Archive for Kitchen Audits
Food Safety Update, provided by our Partner “Sherwin Food Safety”
Top Food Safety Stories of 2011
According the Food Safety News, these are the top food safety stories during 2011:
1. E.coli outbreak in Europe killed at least 50 and made more than 4,000 people ill after eating contaminated sprouts.
2. Outbreak of Listeriosis linked to cantaloupes from a Colorado farm killed at least 30 people. This was significant because the farm had passed inspections from a third party auditor.
3. Four outbreaks of antibiotic resistant Salmonella linked to turkey burgers, ground turkey, and kosher chicken livers were significant because the illness could not be successfully treated with common antibiotics.
4. Del Monte vs. US FDA questioned the science used to prove contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables.
5. Unsanitary conditions at eggs farms led to the recall of over 500 million whole shell eggs due to unsanitary conditions at farms where eggs are produced, including: uncollected manure, standing water, rodents, flies, and other vermin contaminating the facilities.
6. Investigations of imported honey found that over 75% of samples from retail grocery stores were not pure.
7. The Food Safety Modernization Act created implementation teams for preventative controls, inspection, compliance, federal-state coordination, consumer nutrition information, and more.
8. Deregulation to exempt local food producers from federal oversight is intended to benefit unlicensed, uninspected cottage food producers selling fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, raw milk, and other products sold at roadside stands, farmers markets, festivals, carnivals, and other events.
The above deregulation is controversial, especially the sale of raw milk and raw milk products which have resulted in hundreds of people becoming ill from campylobacter and other pathogens not destroyed during pasteurization.
Massachusetts Allergen Awareness Regulation
Many local health departments require at least one certified food protection manager be working in all food-service facilities. Massachusetts also requires that managers receive additional certification that they have received specific training about food allergies. The regulation adds that food service establishments must place an employee-training poster listing guidelines on food allergens (available here) in a work area frequented by all staff.
Food establishments “that cook, prepare, or serve food intended for immediate consumption either on or off the premises” must post the following statement on their menus:
“Before placing your order, please inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy.”
In addition to food allergen training, Sherwin Food Safety can help you identify all the food allergens in your recipes and even uncover allergens that may be in the ingredients you buy from suppliers. This information may be provided for your consumers, along with other nutritional contents, on printed lists, menu boards and websites. For additional safety, we can also clearly list each food allergen on FDA compliant Nutrition Facts labels which can be placed on your take-out food items.
Nutrition Facts Required on Packaged Meats
Starting this month, Nutrition Facts labels will be required for packaged single-ingredient meats and poultry. Until now, the labels were only required for meats with multiple ingredients such as stuffed chicken breasts or flavored meats such as teriyaki pork chops. Now, the rules also apply to certain whole meat items like roasts and steaks.
The new USDA-FSIS rule requires that ground meat labels state the total amount of fat-to-lean meat. For example, if a package claims to be 90% lean beef, then it must also state that the ground beef contains 10% fat. In addition to stating the amount of total fat, cholesterol, and saturated fat, the labels must list the amount of calories for a normal serving.
Small businesses that grind and cut their own meat will be exempt, as long as they provide the fat-to-lean meat information.
Consumers expect nutrition and ingredient labels on prepackaged food items like single-service sandwiches and salads displayed for grab-and-go service. Many restaurants and other food retailers are responding to increasing consumer requests by providing Nutrition Facts labels on all of their take-out food items. The labels also provide critical information on potential allergens.
Sherwin Food Safety can produce accurate, photo-ready and FDA compliant, Nutrition Facts labels for all of your own delicious recipes. In addition to labels, we can also provide a complete nutrition analysis of your entire menu.
FDA Rule Relaxed on Frozen Food Storage
Previously, the FDA recommended storing raw frozen poultry, meat and seafood items below ready-to-eat food. Now commercially processed and packaged frozen raw meat, poultry and seafood can be stored with and above ready-to-eat foods such as pre-cooked fish.
But take note; the rules have not been changed for the proper storage of refrigerated raw and ready-to-eat foods.
For all your Food Safety needs; we are here to help!
Please contact us at Cketz@Goodwin-Assocites.com to learn more.
Restaurant owners are turning more and more to consultants to help them ensure they’re operating properly – and avoiding fines. Take a look at this article from the New York Times regarding some of the things you might be fined for.
We at Goodwin & Associates know all too well the small details that can create large fines for your restaurant. That’s why we’ve formed a strategic partnership with Sherwin Food Safety, one of the most respected Third Party food auditors in the country. Ed Sherwin, the President of Sherwin Food Safety, is recognized as one of the country’s top food safety trainers. To find out more about our Food Safety consulting and training program, click here.
The spread of the swine flu virus or what the World Health Organization has termed influenza A(H1N1) has the potential to severely impact the hospitality industry. HospitalityLawyer.com offers the following resources to aid the industry in addressing the potential spread of the virus.
Pandemics and the Hotel Industry by Charles L. Menges & Joseph P. McMenamin, McGuire Woods
With the recent decision by WHO to raise the pandemic threat level from Phase IV to Phase V, it is only rational to be concerned about the problem and to activate your pandemic plan. Basic public health measures, including hand-washing, covering coughs, and staying home from work when sick remain absolutely essential, foundational steps. The value of gloves and masks is frankly debatable, and probably depends on how they are used, but the FDA recently gave approval to the purchase and use of N95 masks by the general public. The industry may well wish to consider stockpiling personal protective equipment such as these items. The general public will probably expect it, workers may demand it, and at least some protection may be provided. No one measure is apt to be a foolproof solution. Rather, taking rational, consistent steps, with constant attention and responsiveness to public health authority pronouncements, would seem to offer the best hope of minimizing the impact that the virus threatens to have.
Click here to continue reading.
Click here to learn more about how a potential pandemic will impact business continuity, contract claims, and insurance disputes. Menges and McMenamin also list suggestions for a preparedness plan.
Practical Pandemic Preparation by Fisher & Phillips
For most employers, protecting their employees during an influenza pandemic will depend on two basic approaches: emphasizing “common sense” hygiene (cleaning hands and decontaminating surfaces) and practicing “social distancing.” Social distancing means reducing the frequency, proximity, and duration of contact between people (both employees and customers) to reduce the chances of spreading pandemic influenza virus from person-to-person. Employers may take additional protective measures, including engineering changes, procedure changes, and requiring the use of personal protective equipment, based upon the specific occupational exposure risk of their job tasks and work place. Use of respiratory protection (respirators) and barrier protection (facemasks) may be components of a comprehensive plan to prepare workplaces for an influenza pandemic, but employers must comply with applicable OSHA standards.
Click here to read more, including a Pro-Active Pandemic Strategy and Checklist.
Swine Flu Frequently Asked Questions from Forensic Analytical
As we are all aware, the global community is in the midst of managing an outbreak of a new influenza of swine origin. Forensic Analytical Consulting Services (FACS) has prepared this bulletin to help our clients, business partners and members of our community navigate through the maze of information available in order to stay well-informed and prepared for contingencies.
Click here for answers to questions such as “Should I wear a facemask or respirator?” and “What about disinfecting surfaces?”
Suggestions for the Hotel & Restaurant Operator:
1. Add sanitizer (and/or sanitizer wipes) to all guest rooms.
2. Housekeepers should wear gloves and safety glasses (a great time to reinforce the need for this policy),
3. All food service personnel should wear gloves.
4. After coughing, sneezing, smoking, etc., all employees must wash hands thoroughly with soap and water. Experts recommend washing hands for 20 seconds.
5. Be sure to use different mops for kitchens, public areas, and restrooms.
6. Make sure all mops are cleaned and sanitized after each use.
US President Barack Obama speaks to attendees at the Business Roundtable March 12, 2009 at a hotel in …
WASHINGTON – The nation’s food safety system is a “hazard to public health” and overdue for an overhaul, President Barack Obama said Saturday as he focused on that task by filling the top job at the Food and Drug Administration.
Obama used his weekly radio and video address to announce the nomination of former New York City Health Commissioner Margaret Hamburg as agency commissioner and selection of Baltimore’s health commissioner, Joshua Sharfstein as her deputy. Consumer groups applauded the picks.
The president also is creating a special advisory group to coordinate food safety laws and recommend how to update them. Many of these laws have not changed since they were written early in the last century, he said.
Obama said the food safety system is too spread out, making it difficult to share information and solve problems.
The FDA does not have enough money or workers to conduct annual inspections at more than a fraction of the 150,000 food processing plants and warehouses in the country, Obama said.
“That is a hazard to public health. It is unacceptable. And it will change under the leadership of Dr. Margaret Hamburg,” he pledged.
Hamburg, 53, is a bioterrorism expert. She was an assistant health secretary under President Bill Clinton and helped lay the groundwork for the government’s bioterrorism and flu pandemic preparations.
As New York City’s top health official in the early 1990s, she created a program that cut high rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis. She is the daughter of two doctors. Her mother was the first black woman to earn a medical degree from Yale University, and she credits her father for instilling in her a passion for public health.
Sharfstein, 39, is a pediatrician who has challenged the FDA on the safety of over-the-counter cold medicines for children. He also served as a health policy aide to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who plays a leading role in overseeing the pharmaceutical industry.
Both are doctors and outsiders to the troubled agency and will face the daunting challenge of trying to turn it around.
Consumer groups urged the two to work hard to get the money and authority needed to boost FDA inspections.
“Their resumes are extremely impressive, and both are familiar with the FDA’s failure to protect the public from foodborne illness,” said Carol Tucker Foreman of Consumer Federation of America. Foreman said the agency has been unwilling to make changes that would reduce the potential for deadly outbreaks of food poisoning.
Ellen Bloom of Consumers Union said Sharfstein’s experience is “just what the doctor ordered for FDA.”
Gail Cassell, an Eli Lilly & Co. vice president who once served on a government advisory board with Hamburg, said Hamburg “is a big believer in the fact that policy must be backed up with the best scientific evidence and data.”
“She is very balanced and thoughtful about the actions that she takes and certainly has had the experience of running a very complex organization,” Cassell said.
Hamburg’s appointment requires Senate confirmation; Sharfstein’s does not.
Obama said while he doesn’t believe government has the answer to every problem, there are certain things that only government can do such as “ensuring that the foods we eat and the medicines we take are safe and don’t cause us harm.”
“Protecting the safety of our food and drugs is one of the most fundamental responsibilities government has,” he said.
Obama cited a string of breakdowns in assuring food safety in recent years, from contaminated spinach in 2006 to salmonella in peppers and possibly tomatoes last year. This year, a massive salmonella outbreak in peanut products has sickened more than 600 people, is suspected of causing nine deaths and led to one of the largest product recalls in U.S. history.
These cases are a “painful reminder of how tragic the consequences can be when food producers act irresponsibly and government is unable to do its job,” Obama said, noting that contaminated food outbreaks have more than tripled to nearly 350 a year from 100 incidents annually in the early 1990s.
Separately, Obama announced a ban on the slaughter of “downer” cows, which are too sick or weak to stand on their own, to keep them out of the food supply. These animals pose a higher risk of having mad cow disease, E. coli and other infections.
Obama said he takes food safety seriously, not just as a president but also as the parent of two young daughters.
“No parent should have to worry that their child is going to get sick from their lunch,” he said
LONDON, England — As many as 400 people may have gotten sick after eating at a renowned Michelin-starred restaurant in England, health authorities said Friday.
The Health Protection Agency is investigating an outbreak of diarrhea and vomiting among diners who ate at The Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire, run by award-winning chef Heston Blumenthal.
Investigators still don’t know the source of the outbreak, the HPA said. They are examining foodstuffs, food storage, and preparation and cooking practices in addition to samples from sickened diners and all members of staff, the HPA said.
“This is a very complex outbreak,” said Graham Bickler, the HPA’s regional director. “We are working closely with the restaurant and with colleagues in the Royal Borough’s environmental health team to explain what happened and to ensure that the risks of it happening again are reduced as much as possible.”
The problems forced Blumenthal to close his famed restaurant voluntarily last week after a number of people reported being ill soon after eating there, the HPA said.
The HPA said the number jumped to around 400 possible cases on Thursday after it started investigating cases going back to late January.
Representatives of The Fat Duck could not immediately be reached. The HPA said the restaurant management is cooperating fully with the investigation.
The Fat Duck is renowned for such eccentric items as snail porridge, salmon poached in licorice gel, and scrambled egg and bacon ice cream.
Diners must book at least two months in advance. The restaurant charges £130 ($185) for the tasting menu and £98 ($140) for a la carte.
A native Londoner, Blumenthal trained himself in French cuisine after failing to find work as a teenager in top London restaurants, according to his restaurant’s Web site. He worked in various jobs to fund trips to France to learn about cooking and wines.
Blumenthal opened The Fat Duck in 1995, and it received three Michelin stars in 2004. A year later, the restaurant was proclaimed the best in the world by the “50 Best” Academy of food critics, journalists, and chefs.
Blumenthal has had several TV food shows in Britain. His latest is the current “Heston’s Feasts,” in which he recreates historical recipes from ancient Rome to Victorian Britain.
Rat Eateries Lose Millions $
By CARL CAMPANILE
The Health Department’s rampage against rats after the KFC/Taco Bell debacle has cost shuttered eateries at least “several million dollars” in lost business, the head of the city’s restaurant group said yesterday.
The food cops shut down 220 restaurants over six weeks after video footage showed rats running wild inside a KFC/Taco Bell in Greenwich Village hours after an inspector had given the eatery a clean bill of health, records show.
Following the embarrassment, health inspectors zealously shut down eateries over questionable infractions, owners charged. “It easily cost restaurants several million dollars,” Chuck Hunt of the New York Restaurant Association said of the crackdown.
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We are reaching out and trying our best to offer these operations a positive, proactive, due diligence based kitchen and cleanliness audit like we do for many of our outstanding clients, who take a proactive approach to sanitation and food safety. We have a proven and detailed system in place to vastly improve the current situation there, while creating a system for habit and cultural change for the future, instead of being closed down and losing all of their revenue.
We’ve phoned or mailed letters to over 150 of these establishments, and guess how many have responded in hopes to improve their situation? Zero.
Below is some text from our NYC Hospitality Consultant Kristen McGowan, regarding the more than 100 restaurant closures in NYC for health and sanitation purposes. A crisis really. We provide Kitchen Health Inspection Audits to prevent these sorts of things from happening, assign some accountablity to management, show due diligence and proactiveness towards the issue to prevent low scores and closure, but most importantly of all, being committed to going above what is expected show a passion for food safety and cleanliness. Guests expect it, and it’s our industries obligation to have the highest cleanliness standards possible. We have many fantastic clients who are very particular about holding their managers accountable on safety and sanitation, and it is bafflling more NYC restaurant do not partake, and face closure, loss of business, and negative press. Please read below, your feedback is welcome!
I, like most restauranteurs, am appauled by the number of businesses affected by the Department of Health in NYC. It amazes me that the media is focusing solely on the problem without ever providing preventative solutions. Yes we are fearful of the damage that can be done and is being done. I urge you to be one of the first to recommend steps that can be taken to prevent a shuttering.
The number of restaurants closed by the Department of Health in New York City has now exceeded 100. That is one hundred restaurants that have been irrepairably and negatively affected. Besides spoilage of product, lofty fines, loss of business, loss of staff, property renovations for compliance there is your reputation to consider. You can not put a price tag on loss of revenue as a result of a tarnished reputation.
Statistics say only 4 out of 10 of Department of Health shuttered businesses with reopen with only 2 surviving past one year. Aren’t the odds of the surviving in the city bad enough? Don’t compound those odds, be pro active and take the necessary steps to insure that you are not the next victim. Show due diligence and identify your areas of concern, and correct them prior to your next inspection.
The loss of revenue due to the negative publicity surrounding a shuttering is devasting and in most cases can result in permanent closure.
What can you do as a restaurateur to be pro-active? What steps can you to take to insure you are not the next target?
The solution is simple and inexpensive, a kitchen audit. Our company Goodwin & Associates provides mock inspection services, sending a certified hospitality specialist into your facility to identify issues, allowing you to correct these issues and insure that you are in compliance with State Health Codes. For $200.00 you can prevent extraordinary loss, so be proactive and show due diligence.
You can’t put a value on your reputation, give us a call today and speak with our hospitality professionals. Quite honestly, it is the most intelligent decision to make. You may reach me at 973-669-5713, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
Thank you and I look forward to working with you in safeguarding your business.
Hospitality Consultant, New York City & Long Island
Goodwin & Associates Hospitality Services, LLC