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Holiday Health

The holidays are here! (A reminder just in case you haven’t seen store decorations and TV ads!). This IS a special time of year with gatherings of friends and families to celebrate, reflect, and partake of food and drink. However, it is also the time of year where the Germ Grinch and excess stress can spoil all the fun. Don’t let that happen on your watch! Common sense practices, based on research and publications by CDC, can keep the Grinch at bay. FoodHandler® also focused on this topic in a recent webinar. In this blog, our first for December, some tips on how to stay healthy during the holidays (and the rest of the year) will be covered while the second blog will address some…

The Politics of Food Safety – Part Two

Hi everyone. Keeping with the theme of politics, our blog postings for the month of November are about food safety regulations. In the first blog, we provided background on agencies and their oversight for different foods. In this blog, we are covering elements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that was signed into law January of 2011. FSMA was heralded as significant food safety legislation as it enhanced and expanded regulatory oversight. FSMA consists of Seven Rules: Preventative Controls for Human and Animal Foods; Produce Safety Rule; Foreign Supplier Verification Programs; Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies; Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food; and Prevention of Intentional Contamination/Adulteration. Most of these Rules affected production, processing, and transportation links of the food chain. While foodservices…

The Politics of Food Safety – Part One

Well, unless you have had your ear buds in and have sequestered yourself from all media, you are aware that November is Election Month! November 6th is the day that voters across the country will weigh in on their representation at local, state, and national levels. Given this frenzy, Jeannie and I thought the politics of food safety would be a great blog theme for this month. Specifically, we will cover the “what” and “why” of legislative actions designed to improve the safety of food from farm to fork. History Lesson Let’s start at the beginning. In 1906, muck-racking journalism was alive and well, and a little book called “The Jungle”, written by Upton Sinclair, was published. The book vividly described the, shall we say,…

September is National Food Safety Month: The Future of Food Safety

Each September we recognize the importance of food safety every day in our operations by celebrating National Food Safety Month. This year’s theme, The Future of Food Safety, emphasizes the changing environment in which foodservice operates.   Each week of September has a unique focus: Regulation Changes—Staying compliant with new regulations Suppliers—Best practices for receiving food Consumers—Responding to new trends and technologies Employees—Their role in ensuring food safety Go to www.foodsafetyfocus.com to download resources related to these four focus areas. At FoodHandler, we believe that food safety should be the focus in foodservice operations every day. This month our blog presents ideas for creating a positive food safety culture, which we believe forms the foundation for a strong food safety program. We are pleased to provide…

September is Food Safety Education Month: The Culture of Food Safety

Developing a culture of food safety is important for any foodservice operation. You may be wondering–just what is a culture of food safety? Let’s start talking about it by first defining what is meant by culture. When you look culture up in the dictionary, you will see terms such as shared knowledge, beliefs, values, attitudes, and meanings; a way of life; patterns of behavior; learned behavior of a group of people; and transmitted from generation to generation. I think these descriptors provide good insight into the meaning of a culture of food safety. You can also think about where you grew up, and a vision of culture comes. For example, I grew up in rural Oklahoma, graduating in the 1970’s with a class of 24…

Produce Safety: Special Considerations

In our last blog, I talked about general produce safety. Today, I want to talk about some special products—melons, tomatoes, leafy greens, and sprouts. These are all foods that have a history of bacterial contamination leading to foodborne illness. I also want to discuss salad bars because they have some special risks. Melons. Cantaloupe is the melon of most concern because it has a webbed rind, and bacteria are easily trapped in that webbing resulting in contamination of the meat of the melon. Many people (maybe some of your staff) think that they eliminate any hazard because they cut away the rind—but that is not the case. In fact, some of our observational research showed staff routinely skipping the wash step for many vegetables with…

SafeBites Time and Temperature Control: Why & When

Hi Everyone – Cathy here. Having written the SafeFood Blog for Iowa State University for over ten years, I am happy to have the opportunity to work with FoodHandler in my retirement. Jeannie and I share with FoodHandler a passion for making sure food served is safe. You might recall in the June blogs, Jeannie presented the Top 5 reasons why food becomes unsafe, and she discussed controls for two of those in efforts to reduce risk of cross contamination leading to a foodborne illness. In this month’s blog, the topic of preventing temperature abuse of foods will be covered. This week, the focus is on the “why” and “when” of time and temperature controls. The second blog in July will identify some action steps...

Mitigation Strategies for Cross Contamination

In our last blog, we talked about cross contamination, including the related risks and sources. Our focus today will be on some of the major strategies that can be used to mitigate cross contamination in a foodservice operation. Before we talk about those strategies, it is important to discuss the role of the management staff in controlling cross contamination. Owners and managers play a key role in food handling behaviors that occur in any foodservice operation. They are the ones who develop food safety policies, procedures, and expectations; provide training; and supervise employees on a daily basis. Each of these functions, which is part of providing active managerial control, will make the difference between a strong, or a weak, food safety program. Now, let’s talk…

Cross Out Cross Contamination

Cross contamination is a major risk factor contributing to foodborne illness, but there are steps that you can take in your foodservice operation to mitigate the risk.  In this blog, we cover the basics of cross contamination, the risks that result, and sources of cross-contamination so that you can understand the serious risk it presents. In the next blog, strategies to lower this risk will be covered. What is cross contamination? Cross contamination is the spread of pathogens (bacteria or viruses) from one surface to another that at some point contacts food. Those surfaces can be hands, equipment, counter tops and cutting boards, people, and even other foods. Cross contact is a related term that we should talk about, too. Cross contact is focused on…

Meet the Food Safety Leadership Team

Meet FoodHandler’s Food Safety Leadership Team: Jeannie Sneed, PhD, RD Dr. Sneed has been an educator and researcher in foodservice operations and food safety for over 30 years. She retired as a professor and administrator from Kansas State University where she also served as a research professor for the Center of Excellence for Food Safety Research in Child Nutrition Programs funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. NSF International awarded her the Lifetime Achievement Award for Food Safety Education and Research in 2007. She holds a PhD in foodservice management with a minor in organizational behavior from The Ohio State University. Catherine Strohbehn, PhD, RD, CP-FS Dr. Strohbehn has been an educator and researcher in the areas of foodservice management and food safety since 1986….

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