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Implementing Active Managerial Control

In our last blog, we defined and discussed the concept ofactive managerial control.  Now we willpresent some ideas on just what is needed to begin an approach of activemanagerial control. Here are some things that you can do in your operation: Understand food safety and the science behind it.  One very basic thing you can do is become a Certified Food Protection Manager. There are several programs that meet the American National Standards Institute-Conference on Food Protection requirements.  One of the most common is ServSafe® from the National Restaurant Association, but there are also four other approved programs. As someone with this certification, you are better prepared to provide food safety training to your employees and better able to explain why it is important to...

Person in Charge has Major Role Related to Employee Health

In the last blog, we talked about the importance of having healthy employees working in a foodservice operation and how that is related to foodborne illness. In this blog, we discuss employee health controls, one of five key public health interventions needed to control for risk factors of foodborne illness. The purpose of this control is to minimize the possibility that employees contaminate food. That means that employees need to be healthy, and that they report any symptoms or illnesses that might impact the safety of food served to customers. The person-in-charge plays a major role in implementing employee health controls. First and foremost, the PIC needs to understand why employee health is important and its impact on the foodservice operation, what must be reported,…

Healthy Employees Keep Food Safe

Last month we talked about norovirus, the leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks. Today we will turn our attention to overall employee health, and its role in keeping food safe. Many of you who are in my generation can relate to the fact that you rarely called in to work sick, and when you did you probably couldn’t get out of bed. You may also relate to being a manager and discouraging people from calling in sick because it was so difficult to be short-handed. Well, that mind set just has to change for the health of everyone! Employees who are ill can spread bacteria and viruses, possibly contributing to foodborne illness. While everyone who eats in your operation is susceptible to foodborne illness, individuals…

Be Prepared—Norovirus Clean-Up Procedures

We are used to daily cleaning and sanitizing procedures, but norovirus clean-up is very different so it is important to be prepared. You should use these procedures if a norovirus outbreak occurs in your operation or if there is any vomiting event.   You might be asking how do you know that norovirus was the cause of a vomiting incident. Well, at the time it occurs you won’t know. So the appropriate action is to assume that all vomiting may be caused by norovirus and clean it up as if it were. It is always better to err on the side of caution. Have a Body Fluid Clean-Up Kit on Hand Many of your food distributors are now offering clean-up kits for sale. You can purchase…

Tis the Season!

Tis the Season! Here it is January, so I bet you all think I have lost my mind! Hanukkah is over, Christmas is over, and the New Year has been rung in—so what in the world? Well, it is cold and flu season—and NOROVIRUS season. While norovirus can occur anytime, the incidence goes up dramatically between late October and April. So, it is important to brush up on norovirus in order to control it in your operation. Norovirus is a common virus that causes diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, headaches, and body aches. Often people think they have the “flu” when it is really norovirus. It is so common that it accounts for more than half of the known cases of foodborne illness outbreaks. It…

Holiday Food Safety RX

There is always a lot to do during the holiday season with extra shopping, baking, social events, decorating, travel, and other tasks to complete. It is not uncommon to hear the rattle of OTC (over the counter) pain killers in other’s personal bags! In this blog, Jeannie and I offer our prescription for keeping food safety during the holidays. Entertaining, whether at home or at the foodservice, requires attention to safe food handling to keep you and your guests healthy (and happy!). Even a person who is not in one of the at-risk categories who has experienced a mild, short-term foodborne illness with 24 to 48 hours of vomiting or diarrhea will tell you it can have a debilitating effect that lasts for several days….

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…

Food Defense Playbook

In the last blog, we raised the question of whether a defensive position is really needed for retail foodservices. I hope you were convinced that incorporating some defensive measures into daily practices will protect food inventory from risks–whether those risks are theft, spoilage, or intentional contamination. After all, food in inventory belongs to the operation so it makes sense to protect it from any risks while in your custody. Intentional contamination is one of the risks that we have to recognize is real in today’s world, regardless of who is the perpetrator. Security cameras are helpful and can serve as a deterrent, but most defensive measures are common sense and relate to controls for access and opportunity. The Food and Drug Administration has good information…

Food Defense—What is Your Game Plan?

We are into the season of Friday Night Lights and for many of you, this is a time when offensive and defensive strategies are discussed and rehashed during Monday morning quarterbacking sessions. Most of you working in foodservices have your “offensive” game under control with menu item and service strategies to ensure customer satisfaction–a big part of your play book. But, how is your “defensive” game? Do you have procedures in place to protect food from intentional contamination? In this blog, we will cover some background on food defense and discuss whether it really is a necessary strategy. In the second posting for this month, action steps for operations to consider will be presented. Is food defense important? Well, before September 11th, 2001 we really…

Evaluating Food Safety

One of the suggestions I made in the last blog was to assess the food safety culture in your organization by observing the food handling techniques of workers. Let’s explore that some more. You can do an overall assessment or you can hone in on specific areas of the operation, such as production or cleaning practices. Remember, when the environmental health inspector visits your operation, he/she just gets a snapshot of what is going on in your operation on that particular day at that specific time. You are there nearly every day, so you have a much better understanding on what really happens in your operation. For our purposes today, let’s focus on the practice of glove use because we know how important the correct…

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