As we celebrate our nation’s independence over this holiday, it is common for restaurants to experience increased volume. As Restaurant.org points out, it is always important to follow proper food safety, but this increased traffic provides an opportunity to revisit some basics. Here are a few quick food safety tips via Restaurant.org.
Keep food out of the temperature danger zone
With this increase in volume, there is a tendency to bring out large quantities of ingredients to make prep time quicker. However, it’s important to make sure these ingredients don’t fall below the danger temperature mark. To avoid this, only pull out limited quantities. Shop our large selection of food prep thermometers here.
Double-check sanitizer concentration levels
Any surface in which food comes into contact with must be cleaned and sanitized. When there’s need for quick table turns, this sometimes gets overlooked. Assign someone on the shift to check sanitizer levels every hour. Shop cleaning supplies here.
Wash your hands
This may seem obvious, but it is the most important element of good food safety, and the easiest way to reduce the risk of cross contamination. The faster we work, the less inclined we are to slow down for handwashing. Keep all sinks stocked with soap and reinforce this importance with your staff. Shop soap and restroom supplies here.
October is National Farm to School Month, a time that encourages reflection and appreciation of the hard work our dedicated farmers do for all of us on a daily basis. Farm to school places special emphasis on the relationship between schools and local food producers devoted to delivering fresh, healthy foods to thousands of students on a daily basis. Organizations like the National Farm to School Network use this time to reach out to local communities, educating and advocating for strengthening these local relationships between communities and local food providers with the goal of filling every student’s tray with a healthy lunch full of local ingredients.
As the demand for locally sourced produce increases across the nation, this month also provides an opportunity to revisit proper food safety. I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Corporate Chefs Chris Gardner and Jeff White to learn more about the importance of food safety, and tactics every foodservice employee should follow to properly ensure the well-being of their hungry guests.
We started the conversation by establishing a basic understanding of the importance of food safety.
Every year, roughly 48 million Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from food-borne diseases. This part of why Gardner and White emphasized HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and ServSafe as key components of everything they do because, stating that in any environment, be it a five-star restaurant or a fast-food joint, you have a much lower risk of getting sick from the food because the operators practice their guidelines.
There are food-borne illnesses and cross-contamination everywhere, and special consideration must be made for those with allergies. In these situations, cross-contamination can lead to severe illness. If you work in a school or restaurant, this could lead to lawsuits and lost business. The protocols laid forth by the HACCP and ServSafe provide expert tactics and proper protocol to avoid this.
It’s also possible to acquire a foodborne illness from particles in the earth and fertilizers that attach to the product. This is why thoroughly washing all produce is mandatory.
Local produce starts on the farm, and is transported to the manufacturer immediately after harvest. It isn’t until the stock reaches the manufacturer that proper cleansing begins. “From the field to where the manufacturing plant is, there isn’t usually a lot of wash. It’s once they get to the plant where wash cycles begin,” Chris says. This process is usually documented so by chance there was an outbreak, manufacturers can track it back to its origins in order to isolate and prevent its spread.
In today’s foodservice world, establishments and institutions are using a lot of pre-packaged foods, such as salad mix. The companies packaging these products are using HACCP guidelines for extra insurance that they will not result in a foodborne illness. However, it is still important to rinse the product thoroughly before preparing for consumption. Many of the products use chemical preservatives to extend the shelf life. While this is not necessarily a negative in and of itself, these chemicals were not meant to be ingested.
When working in institutions such as schools, and preparing daily lunches in bulk, properly cleansing products is a time-consuming task. This brings us to Duke Manufacturing’s new X-Green™ Produce Safety System.
The X-Green™ Produce Safety System
This produce safety system allows the user to thoroughly soak all varieties of fruits and vegetables in bulk, ensuring their proper handling while saving labor. It includes many settings, from soaking in cold water, to injecting Fit® wash solution to remove pesticides, wax, soil and bacteria.
This product enhances your HACCP program, and when combined with Fit produce wash, destroys up to 99.99% of the harmful bacteria that causes food-borne illness. It has even been tested and validated by the U.S. Navy for its effectiveness at cleaning fresh produce, as well as reducing labor.
The system offers a number of innovative features to assist in improving quality and verifying food safety compliance:
Automatic injection of wash agent to ensure correct pH levels
Programmable wash cycles, which can be custom tailored to your operation
Timer alarms to signal cycle completion, which allows your staff to multi-task
Statistical reporting and labeling for food safety compliance
Batch processing at high volumes, leading to reduced food deliveries and costs
The X-Green Produce Safety System is fast, efficient, easy to use, improves product quality, saves labor, and enhances food safety compliance – the number one priority for every foodservice operation. It will be available for sale on Central’s website in the near future.
If you would like more information about HACCP standards, click here.
In 1984, three investors created San Jamar which has become a leading manufacturer for food safety, counter service, personal safety and washroom products. When it comes to their selection, each and every product San Jamar creates is customer driven. The process often begins working alongside companies to learn every facet of their operation. From there, they identify pain points to create safe and efficient solutions.
Food Safety Ideas
If your foodservice operation is looking to improve your food safety efforts, San Jamar has a large variety to meet your needs. Check out a few ideas below and visit our website for all things San Jamar!
You can find all things San Jamar on our website! Our Product Consultants are also happy to help assist with any of your foodservice equipment and supply needs. You can give them a call at 800-521-1277 or chat with them live.
Did you know that September is National Food Safety month? If you did not, it’s probably because a successful restaurant operator knows that food safety is important every month…every day…and every hour. Their customers and employees expect it.
2014 is the National Restaurant Association’s 20th year of National Food Safety Month
According to the NFSM website, the event was created in 1994 by the National Restaurant Association to heighten awareness about the importance of food safety education. Each year has a different theme and for 2014 they highlight ‘20 tips for 20 years of National Food Safety Month‘ through videos, posters and training materials.
Step By Step; Week By Week
All the materials are based in ServSafe®Food Safety Training Programs and broken into four weeks of general themes: Week 1: Cleaning and Santiizing Week 2: Cross-Contamination Week 3: Time-Temperature Control Week 4: Personal Hygiene Week 5: Allergens Operators can use the videos and quizzes on the site to educate their employees about the issues in simple terms. For example, a week 1 video on Cleaning and Sanitizing explained how bar surfaces where drink garnishes are cut need to be treated the same as a kitchen food prep surface. The video continues by showing the steps to safely treat that surface. http://youtu.be/m8RT3JOUqXo In week 2, the quiz asks a question to remind employees to always store fruits and vegetables above meats in the refrigerator to eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination from meat juices. Future weeks will also include poignant topics, including a video where people with food allergies talk about the dangers of allergic reactions from cross-contaminated or non-labeled ingredients in restaurant dishes.
An allergen kit includes separate utensils to use when working on an order with a specific allergen concern.
It’s official–come March 2013, those in New York City will have to say goodbye to all their favorite sugary beverages in capacities over 16 ounces. The law was passed on Thursday September 13 by the New York City Board of Health. Nation’s Restaurant News reported the new changes will impact restaurants, sports venues, movie theaters, street cars and delis but not retail food and convenience stores (they are under the jurisdiction of the state and aren’t regulated under this new ban). While this is a win for those who wanted the ban to be put in place, many restaurants and other foodservices impacted aren’t happy with it at all. NRN quoted the National Restaurant Association, who said the ban “unfairly targets restaurants and is a misguided tactic to impact the obesity problem.”
Beef Products Inc. Files Lawsuit Against ABC News. Inc.
The nation was stunned earlier in the year when news, photos and video of “pink slime” was released–so much so that Beef Products Inc. (BPI) said it led to the closure of three plants and 700 layoffs. ABC News was one of the sources that reported on the issue, and BPI has filed a defamation lawsuit with them for $1.2 billion in damages. Huffington Post reported BPI has claimed ABC’s coverage of their meat mislead customers into thinking the product wasn’t healthy or safe.
McDonald’s Announces They Will Post Caloric Information On All Menu Boards
While some states have made posting calorie counts on their menu boards mandatory, McDonald’s announced they will add caloric information to all menu boards in the United States. Voluntarily. In a September 12 press release, McDonalds’ President Jan Fields made the announcement the information will be added to restaurant and drive-thru menus to help customers and employees “make nutrition-minded choices.” The information was already available, but now will easier for customers to find. Fields also stated that later in the fall, they will introduce a voluntary e-learning program to approximately 750,000 employees to help build their knowledge on calories, nutrition and the menu items they offer. They will be making some other changes as well, read the press release for all information.
Central Posts Food Safety Resource Guide for National Food Safety Month
In honor of food safety month, Central has posted a Food Safety Resource Guide. The way food is handled, served and stored must be a top priority for all types of foodservices, and we want to ensure all foodservices have the tools and resources they need. The guide includes blogs, buying guides, products and general tips for food safety.
One High School’s Way of Upgrading for New USDA Standards
For the schools across the country looking for ways to update their cafeterias, Chesterton High School in Chesterton, Ind. is a good example to follow. According to the school’s Director of Food Services, Kay Nallenweg, they’ve removed their fryers and will no longer fry their foods, but will bake them. Nallenweg told the Times of Northwest Indiana she felt like they had offered healthy foods in the past, but will now have more. And so far, it’s gone over really well with students. She also added Chesterton High School has remodeled their cafeteria to have a “food court” atmosphere with items made to order.
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) kicked off National Food Safety Month on September 1. This annual NRA campaign raises awareness about food safety and stresses the importance of education.
The way food is handled, served and stored must be a top priority for all types of foodservices.
Failing to cook a product thoroughly could make a customer sick. Using the wrong cutting board could cause a critical health situation for a person with a food allergy. There are an endless amount of possible outcomes when there is a lack of safe food handling practices.
The last thing any foodservice establishment needs is to to be pinned as a place that causes an illness or lacks cleanliness. First of all, it puts customers and/or your staff at risk. Second, thanks to social media, it could give your business a bad reputation. Customers turn to other customers for reviews. Unfortunately, people are more likely to post about a negative experience over a positive. So, if your foodservice creates an issue for a customer due to a failure on your part to handle food safely, word might spread.
For this year’s Food Safety Month, we compiled a food safety resource guide from our blogs, buying guides and products. Be sure to check out a couple general tips at the end on cooking temperatures and handwashing techniques.
1. Use soap and warm (+105°F) running water
2. Rub hands vigorously for 20 seconds
3. Be sure to wash all surfaces, including backs of hands, wrists, between fingers and under nails
4. Use nail brush around and under fingernails
5. Rinse well under running water
6. Dry hands with paper towel
7. Turn off the water and open door knobs using a paper towel rather than bare hands
Be sure to wash hands frequently, especially after coming in contact with bare body parts, leaving/returning to the work area, coughing, sneezing, using a handkerchief, using tobacco, eating or drinking, handling soiled equipment, after food preparation (to avoid cross-contamination), switching between raw food and ready-to-eat food and any other activity that may contaminate the hands.
Over the last couple weeks we’ve continued to see the effects of the drought on the nation’s heartland and have heard many speculations as to how it will impact food prices. According to U.S. Drought Monitor, updated last on Thursday August 30, many states are still categorized at the D4 level, the most intense type of drought on the scale. This may change over the next few days as many Midwest states will receive much needed rainfall with the remnants of Hurricane Issac. However according to a Chicago Tribune article, an agricultural meteorologist said the remnants will stall crop harvests and could cause some localized damage.
National Restaurant Association to Kick Off National Food Safety Month
“Be safe, don’t cross-contaminate” says the National Restaurant Association, who kicks off their 18th annual National Food Safety Month on September 1. NFSM is an annual NRA campaign that brings more awareness to food safety. Through the campaign, NRA offers a variety of tools for restaurants such as training activities and posters. All materials are free and can be found on the Serv Safe website.
Registration Has Begun for the US Pizza Team Trials and American Pizza Championship
Does your pizzaria have something special that others don’t? Do you have a special technique that puts you ahead of your competition? You can use all the skills that make your pizza place special at this year’s US Pizza Team Trials and American Pizza Championship. According to the U.S. Pizza Team website, “The U.S. Pizza Team was established in 2000 as a vehicle to further promote the pizza industry and independent pizzerias through friendly competition, live and televised performances, team and individual appearances and more.” They added attending team members gain a sense of camaraderie with others providing an overall positive outcome for customers.
Last Chance to Sign Up for September’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry
For restaurants, both independent and multi-units, looking to increase sales and raise money for a great cause, Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry™ is the perfect fundraiser. Dine Out For No Kid Hungry enables restaurants to donate a portion of sales to help end childhood hunger. There’s no registration fee or minimum donation amount to join and Share Our Strength has literally done all the work enabling restaurants to get started quickly with little effort on their part. While the official week for the event is September 16-22, Share Our Strength® welcomes and encourages restaurants to participate anytime and for as long as they’d like during the month of September. The last day to sign up is Friday September 7. Register today! Contact Share Our Strength Senior Manager Jessie Sherrer at 202-478-6505 with questions.
Labor Day Weekend Restaurant Sales and Promotions
Looking to dine out this weekend? We’ve looked all over the web and found some deals going on this weekend so you can dine out, boost restaurant sales and save some money at the same time.
Cambro has been in the foodservice industry for over 60 years and sell a variety of products from carts and trays to food pans and shelving. They strive to make the foodservice worker’s job easier by creating solutions to store, deliver and serve food safely. Food labels should be a priority in every kitchen, and Cambro has many products to help foodservices with their food labeling system. To help start a food labeling system, or enhance the current one in place, Cambro has put together this video, the Five Steps to Food Safety.