FOOD SAFETY TRAINING: Commercial Environment

     The consultants at Rest Ops Solutions are highly talented professionals.  They are officially licensed and certified under governmental law to serve and to function in multiple capacities, such as Instructor/Proctor/Administrator, to teach the ServSafe and National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) food safety programs-  the only American National Standards Institute (ANSI) nationally approved food safety courses in the United States.  Every consultant at Rest Ops Solutions is a nationally acclaimed professional of the food industry. No matter which Instructor/Proctor/Administrator that you may have for your food safety training you can appreciate knowing that you are in the best hands possible for your learning experience.  Our training format guarantees you an optimal learning potential and an absolute higher degree for exam success!  Participants rant and rave about our Consultants.  This is why they keep us in their database of out-sourced training.  

 

     The Health Departments in every city, county, and state in America require that all persons who may ever be in charge of a shift, or anyone having supervisory authority in any type of food operation to have an up to date Food Manager Certification during the hours of business operation.  The certification must be made available for reviewing by the visiting regulatory authority during a health inspection.  Failure to operate a food establishment without a certified manager in possession of a valid certification physically on the premises is a violation of the Health Code.  The fine for this violation varies between jurisdictions.

 

     The only Nationally approved certification that meets this criteria is either ServSafe, or the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA).  Both of these food safety programs utilize the Food and Drug Model Food Code in their line of study and exams. 

       The FDA Model Food Code is the laws that pertain to every single food establishment in America.  It is the "minimum national standard."  This means that among all of the procedures and processes that could be performed inside any food business, any performance at a lower standard within the food establishment would result in a violation.  To offer themselves a small margin for error, many companies actually enact a higher standard than the FDA Model Food Code in their training manual, or their Standard Operating Procedures  (SOP).  

 

     

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Our Food Safety Training class is delivered to you in a specialized, and professionally designed format to provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to pass the exam.  Passing the exam with at least a 75% accuracy is  necessary to obtain your Food Protection Manager Certification.  This is the certificate that is required by your Local Health Department. 

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Rest Ops Solutions

Basic Food Safety Training

Although we are currently semi- locked-down, social- distancing, and wearing masks during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our Food Safety Training classes have been growing size and in frequency.  We believe this frequency is attributed to the fact that more and more people want the absolute most from their training sessions, and that they want the knowledge to come  from credible, reliable, proven sources of the food service industry. 

 

The food handlers and culinary professionals attending many of our food safety classes are also asking questions, as they continue to have an increasing concern over the safety of the foods and food products that their family members are preparing and serving at home.  Studies show that the number of people eating at home is so much higher than ever before, and there within lies a huge problem:  those people have no food safety experience, and they are the ones cooking all the family meals.  This leads to an increasing number of people becoming ill from eating contaminated foods cooked from the home. 

 

Rest Ops Solutions formed three focus groups and a small case control group to gather information on local consumer knowledge and attitudes towards safe food handling in the home. The responses from the three focus groups were analyzed and grouped into general themes.  They are briefly discussed within these five (5)-questions. In addition, some of the information obtained from these results was then used to plan a local food safety health promotion strategy. We listed it on our website, and we call it our Food Safety 101 program. 

 

Some of the results from the focus groups shows:

  • individuals who had no formal food safety training had no idea where to obtain the knowledge necessary to keep foods safe

  • individuals who were responsible for cooking foods for the family were flagrant violators of the processes and procedures for cooking meals

  • individuals responsible for cooking the family meals desperately wanted to learn more about food safety

  • individuals responsible for cooking the family meals were aware of others who needed food safety training

 

Only once existing attitudes and practices regarding food safety are recognized, will it be possible to plan effective strategies to encourage healthy behaviors and discourage unsuitable ones.

Of the many concerns noted, below we have isolated some of the most common questions and decided to include them here:

1).      What does the food handler in the home need to know about foodborne illnesses and pathogens associated with certain foods for safety?

 

Answer:  There are numerous food-borne illnesses, many of which may cause a significant burden of disease. Certain food handler processes directly lead to contamination of food, while other food handler behaviors and tasks will cause hazardous conditions. Some food-borne illnesses occur from eating animal foods that are NOT cooked properly or cooked to a point that makes eating them safe.  After detailed case investigations  it has been revealed that many of the cases of foodborne illness are most likely to be due to poor food safety practices in the home, while cooking. Some processes and procedures that lead to foodborne illness includes cross-contamination of foods and/or food contact surfaces; time-temperature abuse of foods; and poor personal hygiene.   

 

Pathogens consist of viruses, bacteria, parasites, molds, toxins, yeasts, and fungi.  Sometimes certain pathogens will grow on to the foods, while other times they live on the animals that we eat, such as a cow for beef, or a pig for pork.   

A bacterial disease that affects the intestinal tract includes Salmonella.  It is noted that the salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are shed through their  feces.  Poultry and eggs are also a significant source of Salmonellosis. 

 

A parasitic infection that may result from eating some seafood products includes the processing of parasite-containing fish, such as flounder, sea bass, grouper, and Mahi mahi, to make a ceviche dish.

Hepatitis A and Norovirus are viruses that are referred to as “submicroscopic” parasites that are smaller than bacteria. They are directly related to contamination from human feces, such as when the cook leaves the restroom after failing to wash their hands, and before handling ready-to-eat foods.   

Molds grow well under most conditions, but especially well in foods with a high acidity, and low water activity, such as jams and spreads. 

 

Some contaminants found naturally in the air, plants, soil, and in water, are fungi, molds, and yeasts. 

Molds are thread-like organisms that produce spores.  They are multi-cellular and can sometimes be seen with the naked eye.  They can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems in humans.  They can also survive a cooking process, and freezing does not destroy them, but does reduce their growth. 

 

2).      How could you know if the food you prepare at home for your family is safe for them to eat?

Answer:  Most people would answer this question with a variety of misconceptions, like “you should smell it; if it smells bad, it’s bad.”  Or “taste it; if it tastes bad, it’s bad.”  Or vice versa.  While all of those answers are wrong, it is important to know the truth so that nobody becomes ill from eating a contaminated food product.  Here is where we advise everyone to know at a minimum: a). keep cold foods cold, and hot foods hot- all the time;  b). wash your hands very frequently, especially when they become dirty; c). keep foods separated from each other to prevent cross-contamination (especially raw and cooked food products); d). cook foods to the proper temperature; e). wash and sanitize equipment, utensils, surfaces, and anything that contacts food; and f). keep learning new safety rules. 

 

Consumer awareness studies have shown that, in general, consumers are aware of the recommended food safety precautions, yet they still adopt high-risk behaviors.  Basically, even the professionals working in food industry make mistakes for reasons like 1). They become complacent; 2). They get overwhelmed; 3). They lose interest; 4). They forget; or 5). They get distracted.

 

Variations between knowledge and self-reported practices make it apparent that persons must be convinced that food safety measures are effective before they take action to change their behavior.  Some actions include being fully aware of the top-to-bottom order for storing raw animal food products, while in cold storage.

 

Many of the participants in the consumer awareness studies stated that they obtained information regarding food safety through their relatives, over a long period of time. However, consumers frequently implement unsafe food handling practices at their home. In fact, disparities were shown between consumer knowledge of specific hygiene practices and their implementation of these practices. After raising awareness of the importance of controlling food-borne illness and that simple precautions do work, the consumer needs to become motivated to act.

3).     How do you know if your food has been cooled or reheated well?

 

Answer:  Anyone who cooks foods or reheats food should know the industry-specific reasons for following the proper “cooling process,” and the proper “reheating process.” Basically, there is a specific temperature range that is perfect for pathogens to live, reproduce, and to thrive.  We call it “The Temperature Danger Zone.” This is the temperature range of 41° F to 135°F.  If food products are very susceptible to temperature, meaning sensitive to the amount of time left in “the temperature zone, “we call them TCS foods (any foods that require 41° F or lower, or 135°F or higher, to be safe).  TCS foods are most highly susceptible to contamination when subjected to abuse of time and temperature. 

 

For the Cooling Process, use the following steps in this order:

  • Check the temperature of the food item.  It should be 135°F or higher. 

  • Reduce the size of the container holding the food to the smallest possible one(s) available; therefore, you are also reducing the amount of food inside it.

  • Reduce the temperature of the food product quickly, by placing ice around the container(s) and then place the container(s) with the food into cold water inside a clean, sanitary sink.  This is called an “ice bath.”

  • Within two (2)-hours the temperature of the food product must go down to 70°F or lower.  Done correctly, the food ABSOLUTELY WILL get to 70°F or lower.       HOWEVER, if it does NOT,

  • Take corrective action.  This means: 

a. either throw the food away; or

b. REHEAT the food and start over.

For the Reheating Process, use the following steps in this order:

  • Place the container with the food inside into either: the microwave oven, the stovetop, a steamer, a deep fat fryer, a pot or a pan, or any other equipment designed for heating-up foods QUICKLY

  • Within two (2)- hours increase the temperature of the food product to 165°F or higher. 

 

All cases and controls in this study claimed that if food is left out of the refrigerator for a long period of time, it would not be safe to eat the next day, even if reheated.  This is most often true, especially for TCS food products.  Proper refrigeration of food was mentioned by most of the participants but very few knew the recommended temperatures for storing food or had thermometers in their refrigerator.

 

Senior citizens’ group showed poor knowledge regarding storage and reheating of food and did not appear to be willing to change their behavior. It is evident that food safety messages need to be tailored according to the target audience to ensure that effective prevention is possible. There was no significant association between the level of education and safe food-handling behaviors.

4).      Who taught you how to cook?

Answer:  For me, cooking is a passion born from necessity.  Learning to cook came from a higher level to not fail than to succeed.  I learned from the top of the ladder to the bottom, unlike most people going into the food business, where they tend to learn from the bottom, up.  I fully engaged myself into watching closely and learning from my competition when I was a rookie police officer in Houston, Texas.  At the time, my own barbecue restaurant was under construction. 

 

\On the pretense of just being a policeman on routine patrol, and having a curiosity of their daily internal functions,  I entered restaurants operating under a similar business model as my own, and sometimes different ones.  I asked the manager on duty if I could watch them at work.  I extensively studied their every move, sometimes returning for many days, or even weeks through their invitations.  Sometimes, I was asked to do small tasks, and I really enjoyed that.  Other times, I helped the manager or person in charge with paperwork responsibilities such as placing food orders, conducting food inventories, and controlling costs of the business.  This is primarily the way I learned the operations and administrative needs of  my soon-to-open business. 

There was one special person, Sam, the owner of a barbecue restaurant who knew that I was building a similar barbecue restaurant model of my own.  Regardless, he invited me to go with him and some of his team members on special events such as caterings, deliveries, and the like.  I spent much of my time reading Sam’s recipes and cookbooks just to formulate and tweak recipes that I would use in my own restaurant (Sam allowed me to).  Most are still in practice, some thirty-one years later.   To this day, I owe my success to Sam. 

 

5).       What is the best way for your family members to receive information regarding food safety measures and keeping food safe?

Answer:  Rest Ops Solutions offers a Food Safety 101 training service that is formulated for anyone who wants to gain a superior level of knowledge of food safety.  It is great for those who do not have time to physically attend a classroom, or who do not want to bother having to drive somewhere and to attend a class.  That is because we can provide training sessions via the Internet, in a virtual conference.  You can obtain more information by visiting our website at: www.RestOpsSolutions.com.  Or you may call us at: 888-695-9926.  If you like, you may email us at: info@RestOpsSolutions.com

 

In conclusion, consumer education strategies need to emphasize the burden of illness  (risk factors), making safe food handling meaningful. Continuous reinforcement of the messages may be effective in empowering everyone to foster behavioral change.

 

At Rest Ops Solutions, we are all consultants with many years of senior-level and executive expertise gained from throughout a career in the food industry.  All of us are well-rounded “think-tanks.”  Throughout our careers we receive on-going, specialized training in every aspect of the food business, and remaining at the top of our competition is a priority worked into our philosophies.  We do not go around trying to convince anyone that we are the best.  We establish our client relationships by offering them the absolute best services that they would ever get.  And we do it at very reasonable costs that they will be satisfied with, and that they would not hesitate to call us again for any other project.  

Call us: 888-695-9926.  Email us: info@RestOpsSolutionscom.  Or visit us on the web: www.RestOpsSolutions.com

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