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 of my future projects is a blog book based on my last blog called Food Safety Makes Sense.
As we are still in the pandemic, the public forgets that food poisoning cases also are still happening and are preventable. It makes sense for us to remember that food safety is important to all of us.
The Attitudes of Food Service Workers
I have taught many groups of workers from teens to seniors. The most interesting point to remember is that food safety is not treated seriously. 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. Now that the next wave of the pandemic may be upon us, sanitizing still needs to be taken seriously.
Food Prepared & Purchased in A Typical Day
If you think about your typical day, many of us consume food made at home or nowadays 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 symptoms tend to mimic the flu.
Consider The Following Points
For example, if you had an egg sandwich for breakfast in a restaurant, do you consider the following points?
- How old is the egg that was used in the ingredients of the sandwich?
2. Did the food handler preparing the sandwich wash his/her hands before preparing the sandwich?
3. Was the egg cooked properly to the correct temperature?
4. Was there any cross-contamination with other menu items being prepared on the grill or at the same time?
- Was the handwashing done properly not just using a shot of hand sanitizer? Hand sanitizers are wonderful when sinks with hot and cold water are not available. However, in a restaurant kitchen, there is a designated hand basin 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 affects us all though we take this for granted even in the pandemic! Food safety does make sense.