How an Internal Audit Will Improve Food Safety

An internal audit is necessary to ensure effective food safety plans. Many food operations are inspected by regulatory agencies yearly or quarterly to check to see that they are following proper food safety procedures. The frequencies that these establishments are inspected are essentially inadequate to preventing foodborne illness. If they were as effective as we hoped, then there wouldn't be any outbreaks, but foodborne illness outbreaks are part of our common food environment. This is a big reason driving the new FSMA regulations. Food processor businesses and retail outlets, such as restaurants, should incorporate their own internal audits or inspections to verify their food safety … [Read more...]

Food Safety Report

Food safety stories are always in headlines. Here's information on one with a confirmed outbreak, one with an outbreak but kept anonymous, another banned from serving raw meat, and a restaurant in Wisconsin closed for unsanitary conditions. Margarita's Linked to 200 Norovirus Cases A Michigan restaurant, Margarita's, is suspected in a norovirus outbreak. So far, 200 people who ate at the restaurant have become ill. The Ottowa County Health Department closed the restaurant after confirming the norovirus cases. Health Department Not Disclosing Source of E. coli Outbreak Last April, a restaurant in Orange County, California, was linked to an E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce. … [Read more...]

A Restaurant Manager’s Guide to Passing a Health Inspection

Passing a health inspection can be very difficult and may sometimes seem impossible, but policies and procedures can be put in place to help any manager handle a surprise health inspection. Employees have already been trained on keeping track of temperatures, wearing gloves, washing hands and managing their drinks according to the 2009 FDA Food Code, but what can a manager do to make sure these procedures are followed when an inspector shows up? First and foremost, it's extremely important that a manager walk through with the inspector. All employees should be trained that when an inspector arrives, the manager needs to be notified immediately. A manager should accompany the inspector so … [Read more...]

Food Safety Starts with Smart Restaurant Kitchen Design

Designing restaurant kitchens can be very complicated. There are many factors to be considered when planning where to put equipment and what materials to use. Health departments require detailed documents showing the site plan, floor plan, equipment layout and plumbing/mechanical/finish schedules even before any construction begins. These plans should be developed with food safety in mind. The information in this post can be used as a general guide to help new restaurateurs understand health regulations when designing their kitchens. Site Plan A site plan should show the facility and surrounding areas such as parking, storm drains and garbage areas. Most operators want the option to spray … [Read more...]

Once Again, Yum! Brands Is Guilty of Food Poisoning

This week an Australian judge found KFC guilty of food poisoning and ordered the company to pay $8.3 million (USD) to the family of a 7-year-old girl who was left brain damaged after eating one of its chicken wraps. In 2005, Monika Samaan, then age 7, shared the chicken wrap with both her parents and brother. All of them became ill with vomiting and diarrhea. Monika, however, fell into a coma for 6 months and became severely brain damaged. The other family members recovered. Stool tests showed that all the family members contracted the same strain of salmonella. A fifth person living with the family, a grandmother, didn't eat any of the wrap and didn't become ill. KFC vigorously fought … [Read more...]

Restaurant 911: Prevent Imminent Health Hazard Closures

"Sorry, we're closed"—These 3 words are possibly the worst a manager can hear from a health inspector. There are very specific events that can lead to an imminent health hazard closure. It could be an interruption in service in one facility or a large-scale emergency that could lead to all facilities closing down. It's important to understand what could lead to a closure and how to develop plans to avoid it. 2009 FDA Food Code Imminent health hazard means a significant threat or danger to health that is considered to exist when there is evidence sufficient to show that a product, practice, circumstances or event creates a situation that requires immediate correction or cessation of … [Read more...]

Stay on Top of Food Safety with Health Inspection Checklists

  A health inspection can be a very frustrating experience in a restaurant. Someone you don't know is telling you what is wrong with your business. Oftentimes, things are pointed out that you had no idea were problems. If you had known it was a problem, then it would have already been addressed, but it took a health inspector to point it out. These inspections would go much easier if a process was in place to identify these problem areas. This process can be developed by doing your own health inspection. In-house inspections can be very beneficial to not only find and correct problems before the health inspector finds them, but it will also greatly improve the food safety program of the … [Read more...]