In my former career, I was a public health inspector/environmental health officer and ran my own business called Enviro-Food Consulting. I trained a large number of restaurant and foodservice workers on food safety techniques. One upcoming project is a book based on my last blog called Food Safety Makes Sense.
Most people do not take food safety seriously. If you have a family member with allergies, or you have purchased a food product that has been recalled or you have travelled or dined out and developed food poisoning, you know how necessary it is for food to be prepared safely. It makes sense for us to remember that food safety is important to all of us.
The Attitude of Foodservice Workers
I have taught many groups of workers from teens to seniors. Working in a restaurant is thought of as just another job. Management is not always supportive. If workers notice that management doesn’t take an interest in them, they are not concerned about food safety. That means sanitizing isn’t done carefully, hands are wiped not washed and dirty cloths are not replaced. As the pandemic has shown us, sanitizing is taken more seriously but foodborne disease outbreaks are still occurring.
Food Prepared & Purchased In A Typical Day
If you think about your typical day, many of us consume food made at home or may enjoy a takeout item including drinks such as coffee. We all forget how much we depend on the food supply chain to provide us with safe food to eat which won’t make us ill. Many cases of foodborne illness are not reported as they mimic the flu.
Breakfast Meals For Take-Out
Consider The Following Points:
For example, if you had an egg sandwich for breakfast in a restaurant, do you consider:
How old is the egg that was used in the ingredients?
Did the food handler preparing the sandwich wash his/her hands before preparing the sandwich?
- Was the handwashing done properly and not just using a shot of hand sanitizer? Hand sanitizers are wonderful when sinks with hot water and soap are not available. However, in a restaurant kitchen, there is a designated handwashing sink to use. Handwashing with hot or warm water and liquid soap sanitizes hands most effectively.
- Was the work area sanitized? This should be done with an approved sanitizer in a spray bottle and clean cloth. If the cloth is dirty, contaminants will be spread around the surfaces.
- Was the sandwich cooked to the proper temperature?
- Is the purchased sandwich hot, lukewarm or even cold? Uneven temperatures mean the food is in the Danger Zone where various food poisoning organisms can grow.
Do You Still Want To Eat the Egg Sandwich?
After thinking about all these points, do you still want to eat the egg sandwich?
Food safety does make sense!