Food Safety Goals for 2016

As we head into 2016, we need to look at goals in the foodservice industry. The foodborne illness outbreak in the United States in 2015 from Chipotle Restaurants caused by E. coli resulted in 52 people becoming ill. Also, an outbreak at the Sunnyside Child Care Centre from Staphylococcus caused 86 children to be affected. Every day, outbreaks of foodborne illness are occuring. How can these be prevented? Handwashing is a great start. However, food handlers have heard these words many times but does it really sink in? Not only handwashing, but also time/temperature abuse of foods are factors. In an industry where wages can be low, and where many use their jobs as stepping stones for other careers or to pay for education, attitude can affect how the food is served. Despite this, training can accomplish the education necessary to prevent outbreaks. Regulations are also in force, but alone, cannot be preventive. As an inspector working in the prairies, I remember teaching a group of food workers at a nursing home. They were viewing a short video on Salmonella. The supervisor had noticed staff were mishandling eggs. She thought that a talk from the local health inspector would make an impact rather than her reminding them all the time. The talk did work as subsequent inspections showed improvement in safe handling of eggs in recipes. I’ve always wondered whether receiving their pay cheques right after the presentation had anything to do with retaining the knowledge! Happy New Year!

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ENVIRO-FOOD CONSULTING is a foodservice consulting business run by Sally de la Rue Browne, Certified Public Health Inspector and Food Safety Specialist.

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