Handwashing has always been a critical component to safe food handling practices in a restaurant or foodservice environment, but the behavior became a topic of constant, worldwide discussion in March 2020. The rapid spread of the pandemic revealed an alarming number of adults in the U.S. (and the world) did not have handwashing integrated into their regular, daily life. In 2020, campaigns from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other national and local organizations, rapidly launched to promote this healthy behavior and encourage people at large to adjust their mindsets. These campaigns helped restaurants and other businesses spawn creative signage highlighting statistics or song lyrics to serve as reminders to their employees and customers – with some encouraging success.
ConsumerStyles released some heartening results comparing surveys from 2019 and 2020 showing both men and women reported remembering to wash hands more frequently before eating at home and at a restaurant, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose than they did in 2019. However, a survey in March 2021 found the habit starting to slide once again. Jim Fields, a health and safety expert with friend of Trust20's InnoServ, says restaurant operators and other business owners can easily mitigate this kind of backslide among their teams:
“Employee training does not need to be complicated. Have managers build brief check-ins into the schedule when workers are coming on shift and make hand washing frequency and duration a point of conversation. At your next staff meeting, breakdown the fine details of safe food handling practices when it comes to handwashing and glove use. Any time you’re communicating with your employees there is an opportunity to mention it.”
In a food handler training course, food service workers learn key times to wash their hands including:
Handwashing at these and other critical moments not only helps prevent the spread of interpersonal germs, but it also helps mitigate the risk of spreading foodborne illnesses. These safe food handler practices can be used in reminders to food establishment customers as well! Restaurant operators and managers can stay on top of consumer behaviors by ensuring signage is updated regularly and kept in prominent locations, continuing to provide handwashing and sanitizing stations at the business’ entrance, and with gentle reminders on social media.
Experts stated 2020’s flu season was "strikingly different” as a result of the country's widespread handwashing and social distancing efforts. As we enter the flu season for 2021, food handlers and consumers alike can contribute to a better future, with fewer illnesses in our communities, by committing to keeping up good hand hygiene habits.
Do you have a handwashing reminder that has helped you? Have you seen a creative reminder at a local restaurant? Tag us on social media at @Trust20USA and tell us about it!
Trust20 recently outlined the differences between a food allergy, intolerance, and preference – but what kinds of food allergies are out there? Food Allergy Research & Education notes that food allergies are a life-threatening medical condition affecting 32 million Americans. In fact, one in every 13 children has a food allergy.
A food allergy occurs when someone’s immune system overreacts to a protein or enzyme in a food. These immune responses range from mild to severe and some symptoms can even be mistaken for symptoms of other medical conditions. It is important for everyone who works in foodservice to understand the severity of food allergies and know what to look out for when someone at their table or in their establishment says they are allergic to a particular food.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
It is required by law that food packaging identify allergens in a product and whether or not the product was prepared in a facility where there is risk for cross-contact with allergens. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) identifies eight foods as major food allergens. They include:
In April 2021, the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act was signed and declared sesame the 9th major food allergen recognized in the country (labeling sesame as an allergen will not be required until 2023).
PREVENTING ALLERGIC REACTIONS IN FOODSERVICE ENVIRONMENTS
The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to practice safe food handling procedures. There are eight key ways to prevent allergic reactions in a foodservice environment:
THE BOTTOM LINE
Food allergies are incredibly common and you never know how severe someone’s allergic reaction may be just by looking at them. Taking the appropriate steps to prevent cross-contact of foods will protect you, your guests, as well as the establishment serving them. It is also vital you ensure you and your team all know the proper procedures and protocols in case someone has an allergic reaction in your restaurant. Need a refresher on food handler safety for you or your team? Check out Trust20’s Food Handler Certificate course. Safe food handling practices are just the beginning - stay tuned for Trust20’s upcoming allergen safety training!
Safe food handling practices are essential to the success of a business within the foodservice industry. The behind-the-scenes steps involved in handling food safely are often unseen and taken for granted by the customer – until something goes wrong. When the average person thinks about food poisoning, they may assume it is not a common occurrence and imagine mild symptoms that quickly pass. However, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), foodborne illnesses affect 1 in 6 Americans each year and result in approximately 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Operators and managers bear the responsibility of protecting their customers by ensuring their teams know all the best practices for safe food handling. To help relieve that burden and free up operators' schedules, here are four reasons why operators and managers should require their entire team to earn their Food Handler Certificates (and regularly renew them every three years!).
ONBOARD NEW STAFF FASTER
Once hiring managers have cleared the hurdle of finding candidates, making an offer, and welcoming a new person to the team, onboarding that person consumes significant time and resources. If this role is the team member’s first in the foodservice industry, there is a real possibility they do not know the first thing about food safety in a commercial setting. In other cases, an industry veteran may not be up to date with the most current guidelines. Requiring a Food Handler Certificate training of all new employees will provide team members with some baseline information and make time for managers and shift leaders to address other onboarding and training topics.
WORK MORE EFFECTIVELY WITH CONSISTENCY
Training at foodservice establishments comes in all forms, some more effective than others, and ultimately those variations put a business at risk. Onboarding and training move quickly (just like the rest of the foodservice industry), and new team members may miss key information in the process. If multiple people are responsible for training new team members, some information may be presented in different ways to different members of the team. Including an ANSI-accredited Food Handler Certificate training in the onboarding process creates a base of common knowledge for the team at a foodservice establishment. Consistent understanding across a team allows them to seamlessly adhere to the same guidelines and effectively protect everyone who touches their food.
MAKE MARKETING EASY WITH RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS PRACTICES
It sounds simple: customers want to know a business cares about them. “How do you make what you’re selling about something your audience relates to?” is one of the primary objectives in Marketing 101. Communication is already key to building trust and loyalty in a foodservice environment. From prominently displayed Health Department ratings to signs in the bathroom reminding employees (and guests) to wash their hands to visible cleaning stations throughout the space, businesses already call attention to the things they are doing to protect their customers. If a foodservice establishment requires their entire team to take a food handler online training (particularly in a state or county that doesn’t have specific regulatory mandates), that business can easily promote they are going above and beyond to provide customers with a safe foodservice experience.
RETAIN BETTER STAFF FOR LONGER
High turnover in the foodservice industry has long been considered the norm, but what if that could change? People leave foodservice jobs, or the industry, for a myriad of reasons, but an overarching thread ties back to customers and even managers overlooking the skill it requires to be a good fit for foodservice work. Not only do some foodservice establishments require their staff have a Food Handler Certificate, but they also pay for each member of the team to take the same online food handler training. It is important for operators and managers to invest in their teams so they feel valued and want to stay with the business. You become a business for staff and customers to watch by investing in your team like the experts they are.
All throughout the country there are significant differences in the legal requirements for Food Handler Card or Certificate training. Despite these variations, the entire foodservice industry directly benefits from entire teams receiving their Food Handler Certificates.
Interested in getting training for your team? Contact Stephanie Wethington, Trust20 General Manager, at email@example.com to get your team signed up for their Trust20’s ANSI-accredited Food Handler Certificate today!
CHICAGO (September 21, 2021) -- Trust20, a modernized safety and certification program for the foodservice industry, has launched an ANSI-accredited food handler training program for foodservice industry workers. Trust20’s Food Handler Certificate training program has been designed for ease of use and to be accessible to foodservice employees like never before. The program is fully digital and can be accessed on any smart device.
Trust20, a female-led startup headed by Stephanie Wethington, partnered with key industry player Gordon Food Service, a leader in the food and foodservice industry for over 150 years, to develop the Food Handler Certificate training. Sami Carter, Store Operations Food Safety Lead with Gordon Food Service, says, “The training is truly unique because all of the developers kept the end-user front of mind when developing the training! Having taken a few food handler trainings myself, I believe this training's visual and auditory breakdown of the information does an excellent job of meeting the trainee where they are in their food safety journey."
Safe food handling practices and transparency about their specifics are critical to the success of the foodservice industry. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world - become ill after eating contaminated food. With 12.5 million employees in the restaurant industry at the end of 2020 (National Restaurant Association), Trust20 saw an imminent need for a more engaging and relatable food handler training than existed in the market.
Efficient, interactive, and effective food safety training is more critical than ever as operators hire and onboard new employees to the food industry. Because of this need, Trust20’s course can be accessed from anywhere on a computer, tablet or smartphone and provides a gamified experience filled with relevant, real-world kitchen scenarios staff will encounter in their work.
Trust20’s Food Handler Certificate training was created to make learning the essentials of food safety more accessible and approachable for an ever-changing industry. This training will help teams create consistent, united understanding of their roles and responsibilities when it comes to effective food handling practices.
Stephanie Wethington, General Manager of Trust20, said, “Trust20 is here to supplement what the foodservice industry is already good at. Operators excel at providing great food and memorable dining experiences, and as a partner Trust20 is committed to helping onboard and maintain exceptional staff to help deliver on those experiences. As we developed the Food Handler Certificate training, we intentionally consulted industry workers to inform the content, animation, games, and even the final assessment. Trust20 not only wanted to ensure learners walked away with the essentials of safe food handling practice, but also left thinking, “hey, I actually enjoyed that!”
To learn more about Trust20’s Food Handler Certificate training or to start a Food Handler course, visit https://www.trust20.co/food-handler
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service defines the Temperature Danger Zone as the range of temperatures between 40°F and 140°F. This temperature range creates an environment where dangerous bacteria can rapidly grow – sometimes doubling in number in just 20 minutes. There is one simple, essential rule: keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
While any food could potentially host dangerous pathogens, foods we typically think of as “perishables” tend to grow contaminants at a much more prolific rate. In the realm of safe food handling practices these are known as TCS Foods, or foods that need time and temperature control for safety. There are six factors that affect bacterial growth in food: time, temperature, moisture, acidity, nutrients, and oxygen – and TCS Foods are most likely to be affected by all six factors (SmartSense).
The list of these foods includes milk and dairy products, eggs, meat (beef, pork, and lamb), poultry, fish, shellfish and crustaceans, baked potatoes, tofu or other soy protein, sprouts and sprout seeds, sliced melons, cut tomatoes, cut leafy greens, untreated garlic-and-oil mixtures, and cooked rice, beans, and vegetables (Gordon Food Service).
Time and Temperature Control Cheat Sheet:
Want to dive deeper? Check out food handler online training with Trust20's ANSI-accredited Food Handler Certificate course today!
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