for those of us in foodservice. So just what is hepatitis A?  It is a virus that is carried by humans and animals.  Like other viruses, hepatitis A requires a living host in order to grow.  People can contract hepatitis A from water,…

WWUD IF …? Common Emergency Scenarios in Foodservice Operations

It is cold outside, at least here in the Midwest! Here’s hoping the water pipes don’t freeze or the wind doesn’t blow down power lines causing us to lose electricity! What would we do if these types of emergencies were to happen?  Having an emergency plan in place helps foodservices facing these situations, or other types of emergencies, be prepared. In our first blog for this month, we covered some of the basics in developing an emergency preparation plan. In this blog, we will review some of the action steps to take in a few “typical” emergency situations: flooding, water disruption, and fire. Hopefully your foodservice never has to respond to any of these, but just in case, it is good to have a plan…

Be Prepared! Is YOUR Foodservice Ready to Respond to an Emergency?

The last few months, we have been thinking a lot about emergency or disaster situations. While both of us are “half glass full” type of people, we do recognize the value of having a plan just in case! One only has to see the news to become aware that Mother Nature can, on occasion, be cruel (Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, oh my!). Add in situations created by humans (fires, broken water mains, etc.) and it is clear that odds are something can cause a disruption in your foodservice operation. So, being prepared (just like a Boy Scout) is the right thing to do.  In the first blog for this month, we will provide an overview of how to get prepared. Our second blog will cover some…

When in Doubt, Throw it Out: Implications for Cost and Safety

When in doubt, throw it out is an adage that is embraced by those concerned about food safety.  While it is a good approach, it can cost a lot for an operation if food is unnecessarily wasted!  So, in this blog we are going to discuss strategies for eliminating, or at least reducing, the amount of food that is thrown out due to food safety concerns.  Active managerial control helps control costs while making sure that food served is safe to eat. Active managerial control will help remove the doubt so that good decisions can be made about whether or not food needs to be discarded. While there is a sense to toss food because of “an abundance of caution”, a little knowledge can save…

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…

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