September is National Food Safety Month

Did you know that September is National Food Safety Month?  If you do not currently have a food safety program in place, then it is important that you implement one if you are in the foodservice business.  Not only will implementing a food safety program protect your establishment and employees, but it will also protect your patrons and keep them coming back.

Implementing a food safety program should be one of the top priorities in the foodservice industry.  It may take a little time and effort; however, in the end it will be well worth it.  The National Restaurant Association estimates that the foodservice industry serves 130 million people on a typical day in the United States (Source: Food Safety News).  Keeping that in mind, here are some facts to think about related to food safety

  • “Nearly 61 percent (241,300) of all injury and illness cases reported in the ‘leisure and hospitality’ category occurred in food service and drinking establishments” (Source: Work Safe).
  • “Nearly four out of 100 full-time workers in food service and drinking establishments report experiencing a work-related injury or illness” (Source: Work Safe).

Don’t wait to implement a food safety program. Just one case of food poisoning or a health violation can seriously damage a restaurant’s reputation.  If you own an Entertainment Facility that serves food, then this also applies to you. (deleted last sentence here)

Perky’s Pizza Chef and Director of Operations, Bill Sweet, has identified some of the most important safety protocols that your restaurant staff should keep in mind.

  • Proper Hand Washing – When handling food it’s important to wash your hands frequently.  Make sure to use clean, warm, running water, and soap.  Scrub hands with soap for 20 seconds (about the length of time to sing the ABC Song).
  • Storage Temperatures – Make sure all refrigeration in your location is set to a temperature of 36° +/- 2° and your freezers are at a temperature of 0° +/- 10°.
  • Cooked Internal Product Temperature – Ensure internal product temperatures of cooked items are no less than 165°.
  • Serving Temperatures – When serving food, it’s important to maintain a minimum of 155° at the time of service to the customer.

Below are some links to help ensure you’re following food safety guidelines.  This information will help you put together a food safety program for your establishment.

Food Safety Checklist Resources:

Safe Food Handling

Basics for Handling Food Safely

Consumer Food Safety Education Conference 2014

As an establishment that serves food, it’s your responsibility to keep your employees and patrons safe.  Take time to set up a food safety program and make sure your employees understand the importance of maintaining food safety.   Your employees represent your business – make sure they know how to leave a positive lasting impression on your patrons.