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National Restaurant Association - Delaware governor discusses importance of food safety

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Delaware governor discusses importance of food safety

DRA FS award.jpg

When Jack Markell was 16, he worked in a Friendly's restaurant in Newark, Del. One of his responsibilities was to rotate food in the "very chilly" walk-in refrigerator.

The job is a standard food safety practice in restaurants. Food rotation helps reduce waste, prevent contamination and ensure freshness.

"It's not that complicated, but you have to do it every day," the Delaware governor recently told a group of restaurateurs and retailers.

Markell announced the winners of the Governor's Award for Excellence in Food Safety Sept. 30 at Iron Hill Brewery in Wilmington.

The winners were Neil Campbell, general manager, Iron Hill Brewery, Newark (pictured left with Markell); Tiffany Brittingham, Food Lion #879, Delmar; and Tim Hunter, executive chef, the Culinary School of the Delaware Food Bank.

"The Governor and I commend all the winners for their efforts in food safety," said Rita Landgraf, secretary of Delaware's Health and Social Services Department.

Before the ceremony, Markell and Landgraf toured the kitchen with Doris Kerr, director of operations and managing partner, Iron Hill; Karyl Thomas Rattay, director, Delaware Division of Public Health; and Carrie Leishman, president and CEO, Delaware Restaurant Association.

In the kitchen, Kerr explained the National Restaurant Association's ServSafe training and certification program, pointed out Iron Hill's labeling system for food rotation and introduced the delegation to Executive Chef Geoff Allen. Kerr also discussed proper procedures for hand washing, temperature-taking and separating utensils.

"When I asked Chef Geoff what is the most important thing [about food safety], he said, 'the discipline of doing it right everyday,' " Markell said.

After the tour, Landgraf opened the ceremony by recognizing the foodservice employees whom she said work hard every day to protect Delaware citizens and visitors from foodborne illness.

"Thank you for your dedication and due diligence ... in keeping foods safe," she said.

Before announcing the award winners, Markell signed a proclamation that declared the last week in September as Food Safety Education Week in Delaware. It was the last week of National Food Safety Education Month.

Leishman said she appreciated the proclamation because it highlighted the restaurant industry's year-round commitment to food safety. She explained how the Delaware Restaurant Association used National Restaurant Association tools during National Food Safety Education Month. DRA sent tools to its members through Facebook, e-newsletters and other means to show how they could better facilitate health inspections.

"We care about the health and safety of our customers," Leishman said. "That's why we put so much effort into food safety training."

Photo courtesy of Michael Birchenall/Foodservice Monthly

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