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Getting Started with Building the Infrastructure

Hopefully in our first January blog, we convinced you of the importance of establishing an infrastructure within your operation to support a safe food culture. So, how does one go about doing this? Well, like any major project, break it into small bites. In our opinion, having a written guide for employees that documents expectations related to food safety basics of employee health and hygiene, temperature controls, and cleaning and sanitizing is the first step. Having this documentation serves as a reference for training and helps fulfill the mission of most foodservice operators which is to serve safe, quality food. We suggest working on one section at a time. For instance, gather materials currently used with staff that address employee health and hygiene measures. Take...

Food Safety Resolutions for the New Year

Finally, 2020 is in our rearview mirror and we can all turn the page to 2021! Resolutions for the new year might be more of the same from prior years (lose weight, exercise more, less screen time, etc.) OR you may have identified new practices to implement in your operation. If the latter, likely goals included some practices related to food safety – especially given the turmoil of 2020 and heightened concern by customers. It is our philosophy that attention to safe food handling practices is a win-win for any operation because of the direct relationship between food safety and food quality, which in turn leads to customer satisfaction. This past year has also demonstrated that attention to safety can affect the bottom line. Thus,...

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),...

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,…

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