Make Food Safety A Priority in Your Food Service Establishment
Is Food Safety a focal point for your management team? Or merely a box to check on a long list of priorities? Margin pressure, staff turnover, changes in the marketplace and new competition understandably require a significant amount of attention. However, it is important to prioritize sanitation.
Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, E-Coli, Campylobacter jejuni, Staphylococcus – These five bacteria cause most food-borne illnesses. Any one of these can lead to a food-borne illness crisis that could result in an outbreak that sickens your customers, drains your resources, and damages your brand.
Following these 5 steps can help you implement a food sanitation program, protect the health of your customers, and protect your brand!
Quality is never an accident. For a sanitation program to be effective, management must provide feedback to the staff on what is working and what requires corrective actions. Paper checklists that get “pencil whipped” are obsolete.
Multi-location food service operations should seriously consider using mobile technology for quality inspections. Why? Because Mobile Apps make inspections simple. With mobile apps you can capture photos, track corrective actions, extract data to track trends, and ensure that pre-op checklists are completed. The best part? No paperwork!
2) Train, Train, Train
Cleaning isn’t a natural ability. Who taught your employees how to clean? How can they understand the importance of food safety protocols if they don’t receive regular reminders? Provide management with training tools like wall charts, videos and job task cards to educate new staff. Training allows you to hold staff accountable for the results. If you don’t train your employees on proper protocol, what kind of results would you realistically expect?
3) Keep It Simple
Reduce the number of cleaning chemicals the kitchen staff uses. Select food contact safe products that can be effectively used to clean a wide variety of surfaces. Consider Ready To Use products that don’t require mixing to be effective. Installing a chemical dispensing system to accurately dilute your cleaning chemicals with the correct amount of water is effective when used properly.
It is impossible to sanitize a dirty surface. Choose an effective cleaning agent with good wetting agents and surfactants to lift and suspend soil. Contrary to popular belief, bleach doesn’t clean. It will not lift soils or emulsify greases. If your staff loves bleach, consider obtaining a bleach fortified with degreasers to break up grease and remove it from the surface. A good detergent reduces the amount of scrubbing necessary and improves results. Select sanitizers with a broad range of kill claims to ensure they’re effective against the 5 primary food borne illness organism. Also choose a sanitizer that has a broad PPM range of effectiveness to account for soil load. If using bleach to sanitize, ensure the diluted solution is never stored for more than 8 hours and is changed as soon as it’s visibly soiled.
5) Color Code Equipment
Do you use the same mop in the kitchen and the bathroom? Do you use the same rag in the back of the house and also to wipe down tables? If your cutting boards and knives are color coded (they are, aren’t they?), shouldn’t your cleaning supplies? Avoid cross contamination by color coding mops, rags, brushes, squeegees and other sanitation items.
Restaurant industry leaders need to protect their brand by prioritizing food safety. Consider using new technologies to replace outdated inspection lists. Train to transform team behavior. Implement a sanitation program instead of randomly picking cleaning chemicals. Keep is simple, keep it effective, keep your customers healthy. Protect Your Brand!
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