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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...

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…

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…

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...

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,…

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…

Accountability Supports Food Safety Culture

With the low unemployment numbers, and competition for good workers, many managers may choose to look the other way when staff do not complete tasks when and how they should. You may recall the parent who tells the little scamp, I’m going to count to three – one, two, two and a half, two and three quarters, etc. – only to find there is no change in behavior. That little scamp may well end up in juvie because he/she was never held accountable for behavior – the parents always looked the other way just to keep the peace. But a failure to act has unintended consequences, not just for the child, but for others in the family. It is the same in any foodservice operation–lack…

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