September 1 marks the start of National Food Safety Month. It’s the perfect opportunity for restaurant owners, managers and other employees to reflect and revamp systems to minimize risks prevalent within the industry. Here’s a list of tips to get service industry professionals in the mindset for National Food Safety Month.
Look for free resources
Because National Food Safety Month is a nationally known event, many industry experts will be doling out free advice. For example, Phil Kafarakis, chief innovation and member advancement officer at the National Restaurant Association, plans to go over food techniques, including storing, thawing and preparing meats, fruits and veggies.
“With our industry serving 130 million meals daily, food safety is always a top priority for the country’s 1 million restaurants and foodservice establishments,” said Kafarakis. “Every September, we look forward to sharing a variety of new resources that contain vital food-safety tips and best practices.”
Chat with experts on social media
Additional free advice will be offered via social media platforms. According to FoodSafetyMonth.com, regular discussions revolving around this year’s theme “Let it Flow,” aimed at food in restaurants, will take place on Twitter with #FoodSafetyMonth and #LetItFlow2015.
National Food Safety Month is broken up into five weeks: receiving, storage, thawing and holding, preparation and service. Restaurateurs can plan accordingly based on weekly themes to make the most of Twitter conversations.
Host seminars for staff
Restaurant managers can pass along any useful information to other employees by hosting a National Food Safety Month event. Even the most seasoned chefs and bartenders can benefit from revisiting food safety techniques.
“1 in 6 Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated food or beverages.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated food or beverages. Foodborne illness occurs because there are so many ways for food to become contaminated between the time it’s produced to when it’s prepared.
Restaurants play a large role in mitigating the risk of foodborne illness for patrons. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that in many cases, these germs can be wiped out before the food is served to guests. Heat is a catalyst that causes microbes to multiply. An abundance of microbes opposed to just a few is what makes someone get ill after eating a meal. That’s why chefs should be cautious about the temperature in which foods are stored. They also need to be careful not to place certain food items near one another. Raw meats can drip onto veggies, contaminating them. Even the best efforts at food safety won’t salvage a meal if something like this happens.
Rethink your corporate shoe policy
This month is also a good time to reflect and improve upon other safety measures that are put in place. Slips, trips and falls can injure employees and cause missed work days and a hike in workmen’s compensation claims. It’s in the best interest of restaurants to mitigate these risks.
Russell Kendzior, founder of the nonprofit National Floor Safety Institute, based in Southlake, Texas, explained to the National Restaurant Association that measuring a floor’s coefficient of friction can give restaurant owners a good idea of what they’re up against.
“The first step in preventing accidents is to test how safe your floors are,” said Kendzior.
From there, restaurant owners should implement changes if necessary including placing safety mats around the eatery, requiring slip-resistant shoes and repairing any worn walkways. Start National Food Safety Month on the right foot by checking out Shoes For Crews selection of slip-resistant footwear.
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