Your staff may be familiar with the key foods that tend to pose the greatest risk of foodborne illness, but if your menu is changing to accommodate more plant-based ingredients, your team may need to brush up on the pathogen risks of plant-based foods. This is especially true if the foods aren’t cooked prior to service and therefore provide a more fertile breeding ground for bacteria. Items like tofu; rice; cooked pasta, chickpeas, beans and lentils; herbs and spices; nuts and fresh produce all carry foodborne illness risk. Make sure your staff knows how to prepare and store these items, as well as what signs indicate that something needs to be discarded.
At a time when the supply chain is stressed, it’s all the more important for operators to be able to know and trust the sources of the food they serve – and to be alerted quickly in case of problems. To support that process, the FDA recently announced its Foodborne Outbreak Response Improvement Plan, which includes input from (and an independent review by) the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Food Safety News reports that the plan focuses on four areas of priority: tech-enabled product traceback, developing better systems around root-cause investigations of outbreaks, strengthening the analysis and dissemination of outbreak data, and making operational improvements to better evaluate the timeliness and effectiveness of foodborne outbreak investigations.