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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…

Communicating Food Safety Messages

In our first blog for October, we reviewed the fundamentals of effective communication. We suggested considering the framework of Who, What, When, Where, and How for crafting messages and determining the best method for delivery. In this blog, we provide some suggestions on how to effectively message about correct handwashing and glove use, as these are fundamental safe food handling practices. Correct handwashing by employees is often hit or miss. Research shows that staff know when and how to wash hands correctly, but don’t always act on that knowledge due to time availability, lack of supplies, or not being aware of the critical nature of handwashing. The message of why, when and how to wash hands in a foodservice setting needs to be conveyed. Managers…

Get it Right! Using Risk-Based Inspections to Your Advantage

Our August and September blogs have emphasized the importance of following food handling behaviors that will reduce risks of foodborne illness in your operation, and contribute to positive guest experiences.  The checklists we provided can help you in analyzing your operation for strengths and weaknesses—and in the long run improve the safety of food served. Your state’s health agency may give a letter grade, a numeric score, or a green/red/yellow at the end of your inspection.  Whatever grading scheme is used, you are aiming for the top score—an “A”, a 100%, or a green light for go!  But you need to remember, the facility inspection by external reviewers only provides a snapshot of what is going on that particular day in your operation.  You are…

What Do Your Guests see? A Front of House Checklist to Ensure Quality and Safety of Food

Hi Everyone! Here it is September already – Food Safety Education Month!  Where did the summer go???? As you may recall from the first blog posted in August, we talked about how Risk-Based Inspections are the new normal for most regulatory health authorities and the importance of day-to-day oversight to prevent foodborne illness and ensure quality of food served. In our opinion every staff member in the foodservice operation has a role to play in keeping food safe and meeting quality standards. Being big believers in checklists, we created a 21-point checklist (see second August blog) to help address key risk factors in the back of the house–time and temperature controls, food from approved sources, cleaning and sanitizing, and of course, employee health and hygiene….

Risk-Based Inspections–Risk Nothing®

Every day we make decisions that have a risk component—what happens if we do something and what happens if we don’t?  While some of you may be risk takers in some parts of life, risks related to food safety should not be taken because the consequences are too great—the possibility of a foodborne illness causing customers to get sick, and maybe even die, not to mention the negative publicity for the operation. For those of you who read our blogs routinely, you know that we always end with the FoodHandler tagline—Risk Nothing.  In recent years, you probably have noticed a shift in the approach that environmental health specialists are taking with your routine health inspections.  Today, most are conducting what are called risk-based inspections.  In…

Training – The Answer to Everything?

Will training of staff fix everything that is wrong with the workplace? Well, not really, although it certainly is identified often enough as the silver bullet! Someone not doing something the right way? Send them for training (or retraining!) As Dr. Kevin Roberts covered in the recent SafeBites Webinar  about development of the workforce, training staff is key in building a strong food safety culture in any foodservice operation. This first blog for April will address the fundamentals of training.Later this month, the second blog will focus on some “how to’s” that you mightuse. Often the Person-in-Charge (PIC), who is knowledgeable about food safety andhas earned a Certified Food Protection Manager Credential, is designated asresponsible for employees’ safe food behavior. Yet, the PIC may not...

Implementing Active Managerial Control

In our last blog, we defined and discussed the concept of active managerial control.  Now we will present some ideas on just what is needed to begin an approach of active managerial 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...

Food Safety Doesn’t Just Happen!

No, food safety in retail foodservices doesn’t happen by accident—it is well planned and executed. It is controllable and foodborne illnesses are preventable! While food workers implement correct food handling and cleaning practices, the operators (managers, supervisors, or the person-in-charge) play a key role in making sure that safe food handling practices are known to all and actually followed. Today, we are introducing you to the term active managerial control and what it means in your operation.  In the next blog, we will talk about how it is implemented in foodservice operations.   What is active managerial control? It is a proactive approach to food safety where procedures and systems are in place to identify potential food safety issues, and allow you to address them...