Food Safety is More Than Passing a Health Inspection
Health inspections are a regular part of life in any food service business, but too often it’s easy for a restaurant or commercial kitchen to fall into the trap of just passing the inspection rather than regularly practicing good food safety procedures.
This series is intended to help your business improve food safety practices, because it’s about more than passing an inspection. It’s about protecting yourself, your employees, and your customer.
The FDA estimates that 81,000 people suffer from a food borne illness every year, and that 9,000 deaths are a direct result of a preventable food borne illness. Food borne illnesses are still the leading cause of emergency room visits in the United States.
With those sobering statistics in mind, here are some tips to help you make safe food handling an integral part of your day-to-day routine:
Tip #1: Know Your Food Suppliers
Finding quality food suppliers is the first step in developing a quality food safety program. Food should arrive at your restaurant or commercial kitchen fresh and at the proper temperature. Some tips to find the right supplier:
Start by developing quality control guidelines. Set clear standards for what food should look like when it arrives. This makes it easier for anyone checking in new food supplies to inspect and evaluate the quality of arriving product.
When searching for new food suppliers, know exactly what you want in a product before ordering so that you can ensure your new supplier is meeting the proper standard in quality.
Inspect food shipments. Carefully inspect and grade the quality of new food shipments. Use a good thermometer to check the temperature of the product as it’s being unloaded, especially if you are using a new supplier. Track the quality of shipments and flag suppliers that are bringing you degraded product.
If you have developed standard guidelines, train other managers or trusted employees to inspect shipments as well.
The search for suppliers should be ongoing. Suppliers vary in price and quality, and it’s important that you constantly evaluate these two factors with your current suppliers.
Always make sure your suppliers are certified for the food service industry. If they aren’t performing, don’t be afraid to find another source for food products.