Do you wish for a way to ensure quality and safety guideline compliance for your food service enterprise? Are you searching for a simple way to engage and train your staff members, to ensure their success? What about inspections? Adopting food safety technology can help you accomplish these goals.
Let’s discuss the basics of food safety rules, then note how technology can promote food safety.
Food Safety Basics
Food safety is made simple by memorizing four basic word prompts:
Cleanliness of staff and surfaces prevents contamination.
Hand washing after every step of cooking and after each time anything other than food or clean utensils are touched is a kitchen rule that cannot be overlooked.
Surfaces and utensils used for food prep must be properly sanitized between each use especially if they have come into contact with raw foods. Cross contamination may result if staff members are not diligent regarding cleaning processes.
It’s not just surfaces and equipment that need to be cleaned. Your fruits, vegetables, whole grains, herbs, beans as well as jars and lids should be washed and rinsed before using them.
Separating foods for correct storage is essential.
Foods which must be cooked to remove bacteria must be stored carefully. They must never contact foods which will be served raw or used in the creation of a dish which will not be cooked to a high temperature.
Many types of foods have specific storage guidelines for reasons of disease prevention or quality preservation.
When food is stored, it must be labeled with date/time stamps so expired or recalled food is easily located.
Temperature monitoring affects the cooking and hot storage process.
At every step of the process from delivery to prep to serving table, temperatures must be monitored and kept at a safe level. This is imperative to avoid foodborne illness which can sicken diners and impact a business.
Contaminated food can appear perfectly edible, so attention to detail is necessary in the interest of ensuring every serving is uniformly safe and high quality.
Watch for the The Danger Zone: when food temperatures are between 40°F and 140°F (4°C and 60°C) causing dangerous bacteria to grow at a rapid pace, spoiling the integrity of the food.
Monitor temperature & humidity of walk-in coolers and freezers; make sure equipment is in top operating condition.
The humidity levels should stay lower than 15% to help preserve product quality. Moisture-proof packaging and air conditioning can maintain the appropriate levels. Keep a hygrometer in your storage areas to verify the humidity levels remain consistent.
Freezers must keep food frozen solid with an internal temperature of 0° F at most. Keep temperatures between 32° and 40° F in refrigeration units to prevent bacterial growth.
Regularly clean the interior & exterior of your refrigeration units, the condenser & evaporators coils, the drain pans, and air filters. Keep a log of scheduled maintenance and create an equipment cleaning schedule.
Technology can promote food safety - and bring other benefits
Using digital to automate your food safety program can save money in addition to bringing the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are consistently following good practices.
Food safety technology can reduce the number of staff members and staff member total hours needed to keep up with meeting the FDA’s safe food handling guidelines and compliance with other food safety programs.
It can help enterprises be ready for inspection at any time, assure temperatures remain within specified guidelines, and uniformly promote safe practices for food handling and storage.
Automation can help in training and reminding employees to perform proper food safety protocol.
Important features of a digital food safety system
Wireless sensors for remote monitoring
The security of knowing temperatures are monitored and digitally collected so corrective action is taken if they fall out of safe range is one good reason to adopt a technology system for food safety.
Remote temperature sensors either connected by Bluetooth (for food probes) or IoT wireless devices (for food temps, refrigeration temp and humidity) help streamline data collection.
For example, TrustPlace offers an integrated IoT module with a wireless gateway that connect to various sensors located in your property:
- Food Probe Sensors
- Cold Storage Sensors
- Humidity Sensors
- Open/Close Sensors
- Water Detection Sensors
- Thermocouple Sensors
Digital dashboards and checklists
These will become the foundation of your digital operations system.With digital dashboards and checklists:
- The danger of losing paper lists and reports will be a thing of the past.
- Incomplete or inaccurate tasks will be noted, so the conditions can be corrected.
- Your business will be prepared for inspections at any point
- Employees will be well-informed and reminded of essential tasks at the proper time for their completion.
- Inspections become quick and pain-free with digital compliance and food safety dashboards.
- Your reports will be ready to go anytime you need them, and will be more accurate than ever.
What risks do food service businesses which fail to adopt technology for food safety face?
At minimum, those in the food industry who fail to adopt technology for food safety will be left behind by those who modernize, a concept covered in this Forbes post.
Without food safety technology, delivering on your brand promise of consistency and quality will be a challenge. It will be more difficult to track employee performance, to engage, motivate employees and ensure their success, and to pass inspections without stress.