Although I try not to give a food service employee a reason to sabotage my food purposely, how do I know that they are practicing food safety at all?
I’m sure you’ve heard the adage, “Don’t mess with the people that prepare your food”. It’s true. That’s why I’ve never been one to complain at a restaurant. Although I try not to give a food service employee a reason to sabotage my food purposely, how do I know that they are practicing food safety at all?
Consider this: at least once a week, in the U.S., 107 million people entrust someone else with preparing and serving them a meal. Every day in restaurants across the country, restaurant managers are supposed to complete temperature logs, line checks, and other safety checks to ensure that they are preparing and service food safely. But are they? If not, what is the true cost of failed food safety protocols?
THE CHIPOTLE TRAGEDY
The recent food borne illness outbreaks at Chipolte chains across the U.S. have demonstrated that enormous cost of food safety protocols and accountability. The company, that was once valued at $24 billion, has been decimated by the E. coli outbreaks. Stock shares have fallen 40%, cutting the company’s value by more than $10 billion!
In addition to the damage of brand, value and revenues, the cost of the legal implications can be enormous as well. This is especially true for a small to mid-sized independent owner or operator. Something that most restaurant owners don’t know about is that most restaurant liability and food borne illness insurance policies have riders in them that release the insurance company from responsibility if the restaurant is knowingly acting unsafely.
Food borne illness is no joke. The CDC reports that in 2013 in the U.S., 818 food borne disease outbreaks were reported, resulting in 13,360 illnesses, 1,062 hospitalizations, 16 deaths, and 14 food recalls. Among the outbreaks with a single known food preparation setting, foods were prepared most commonly at or by:
- Restaurants (60% of outbreaks)
- Caterers or banquet facilities (14% of outbreaks)
The agents and foods responsible for the most outbreak-related illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths include:
- Salmonella in chicken (700 illnesses)
- Salmonella in pork (436 illnesses)
- Salmonella in seeded vegetables (268 illnesses)
- Salmonella in beef (210 illnesses)
- Norovirus in fruits (196 illnesses)
A recent survey among 100 restaurant managers and owners from around the world revealed that 94% of respondents believed that their food safety checklists were not being completed accurately. This means the systems that are put in place to ensure food safety are not being followed, thus putting the public at risk.
WHAT TO DO?
Here at PES Design Group, we take great care in incorporating food safety into our food service designs and equipment selections. However, we cannot guarantee that, once in operation, food service workers will follow safety protocols or that food service managers and owners will hold them accountable. We can, however, recommend products and systems that will help in keeping a food service establishment safe.
If you are a food service manager or owner of a food service establishment, please visit this interesting article about food safety accountability.
Also, please visit OpsAnalitica, a Restaurant Checklist and Reporting company that offers a restaurant inspection app that was designed to help owners and managers run a better, safer and more profitable food service business for less than $50 per month.
At the PES Design Group our mission is: “Designing functionally innovative, attractive and profitable c-store and food service facilities on time and on budget”. Our promise to you is, that whatever your project may be, we will approach it as unique. We will use our years of experience to design innovation and uniqueness into your project helping you to set yourself apart from the rest. We will also use innovation to solve challenging issues such as space, time and budget constraints.
About the Consultant
Jim Richards (Jr) is the Managing Member of Cademan Enterprises, LLC and Food Service Consultant with PES Design Group’s Southeast Office. During his 25 years of experience in the Food Service Design Industry, Jim has encountered countless design challenges that he has successfully overcome through experience and innovation.