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National Restaurant Association - 5 tips to ward off summer foodborne illness outbreaks

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5 tips to ward off summer foodborne illness outbreaks

It is always important to learn and practice proper food safety techniques when handling or preparing food and that is especially true for summer. Why? Warm, moist conditions during those months create the perfect environment for foodborne illnesses, like Salmonella and E.coli, to occur.

Ashley Miller, one of our food safety experts, explains what to be mindful of and how to prevent illness outbreaks from ruining your summer business. Here are five tips to follow:

  1. Receiving protocols: Ensure that foods requiring time and temperature control for safety – also known as TCS foods – are monitored for time and temperature abuse. It is important they be refrigerated first so they don’t sit out in danger zone temperatures. TCS foods include milk and dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, melons, cut leafy greens and soy protein.
  1. Maintain proper storage temperatures: During the summer, coolers and freezers strain to maintain the proper cold temperatures. Double check your cooler maintenance schedule to ensure it is up to date. Also, train your employees to limit the number of times they go in and out of the walk-ins, and monitor the cooler’s temperature to help catch potential problems before thousands of dollars of food are spoiled and wasted.
  1. Prep food quickly: Make sure your staff takes out only small amounts of food at a time to prepare so that the food doesn’t lose its proper temperature and become unsafe to consume. Additionally, they should focus on performing only one task at a time as to limit distractions during prep. They must learn to complete the tasks in a timely manner.
  1. Monitor holding temperatures: Maintenance schedules for holding equipment used on food that is prepared and held for service must be up to date. Also, monitor food temperatures frequently so you can take corrective action before a food reaches an unsafe temperature.
  1. Pest control: Summer months provide perfect conditions for pest infestations so make sure you train your employees to keep doors closed, remove trash frequently and notify management if there is a pest sighting.

By practicing these food-safety techniques in summer, you can help ensure the health and well-being of your guests and your business.

Read: 3 tips to train seasonal workers in food safety

Visit ServSafe and Food Safety Focus for more information about food safety certification and best practices for restaurants

Pictured top: Employees entering and exiting a walk-in; above, right: Ashley Miller

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