Convenience Store News

NOV 2014

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80 Convenience Store News | NOVEMBER 2014 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Prepared Food + Hot, Cold, Frozen Dispensed Beverages FOODSERVICE understand personal hygiene equally. Food workers must observe the highest possible standards of person- al hygiene to make certain that food does not become contaminated. High standards of personal hygiene also play an important role in creating a good public image. This includes glove use, handwashing, finger- nail cleanliness, hair grooming, clean uniforms and eliminating unsanitary habits such as eating, drinking, smoking or spitting. It's also vital for operators to have a clear food worker illness policy so sick or injured workers (with cuts or bandages) are not allowed on the job at any time. Sanitized food contact surfaces. All food contact equipment and utensils must be clean and sanitized: 1. Before a different type of raw animal food (beef, fish, lamb, pork and poultry) is used; 2. When you change from working with raw foods to working with ready-to-eat foods; 3. Between preparing raw fruits and vegetables and potentially hazardous foods (PHF); 4. At any time during the operation when contamina- tion may have occurred; 5. Every four hours if used with PHF at room temperature greater than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, clean and sanitize food thermometers before use or storing. Importantly, all aspects of a food safety program must be monitored and managed to be effective. Documenting daily procedures at store level in logs ensures all are complying with the policies and it helps managers identify problem areas or times of day that need more training attention. Most of our experts recommend field staff inspections of stores on a monthly or, at a minimum, quarterly basis using health department benchmarks for scoring. Many rule of thumb is recertification every five years," one retailer stated. Training and refresher courses are available online, which makes it even easier for employees, managers and field personnel to stay current. High employee turnover in the convenience store indus- try makes ongoing training an expensive proposition, but it's an investment opera- tors must make. Although all food safety principals are critically important, operators need to stay on top of the fundamentals at all times, including temperature controls, avoiding cross contamination, personal hygiene, inventory rotation (first in, first out) and "always, always, always pay attention to expiration dates and dispose of product when it passes its viable life," one How To Crew retailer urged. Eby-Brown's Mandeltort offered the following disci- plines and guidelines as a top-of-the-waves primer: Food temperature. Food has to be prepared and held at the proper temperatures in order to be safe: reheating hot foods to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and holding them at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and keeping cold food appropri- ately cold at 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Operators must keep food out of the "danger zone" of 41 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Foods should be received in the stores at proper temperatures, too, with refrigerated foods at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below and frozen foods at zero degrees Fahrenheit or below. Cross contamination. Avoid cross contamination (the transfer of harmful microorganisms or substances to food) at all costs. Cross contamination occurs in three ways — food to food, hands to food, or equip- ment to food. Ready-to-eat foods must receive the most care to prevent cross contamination. Personal hygiene. Don't assume all employees Call tO aCtIOn: Foodservice 301 • Establish a culture of food safety in the organization, making it priority No. 1. • With foodservice so central to the organization's profitability, all execu- tive management should be food- safety certified. • If possible, hire internal field inspec- tors to help visit and train store- level employees.

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