Sliced lemon (or lime) is a popular request in any restaurant, whether you’re serving a cocktail, a soft drink or a carafe of water. Just make sure your staff are being mindful of food safety when slicing, handling and storing these items. While various nonscientific studies of lemon safety in restaurants have made overblown headlines over the years, there are risks to be aware of. Research conducted in 2019 by the University of Florida’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Citrus Research and Education Center and Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences found that Salmonella can survive on lemon and lime garnishes and transfer into chilled beverages. Keeping the slices chilled on ice and in refrigeration decreases the growth of Salmonella on the fruit surface. It’s also important to minimize the risk of cross-contamination when preparing and handling lemon and lime as there is no step to remove or kill pathogens when they contact the fruit surface. Handling the slices only with clean tongs stored outside of the container can help.
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.
Eggs are on the rise. Last year, USDA forecasts indicated that Americans were on track to eat about 279 eggs annually per person – more than they have consumed in about 50 years. Amid the push to provide consumers with satisfying proteins that are not meat, your restaurant may be among the many operations adding eggs to everything from burgers to pizza. In the process, however, make sure you’re taking precautions to prevent Salmonella. The FDA estimates that Salmonella-contaminated eggs cause 79,000 cases of foodborne illness and 30 deaths per year. To help prevent contamination, the FDA advises kitchen workers to wash hands, equipment, utensils and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after they touch raw eggs and other foods containing them. Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. Dishes containing eggs should be cooked to a temperature of 160˚F. Finally, if you prepare recipes that call for raw or undercooked eggs, look for eggs that have been treated to destroy Salmonella through in-shell pasteurization.