Tag Archives: salmonella

Central’s Week in Brief: July 11

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more. It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

1.) A study by the Mintel Foodservice revealed “consumers believe that more healthful menu selections are pricer than standard restaurant fare, making it tougher for operators to sell nutrition-oriented items to spending-shy guests.” View more results in this Nation’s Restaurant News article.

2.) In an article from Food Safety News, they learned from the CDC that there have been 25 people infected by a strain of Salmonella that has been linked to Idaho sprouts.

3.) Good news for quick-service restaurants and convenience stores/chains.  In this article by Convenience Store News, they spoke with D.A. Davidson & Co.’s Bart Glenn who said “it appears commodity prices have peaked, at least for the near term. Although food inflation will remain an issue through 2012, it is encouraging that prices appear to be normalizing.”

4.) Gulf News revealed in an article that “the Dubai government has launched a clean-technology venture in which waste cooking oil will be converted into eco-friendly fuel.  The biodiesel will be used by fast food giant McDonald’s to operate its delivery trucks.”

5.) We are very excited our next master catalog will be hitting the streets on Monday! If you aren’t on our mailing list, click here to obtain a copy and visit us online to view the latest products and sign up for our emails.


Image from MorgueFile

Central’s Guide to Summer Grilling

The tradition of grilling has really been around since man discovered fire.  However, over time it has gone from an essential cooking method to a weekend pass time and in current years it’s even evolved into contests and cultured cuisine.   Just as the entire idea of cooking outdoors has progressed, so has the tradition within the United States.  In a Salon.com article on grilling it is said that George Washington recorded all of the barbecues he attended/hosted mentioning that he may have in fact been responsible for creating the “first presidential barbecue.”

Image from MorgueFileAs time went on, grilling out seemed to regress back into the survival mentality with Food Network saying, “Until well into the 1940s, grilling mostly happened at campsites and picnics.”  Then in 1951, the world of grilling experienced a huge change, bringing barbecuing and grilling into virtually everyone’s backyard.  According to a piece of trivia in the San Matteo Daily Journal, 1951 was the year that the first kettle-shaped barbecue grill was designed by George Stephen, a worker at Weber Brothers Metal Works near Chicago.  Not only did this invention make is much easier and cheaper to grill on a more frequent basis, it also made way for grilled food to become a common entrée at even the trendiest of restaurants today (including a chain of its own design, Weber Grill).

So with this rich (and tasty) history in mind, Central now shares with you our guide to summer grilling complete with mouth watering recipes that will get the word out that your restaurant has the best grill in town!

Prep/Safety:

  • Temperature safety:

ο To prevent frivolous flipping and ensure cooking temperature use a
meat thermometer like this Dual-Sensing Probe
Thermometer/Timer
and/or a grill thermometer.  Eating
undercooked meat could cause salmonella.

• It’s also helpful to know the general rules on how hot to cook
your food and how long on each side.  Go here for a nice guide.

ο After meat is cooked, do not leave it outside any longer than two
hours when the temperature is lower than 90°F or one hour if the
temperature is above 90°F.

*Tip* – Always pre-heat your grill (both charcoal and gas) to
ensure that the temperature is stabilized so food is not
cooked unevenly.  Whole Foods Market’s Grilling Guide
suggests, lighting coals at least 30 minutes before beginning
to cook on a charcoal grill and at least 15 minutes before on a
gas grill.

  • Do not cook on outdoor grills indoors or under an awning:

ο  If you would like to grill indoors, it is safe to use a Charbroiler
instead.  Using an outdoor grill inside could cause a fire or
even Carbon Monoxide poisoning (when using charcoal).
Always keep water, a fire extinguisher and a burn kit on hand
in case a fire does break out.

  • Be aware of cross-contamination:

ο Be prepared with two plates: one for raw meat and one for
cooked meat.

ο Keep fresh marinades and sauces on hand to use on cooked
meats instead of using those that have been used with the raw
meat.

Image from MorgueFileCharcoal vs. Gas Grilling:

  • Convenience = Gas wins since it’s as easy as turning the knob to get cooking.  Charcoal involves a longer wait, stacking charcoal briquettes or lumps, lighter fluid levels, etc.  Charcoal also requires a little more attention to make sure that the coals are staying hot while gas usually stays at a steadier temperature and can be regulated by a knob.
  • Expense = Charcoal grills are usually less expensive initially, but do require new coals more often whereas a tank of propane can last for a while.  However, with gas prices at +$4/gallon, charcoal may be the winner this summer.
  • Cleanliness = Overall gas is a cleaner burn.  It does not produce much in terms of air pollution due to smoke levels and there is less waste from the actual coals and fluid bottles.
  • Taste = While it is a matter of opinion, there are definitely more options when it comes to a non-gas grill.  In a charcoal grill, briquettes could be used or even different forms of wood chips to add a smokier flavor.  But the only true difference is that a charcoal grill can reach a higher heat which creates a sort of crusting on the outside of the meat, sealing in flavor more easily. However, according to the Amazing Ribs site, “If you use strong flavored rubs, marinades, and sauces, you will never notice taste differences because they hamper browning.”  So all in all it mostly comes down to personal preference.

How to bring it all together:

Once your grilled meal is all prepared, this final thing to always remember when grilling is the importance of a great presentation and marketing!   While you’re wonderful smelling/tasting barbecue may be enough to get most people in the door, invest in a barbecue sign to assure customers that yours really is the place to go for the best barbecue in town.   Once guests are in the door, vinyl tablecloths lend a fun, picnic type vibe to the meal.   As an extra added bonus they are also easy to clean with a damp cloth and are resistant to stains so guests can really dig in without any fear of ruining the table coverings.  To add to the outdoor food vibe you can also serve up all of your delicious food in some rectangular plastic food baskets, which are great for everything from barbecue to fries to just about any other side.   While you’re at it you might want to look into an iced tea brewer to make your guests some sweet tea to wash it all down with!    And although it’s often overlooked, guests full on barbecue will appreciate you placing a toothpick dispenser out once plates have been cleared.

Recipes to try:

Now that you have everything from the past to the dining appearance and all that goes in between down, there’s nothing left but to grab your grill and fire up a few dishes for your anxiously awaiting customers.  We’ve gathered a few for you to try that will be sure to have them coming back for more.

Sweet & Spicy Sauce and Rub: Hank’s Barbecue Sauce (Simply Recipes) & Meathead’s Memphis Dust (Amazing Ribs)

The Classics:  Beer Can Chicken (Simply Recipes) & Barbecued Pork Ribs (Delish)

Something Different: Aussie Burgers (Martha Stewart) & Ancho Chili and Cinnamon Shrimp (Grilling Companion)

For the Veggie Lover: Grilled Eggplant Panini (Eating Well) & Corn n’ Squash Quesadillas (Taste of Home)

Tasty sides:  Bacon and Corn Stuffed Peppers (Taste of Home) & Fire Roasted Artichokes with Herb Aioli Sauce (Razzle Dazzle Recipes)

For your Sweet Tooth: Grilled Bananas Foster (Better Recipe) & Grilled Nutella and Pecan Pound Cake Sandwiches (L.A. Times)

What’s your biggest grilling secret?  Do you have the best sauce recipe around?  Share with us in the comments below.

A crash course in food safety

Recent outbreaks of salmonella in the food supply have brought the restaurant and foodservice industry into the media spotlight. News of illness and recalls associated with spinach, tomatoes and jalapenos has been a serious cause for concern to those who make their livelihood in the foodservice industry. Yet, however widespread it appears to be, according to the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. food supply is the safest in the world.

While recent events have proven it is often difficult to know you’re purchasing food products from safe sources, operators can lessen the risk of receiving contaminated food products by washing hands frequently and thoroughly, not allowing employees to work when ill, segregating fresh produce from other refrigerated foods and washing fresh produce in running water before serving.

The Big Three

In addition to purchasing food from safe sources, other factors that contribute to food-borne illness in foodservice include time-temperature abuse; cross-contamination; and poor personal hygiene. The North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) refers to these as the “Big Three” of unsafe food handling:

  1. Time-temperature abuse occurs when cooked or raw foods are not held or stored at required temperatures; when food is not cooked or reheated to temperatures that kill microorganisms; and when foods are improperly cooled.
  2. Cross contamination occurs when bacteria is transferred among different surfaces and food items. For example, using a cutting board to cut raw meat, and then using it to slice fresh vegetables is a great way to transfer microorganisms.
  3. Last, your staff can transmit diseases through poor hygiene; for example, improper hand-washing, coughing or sneezing around food, handling food after touching open sores or scratches or coming to work when they are sick.

Foods most likely to cause problems

The FDA identifies several groups of foods that, by their nature, are more likely to become contaminated because of the way they are typically processed and handled during distribution:

  • Milk and milk products
  • Red meat and poultry
  • Fish, shellfish and crustaceans
  • Untreated raw eggs
  • Baked or boiled potatoes
  • Cooked rice and beans
  • Tofu or other soy-protein foods
  • Synthetic ingredients such as textured soy protein in meat alternatives
  • Garlic and oil mixtures
  • Sprouts and sprout seeds
  • Sliced melons

It is important that these food products are properly handled, stored and prepared. According to NAFEM, most foods outside these categories are more “forgiving” when it comes to handling abuse and the potential for foodborne illness. In the next section, we’ll go over some important HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) guidelines for safely handling these types of foods. The NRAEF (National Restaurant Association Education Foundation) is also a helpful tool for food safety guidance and training. The ServSafe program provides training and certification to foodservice professionals.

The 7 Principles of HACCP

HACCP is a systematic approach to the identification, evaluation and control of food safety hazards based on the following seven principles:

  1. Conduct a hazard analysis
  2. Determine the critical control points (CCPs)
  3. Establish critical limits
  4. Establish monitoring procedures
  5. Establish corrective actions
  6. Establish verification procedures
  7. Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures

For more information about HACCP guidelines and procedures, please visit FDA.gov.

Essential E&S

According to NAFEM, equipment manufacturers are driven more than ever before by a demand from the foodservice industry marketplace to design equipment and supplies that address these critical food safety and sanitation concerns. Here a just a few common items that promote sanitation and food safety:

  • Color-coded cutting boards. As mentioned earlier, using the same cutting board for raw meat and fresh vegetables could result in a foodservice nightmare. Using a set of color-coded boards helps prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen. You should use a different cutting board for fish, cooked foods, fruits and vegetables, poultry, and red meat.
  • Blast Chillers. Blast chillers are designed to rapidly chill cooked food through the temperature danger zone (135°F to 40°F) to assure food safety. Most models of blast chillers come equipped with probes for critical temperature monitoring and many even have on-board computers and printers for HACCP record-keeping.
  • No-touch faucet handles. Many faucets come with an option for wrist handles, which don’t require users to touch the faucet after washing their hands. More manufacturers are designing sinks and faucets that promote proper hand washing techniques.
  • Antimicrobial technology. A wide variety of equipment and supplies now come coated with antimicrobial protection to ward off bacteria. Everything from youth seating, mop handles, carts, slicers, shelving, dish dollies, thermometers, knives, gloves and floor mats are now available with Microban.
  • No-touch waste containers. Many manufacturers sell “no-touch” models of trash cans and other waste receptacles that don’t required users to make contact with the container. Lids are available in a variety of styles that promote cleanliness.
  • Sneeze Guards. Because the last thing you want is someone sneezing on your salad.
  • Safety Ice Scoop System. Another restaurant item that often gets negative media attention is ice, but using an ice scoop holder will remind staff not to leave the ice scoop in the bin, and most models prevent hands from touching the surface of the scoop.