According to CDC estimates, foodborne illnesses cause 48 million people to get sick annually. Of those who get sick, there are 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths – of which more than half of cases are associated with eating at restaurants. Food handlers trained in food safety can help restaurants prevent foodborne illness - and reduce food waste - from the moment a food shipment arrives at the loading dock. Let’s take a closer look at how properly receiving and storing food can help prevent foodborne illness.
Foodservice workers well versed in food safety can help ensure that all food shipments are received safely. Before you accept a delivery, it is important to check to make sure that all items have been transported under the proper conditions. You should start by inspecting the shipment for spoilage and physical damage like leaking or broken items. If an item does not pass your inspection, it should not be accepted.
Once your shipment has passed inspection, time is of the essence when it comes to safely putting away the delivery. Storing food correctly is just as important as timeliness. Receiving food can make or break your establishment and can lead to customer dissatisfaction. It's essential to keep an open line of communication with your distributor to ensure all items are arriving safely.
Once you’ve confirmed all items are intact, check the temperatures of necessary items. Temperature sensitive food should never be left out for more than two hours. Use a calibrated thermometer to ensure all items are safe, especially items such as milk, eggs and meat. These TCS foods should always be kept at 41°F or below, while frozen foods should always be kept at 0°F.
A well-organized storage area helps you to create an efficient workspace which minimizes the chance of cross contamination and foodborne illness. Below are a few things to remember when unloading and storing your food delivery. Following these tips will make sure your food stays safe, as well as your customers!
While the storage room might not be a glamorous part of the restaurant, it is the most important. Foodservice workers knowledgeable in food safety are essential to a safe dining experience. From the moment food enters your door to when you serve it to the customer, each step is crucial to keeping a clean and safe environment.
Over the last three years, Trust20 has surveyed over a thousand people who are, or have been, foodservice workers. Over and over, respondents told us they feel there is a lack of mental health resources for folks in the industry – and we’ve been listening.
The statistics around mental health and addiction corroborate the accounts we have received. According to the American Addiction Centers, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released a study that ranked the restaurant industry as the MOST at risk for illicit drug use and substance use disorders, as well as the third most at risk for heavy alcohol use.
The Trust20 team takes these statistics and personal testimonials seriously, but we also acknowledge our limits when it comes to the scope of resources we can effectively provide. To that end, we are pleased to introduce you to Culinary Hospitality Outreach and Wellness, or CHOW. Read on to learn more about how our partners at CHOW are providing the foodservice industry with mental health resources – and how you can get involved.
I have struggled with my mental health for most of my adult life, without being able to effectively identify it.
For the majority of my culinary career, the kitchen afforded me a space where I could mask those symptoms, hide from identifying them, and thrive because of them. My High Functioning Anxiety made me an exemplary employee in restaurants and hotels because of how productive I was in high stress situations with meticulous preparation.
Whereas in retrospect I see toxic mentors and trauma bonds, at the time I congratulated myself on how well I worked under pressure and how effective I could be in a high intensity environment.
I found that I didn’t have the language to name the discomfort that I felt, and I could not identify why my mental health was declining so quickly, despite my high professional performance. I encountered CHOW while I was head of Food and Beverage for the hotel I worked for, and even though I encouraged my staff to attend the organization’s meetings, I did not feel ready to attend myself. When I finally left the industry halfway through the pandemic, I was able to take an honest inventory and see that while I was productive and successful for most of my career, my behavior was rooted in dysfunction; I had no tools in my toolkit to learn how to be any other way.
When I did join CHOW, the first few meetings were alienating and difficult. I listened more than I spoke to familiarize myself with the healthy conversation I had never experienced before. While I had done extensive work in therapy, I wasn’t familiar or comfortable in group settings based on peer support. When my shares became more frequent, another big change happened: I found that I could release myself from the shame and guilt I felt about how I acted, and still be accepted within the community.
I have struggled all my life with taking up healthy space in conversation and how to give and receive support that comes from an authentic place. CHOW has given me the type of community I was missing and set me on the path to emotional recovery. From the quiet observation of my first meeting to now, I have become passionate about playing a part in disseminating this movement and offering support to people like me.
CHOW offers me a safe and brave place to express the full scope of my human experience. From the pieces of myself I cringe at to the parts of me I am trying to learn about, I have never encountered anything but acceptance, love and understanding.
CHOW was founded in 2018 after an article about John Hinman, a Denver pie maker and the founder of CHOW, was published. The piece alerted people to mental health stresses in hospitality. The organization initially responded with in-person meetings and shifted to virtual meetings during the pandemic. The shift to virtual ultimately led to helping grow the community and extended CHOW’s ability to provide a safe space for foodservice workers to address their mental health concerns.
CHOW offers six weekly hybrid or virtual meetings (four mixed groups, one for all women, and one for Spanish speakers), which are attended mostly by Coloradans, though it’s not unusual to have someone pop in from Spain, England, Canada, or Australia.. These discussion groups allow people like me to pause, reconsider what matters, and create community outside of the workplace.
CHOW's guest speakers span from Johnson & Wales alums to farming professionals. CHOW also offers a free, industry specific, mental health course for folks who want to know how to take better care of themselves, their coworkers, and others.
When attendees need more than peer support, CHOW connects them with community-based resources, such as KHESED Wellness. Through partnerships like this, CHOW has been able to extend more than 700 hours of free mental health counseling to hospitality workers since 2020.
CHOW supports the mental health, recovery, and wellness needs of service industry workers so we don’t lose anyone else to suicide, addiction or struggles surrounding mental health. If you’d like to do the same, come join us! You can also volunteer or donate by heading to the website.
CHOW has just finished writing a workbook designed for the hospitality industry to use either in addition to meetings and therapy, on their own, or with friends. They hope the tools within this workbook will help everyone have a well-rounded healthy life.
They are also creating a list of actionable tools that folks can use easily and for little to no cost in their daily work and home lives. CHOW hopes to have them compiled soon and they will release these resources on their social media, newsletter, and blog.
If anyone is doing something at their workplace that is working, please contact CHOW directly! They believe each individual business shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel and we are all more likely to succeed when we work together. You can reach out to CHOW’s Executive Director, Erin Boyle at email@example.com.
As a training and development resource for the foodservice industry, Trust20 is pleased to announce the release of our ANSI-accredited Food Allergy Certificate training.
Trust20’s Food Allergy Certificate training provides critical information about food allergies, intolerances, and preferences. This online training is designed to help anyone in the foodservice industry confidently serve customers impacted by a food sensitivity.
Food allergies impact nearly 32 million Americans – and that number is growing every year. The rise in food allergies makes it increasingly more likely foodservice workers will encounter customers who require modifications to their orders to prevent potentially life-threatening reactions.
Trust20’s Food Allergy Certificate training was created to make learning the essentials of food allergies accessible and approachable for anyone working in the industry. This training can help managers and shift leaders support their teams when interacting with customers with allergies – or serve as a way for staff to grow their knowledge and future career.
The course consists of 10 modules and a final assessment, covering what food allergies actually are, why food allergy training matters, recognizing symptoms, anaphylactic shock, emergency protocol, methods of preventing reactions, communication, preparation, and service/delivery. Interactive scenarios and gamified knowledge-checks help learners relate to the information and carry it into their everyday work.
Stephanie Wethington, General Manager of Trust20, said, “Trust20 wants to see every individual in the industry thrive and reach their career goals. We started by committing to helping operators onboard and maintain exceptional staff with our Food Handler Training. Now, we are broadening our offerings to support those who dream of one day opening their own food business through continued learning. It is important to us to continue talking with people in the industry today to ensure we are speaking to their real life experiences and having a positive impact on the future of their careers.”
In addition to the Food Allergy Certificate training, Trust20 also offers an ANSI-accredited Food Handler Certificate training to help foodservice workers learn the essentials of food safety. Both of these courses are available now.
People have used the terms “allergy” and “intolerance” interchangeably for a long time. Today we’re breaking down the answer to a common question: is being lactose intolerant the same as having a dairy allergy?
The short answer: no.
The long answer? Still no, because food allergies, intolerances, and preferences have a biological difference and therefore result in different types of reactions in different people. Simply put, a dairy allergy (sometimes called a milk allergy) causes an immune system reaction, whereas an intolerance does not.
Milk (and dairy in general) is one of the eight major allergens that currently have specific labeling requirements under the United States’ Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 – and with good reason. A dairy allergy is one of the most common allergies, particularly in young children. According to WebMD, as many as 2 in every 100 children under 4 years old are allergic to milk. On top of that, Akash Goel, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the gastroenterology and hepatology division at Weill Cornell, says approximately 60-70% of the general population is lactose intolerant (and that number is actually over 80% in some parts of the world).
While being lactose intolerant and having a milk allergy are not the same thing, the physical reactions to both are deeply unpleasant. Foodservice workers can protect themselves and the customers who dine with them by ensuring they understand where dairy shows up in their kitchens and by following best practices for preventing cross contact.
Misconceptions about food allergies are just as common as food safety myths – and just as dangerous too! There are 32 million people in the United States who have food allergies and each year 200,000 of them require emergency medical care for an allergic reaction (Food Allergy Research & Education). Follow along as we bust some of the most common food allergy myths–this information could help you save a life!
FALSE! While all three of these terms fall under the category of “dietary restrictions,” they are actually not the same thing. Simply stated, allergies are the result of an immune response, intolerances are a digestive condition, and preferences are a specific and closely-held lifestyle avoidance of a particular food or foods. While the science behind each one may be different, respectfully helping prevent people from coming into contact with forbidden foods should be standard across the board.
FALSE! Many people want to place the blame on processed foods. 90% of allergic reactions, however, come from the “big eight” that occur naturally in our food. The eight most common food allergens include milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. Laws in the United States require that food packaging call out when allergens are used as an ingredient in a product, or if that product was prepared in a facility where there is a risk for cross-contact with an allergen.
FALSE! It is sad but true: a food allergy can begin at any age. It is true that children are frequently diagnosed with food allergies; however, humans can (and do) develop allergies later in life. The worst part? Frequently consuming a particular food does not guarantee you won’t develop an allergy or intolerance to it (as many a lactose intolerant person has learned).
FALSE! Depending on the type of allergy and its severity, some children do grow out of their food allergies. It may occur naturally or with the guidance of doctors and immunotherapy. Unfortunately, if someone has been diagnosed with a food allergy or intolerance as an adult, the likelihood of outgrowing their diagnosis is far more unlikely.
FALSE! According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Allergy & Asthma Network, children who have had a mild reaction to eggs can safely receive their flu shots each year. It is best practice for them to be monitored at the doctor’s office for 30 minutes after their injection. Children with a severe egg allergy should consult an allergist prior to flu season. The CDC has also stated that the MMR vaccine can safely be given to children with egg allergies.
FALSE! The severity of an allergy spans a broad spectrum and no two people will react in the exact same. A trace amount of an allergen can have serious repercussions for some people. As food allergies and intolerances become more and more common, it is important for foodservice workers and families alike to consider how to manage the risk of exposure to troublesome foods.
The misconceptions about food allergies are just as common as the allergies themselves. Because of this, there is a growing need in the foodservice industry for better training so every team has an understanding of how to best serve customers with allergies, intolerances, and preferences.
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