Hey, it's hot out there!
As extreme hot weather seems to be covering the map, it is a good time to review with your staff some best practices to help keep cold food properly chilled at 41˚F (5˚C) or less in all cold holding equipment:
Keep your HVAC system properly cleaned and maintained including filters, fans and vents. Preventive maintenance visits can help your system work more efficiently.
Did you know that Ecolab.com is a great source for information on many topics? You can go to the website and search for topics of interest. In this edition we will focus on information available for norovirus and Salmonella, two of the "Big 6" illnesses that can cause employee exclusion and restriction per FDA Food Code. It is important to be able to share information with staff in all positions about the risks of foodborne illness - how to prevent them as well as how to appropriately respond when illness occurs.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta came out with its 2014 annual report on foodborne disease outbreaks, showing 864 outbreaks involving 13,246 people,712 hospitalizations and 21 deaths. CDC also reported the outbreaks led to 21 recalls of food products in 2014.
Earlier this year, the State of Ohio modified their Manager and Food Handler certification requirements.
In Ohio, there are two levels of certification:
In March, New Mexico adopted the 2013 FDA Food Code. Exceptions to this are Albuquerque and Bernalillo County which are still based on the 2009 and 2005 Food Code respectively. Included in the updated New Mexico Code is the requirement for at least one certified manager per permit and a person-in-charge on duty at all times who can demonstrate food safety knowledge. In addition, all employees must obtain food handler cards.
Question: During the summer months, we have occasional days when our ice maker cannot keep up with our demand. What do I look for in getting additional ice delivered?
Answer: As with any foods being delivered, know your vendor and check the label on the bags of ice to be sure they meet FDA requirements. The labels must list the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor of the ice. The labels must also list the net quantity of contents of the product. Because ice is a single ingredient food, packaged ice does not need listing of ingredients. In addition, ice does not require a nutrition facts label, unless the package has a nutrient content claim (such as low in sodium). But ice labeled as being from a specific source, such as spring water or artesian well water, must be truthfully labeled and not misleading; in other words, it must really be from that source. The source water must meet all the requirements for such types of source water, as described in FDA regulations.
It can be shaved, cubed, nuggeted, and crushed. It can be made from tap water, from spring water, or from purified water. But no matter the shape or the source, ice is considered a food by FDA.