-   OR   -

Home / Archive by Category "Newsletters"

Archives

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…