The food service industry is buzzing right now about a report released by the Food and Drug Administration last week revealing the results of a food safety study the FDA conducted over the past 10 years.
What’s the big deal? The FDA found that “a certified food protection manager was correlated with significantly higher compliance levels with food safety practices,” according to Nation’s Restaurant News. In fact, food service establishments with a full-time certified food protection manager were 12% (70% to 58%) more compliant with food safety practices than those without. That’s a pretty large number.
What’s this mean? The FDA will almost certainly modify their Food Code recommendations to include a full-time food protection manager for all food service establishments. That doesn’t mean a mandate for every restaurant in the country – the Food Code is voluntary and different states and cities adopt different parts of the code.
However, a new food safety standard has been set, and there’s no reason for you to sit around and wait for this to become a requirement, which many industry experts expect in the next few years. Needless to say, there is some legitimate concern among restaurateurs that payroll costs are going up in the face of these new recommendations and any future mandates. The last thing you need is another full-time employee doing something you’re already supposed to be doing, right?
So what can you do? Get your management certified. The upshot of these new recommendations is that the FDA has found a fairly simple way to significantly improve your food safety program: train someone well and then make them responsible for managing food safety in your restaurant.
While it’s not entirely clear what a “certified food protection manager” is, there are already courses out there like Serve Safe’s 16 hour training session that will pass muster for now. If all of your restaurant’s managers pass a similar course, then you’re already playing ahead of the game.
The fact of the matter is, if it has been statistically proven to improve food safety compliance, then getting your management certified is a worthy investment.