This guest post is by Greg McGuire, editor of The Back Burner, a foodservice blog written by the employees of Tundra Specialties and covering all aspects of the restaurant industry, from equipment and product information to restaurant marketing and management tips.
Many things change in the restaurant business, often with frightening speed, but one thing that remains constant is the need for an effective food-safety program. Good food safety requires a lot of training, attention to detail and vigilance, and no restaurateur can afford to operate without a good program in place.
That means a lot of time goes into every food-safety program — and rightly so — but it doesn’t mean there aren’t some great products out there that can make any program more effective. Here’s a short list of easy ways to make food safety safer.
- Color-coded cutting boards and knives. Cross contamination is a big problem, and color coding is an easy way to control it even in the busiest kitchen. When raw meats, seafood and vegetables all have their own colored cutting board and knife, the chance of pathogens inadvertently moving from one type of food to another is greatly reduced. Color-coding also reduces the number of times cutting boards and knives need to be washed and enables staff to accommodate diners with food allergies more effectively.
- Ice scoops and buckets. Many restaurants don’t even think about food safety when handling ice, and that’s unfortunate because unlike most of the food coming out of the kitchen, ice is never cooked before it’s served. That means controlling contamination here is vital to preventing an outbreak. Luckily there are several products designed to help restaurant staff prevent the contamination of ice. Most important are ice scoops with hand guards and ice totes with built-in handles to prevent direct contact.
- Data loggers. These nifty little devices automatically record the temperature in refrigeration units and also can log the temperatures taken by an accompanying thermometer. This data can then be aggregated and transferred to a computer via a USB connection. As they say, knowledge is power and data loggers give restaurateurs the power to know the exact temperature at which food product is stored.
- FIFO squeeze bottles. First In First Out squeeze bottles make it easy to store condiments, sauces and other food product in a way that makes sure the oldest product is used first. This has the dual benefit of reducing waste and the likelihood of serving contaminated product.
- Hand-sink foot pedals. Adding a foot pedal to the hand sink where employees wash their hands eliminates the need for touching anything besides paper towels right after cleaning up, and that means less opportunity for contamination. Plus, a foot pedal uses less water.
It’s always good to have help in the ongoing fight against pathogens, and these five products will make any food-safety program work smarter instead of harder. Even better, these tools don’t require a lot of investment or training to implement, and that’s good news when it comes to making a food-safety program more effective.
What products have you introduced to your kitchen to increase food safety?
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