Food safety is probably one of the most important things, that oddly enough, many people don’t really think about too intently. When we visit our favorite restaurants, most of us assume that they have taken all proper precautions to keep our food safe, and for the most part, they do. However, the fact remains that there can almost always be room for procedure failures, like employee hygiene or surface contamination, because after all, we are all human. That said, there is also always room for improvement, even if that improvement is a simple reminder.
In honor of Worldwide Food Service Safety month, we would like to pass on some of those simple reminders about the importance of food safety that we may unintentionally take for granted, and some technology resources that are shaping the future of food safety.
Did you know?
The CDC estimates that 1 in 6 Americans get sick from contaminated food or beverages and 3,000 die from foodborne illness every year. Now, to be clear, these statistics include food consumed at home as well, but the majority of foodborne illnesses are linked to food service and catering. The purpose of this statistic is to put the food safety issue into perspective, so that we all understand that there is no restaurant immune to this potential problem. The good news is that foodborne illness and food contamination is 100% preventable!
Back to Basics
Basic hygiene is crucial when handling food. It’s important that all employees properly wash their hands before, during and after handling food, using warm water for twenty seconds, making sure to get a good lather between fingers and under nails. It’s equally important to wash utensils, cutting boards and countertops with hot, soapy water. Wiping off the counter with a kitchen rag just won’t cut it. We have mentioned in a previous blog the importance of having a cleaning schedule. This helps ensure that everything is being cleaned regularly and the responsibilities are dispersed evenly.
The Danger Zone
How and where you store your food matters. Bacteria multiplies quickly, and can potentially destroy your business if a customer should get sick. Storing food in the correct containers and at the correct temperatures is vital, and will keep dangerous bacteria from growing and spreading. Remember that cross contamination can happen in the cooler as well, so make sure to store different foods separately.
The Future of Food Safety
Technology has had a huge impact on the food service industry, now it’s having an impact directly on food safety. There are several innovative tools out there that can keep your kitchen and food safe. We will leave you with one such example.
Phenium is an automated restaurant intelligence food safety monitoring system that gives you a comprehensive picture of your kitchen and restaurant operations. This software monitors temperatures around your kitchen and food storage areas, and will alert you of any problems. Preventative measures with tools like this will not only keep you ready for health inspections, but will save you money and potential profit loss in the future.
Worldwide Food Service Safety month was started by the National Restaurant Association in 1994. The importance of food safety should never go unrecognized and this month gives restaurants a chance to remember why they continue to strive for excellence when it comes to how they handle their food.