The Coronavirus has affected everyone differently, but we can all agree we’re scared. We’ve heard loved ones and friends who have tested positive and we can’t even be there when they need us. Instead, we’re calling them, downloading Zoom, and doing our best to “be there” through a computer or mobile phone screen. Grocery stores are working overtime stocking the shelves with essential items like toilet paper, masks, and plastic gloves. The effects of the Coronavirus can be difficult for anyone to fathom and it can be hard to know what to do when times are especially chaotic. Luckily, some people are still able to work from home and provide us with other necessities that can make us safe, like research telling us how we should respond to a pandemic. The FDA has released information regarding the best food safety practices:
Always Practice the 4 Key Steps to Food Safety – Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill
Now, everyone should be doing this regardless of the pandemic, but now it’s even more essential to clean once, twice, and three times before handling food or letting a piece of food touch the service of a table. Be sure to wash, rinse, and sanitize food surfaces such as tables, dishwashers, utensils, beverage equipment, etc. Any surface that has the chance to touch food or drink – use the 4 key steps for you, your health, and your customer’s health.
The New Standards for Food Preparation
When changing your normal food preparation procedures, service, delivery functions, or making staffing changes, apply procedures that ensure:
- Cooked foods reach the proper internal temperatures prior to service or cooling. Hot foods are cooled rapidly for later use – check temperatures of foods being cooled in refrigerators or by rapid cooling techniques such as ice baths and cooling wands.
- The time foods being stored, displayed, or delivered are held in the danger zone (between 41°F and 135°F) is minimized.
- Proper training for food employees with new or altered duties and that they apply the training according to established procedures.
Keep Your Customers Social Distancing (in a nice way)
Help customers maintain good infection control and social distancing is just as important as your employees. We’re all human and we’re all at risk, we should all be on the same page when it comes to hygiene and these tips can help make it easier to install.
Discontinuing operations, such as salad bars, buffets, and beverage service stations that require customers to use common utensils or dispensers.
- Finding ways to encourage spacing between customers while in line for service or check out in accordance with the applicable State or local requirements.
- Discouraging customers from bringing pets — except service animals — into stores or waiting areas.
Every business is different and for the food industry, we understand this industry’s hygiene is especially heightened. But, there’s so much more than just food preparation – think about ordering food, counting inventory, etc. Wipe off new inventory, be careful with deliveries and take out, everything needs to be cleaned and dealt with very carefully. For more information regarding food best safety practices visit the FDA website here or learn more on our website.