What portion of your guests are seniors? Adults over the age of 60 are more likely than younger adults to be hospitalized or to experience complications due to foodborne illness. They tend to struggle to fight off pathogens such as E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella. Keep this in mind when selecting suppliers and planning your menu – particularly your delivery menu as your food faces greater security risk and has more opportunity to enter the temperature danger zone. Make your staff aware of the need to take special precautions with foods such as raw meat, fish and dairy, which are more susceptible to contamination than other foods.
So much is said about how meats must be handled and stored to protect safety, but less so about vegetarian or vegan meat substitutes. Dr. Joseph Puglisi, a professor of structural biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine who also chairs a scientific advisory board for Beyond Meat, told Food Safety News that the risks of contamination and spoilage are much lower with meatless products overall. E. coli and other pathogens grow more slowly in plant-based meats than in conventional meats. However, there are still food safety risks to monitor. They tend to relate to any allergens present in the meat substitutes, along with chemical additives that aren’t fully understood.
If you’re having problems with food safety and contamination, could your sanitizer be to blame? While microorganisms may develop resistance to sanitizer, but chances are better that your challenges are due to other issues around your facility. According to a Food Safety Magazine report, it’s more important to focus on following each step of the cleaning process, addressing problems with poorly designed equipment with crevices that can harbor microorganisms, applying your sanitizer over the entire surface, and being aware of biofilms that can form on surfaces and encase a microorganism (and require a different kind of treatment).
Even before the pandemic, restaurant guests would make assumptions about the state of the restrooms and what they might indicate about the restaurant’s commitment to food health and safety. Now that guests are all the more aware of cleaning and sanitation practices, as well as the ways in which viruses can spread, it’s important that your restaurant presents you well. If your restaurant has high-traffic periods, make sure you have larger dispensers that help ensure you won’t get caught short on soap and hand towels. Replace air dryers. Finally, develop a clear checklist of maintenance tasks and have your staff check restrooms at regular intervals.
Throughout the past year, restaurants that once had buffet lines, salad bars and other self-service stations have had to reinvent them for the current environment – and those changes may be permanent. This has also resulted in the introduction of more action stations and grab-and-go options, as well as changes in how employees are assigned to tasks within the operation. It’s a good time to make sure your team is up to date on current safety precautions. They should understand how to maintain proper temperatures for hot- and cold-held foods, preheat foods for hot-holding, prevent cross-contamination when bringing in fresh food or serving a guest, and when to discard food that has been sitting out for service.
A survey from US Foods found that 28 percent of delivery drivers said they had taken food from an order – and 50 percent of drivers had been tempted. It’s worth reviewing your delivery menu and removing items that are easy to pilfer – like fries – and using tamper-evident packaging and labels suited to the food and container to make sure everything arrives as it should. Paper-based labels can tear more easily than film-based labels and are more apt to show tampering if there is a removal attempt, but they also may not stand up as well to contact with liquids or condensation. Need a source for tamper evident solutions check out our selections from various vendors at https://www.foodserviceceo.com/tamper-evident-solutions.html
If you’re in a hurricane zone or have been experiencing an increase in extreme weather conditions in recent years, you’ve likely been making changes to your food safety and business continuity plans. Installing rooftop solar panels may help – in a number of ways. While the panels are more often associated with homes, they can provide businesses with extra risk protection and cost savings in case of power outages. And at a time when people are more concerned with their environmental impact, the use of renewable energy is a powerful way to share those values with guests.
As plant-based proteins flood restaurant menus of all types, food safety practices around these foods may be lagging – all at a time when consumers have greater expectations for food safety overall. The nutrition company Kerry said because of the wide range of materials used in plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, plant-based proteins may be susceptible to microbial spoilage: “Like their meat-based counterparts, they are near neutral in pH, high in protein and moisture content so it is imperative that appropriate microbiological control mechanisms are put in place,” the company said. Does your operation have new procedures and training in place for protecting the safety of the new plant-based proteins you are bringing into your business?
Leafy greens and other vegetable row crops are a key source of E. coli infections. Indoor agriculture is on the rise – and it could provide restaurants with a means of minimizing the risk of foodborne illness and use of pesticides, while ensuring that the greens and other produce they want to serve is available to them year-round. Since indoor farming environments differ from conventional ones, there’s a new food safety certification program specifically for leafy greens grown via controlled-environment agriculture (CEA). The CEA Food Safety Coalition says the annual certification, which involves such factors as a hazard analysis, a review of a facility’s growing infrastructure and design, and an assessment of any pesticide use, can help educate regulators and consumers about the benefits of growing crops in controlled environments.
As restaurants welcome guests back into their dining rooms, operators are likely to have to stretch to accommodate the demand, making it easier for safety to fall through the cracks. Using digital checklists can help you uphold your safety standards and avoid a pile-up of risks throughout a shift. If your servers are using tablets to take orders, add a digital food safety app that provides a quick, easy-to-reference rundown of the cleaning and sanitation tasks that need to be done between guests – such as wiping down tables, chairs and any tabletop items.