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This blog looks at common food code violations and offers tips on how to prevent the issue in your operation.

 

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Top tags: food safety  food code  restaurant management  cooling food  date marking  frequent violations  ice  proper cooling procedures  quat sanatizer  sanitizer  ServSafe 

Food Safety: What You Should Know

Posted By Neeley Carlson, Tuesday, April 11, 2017

There are many challenges to running a successful operation. Implementing proper food safety practices will not only keep your guest healthy, it can also keep them coming back. Collaboration is key to ensuring you have a system that protects your food supply from farm to table. 

 

Food safety must be part of your core values if it is truly a priority within your organization. This will allow you to build systems and operating procedures that encourage teamwork and vigilance, especially among employees. The Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) has identified the five most frequent food code violations of 2016.

 

  1. Food contact surfaces cleaned and sanitized (Found on 25% of inspections)
    • Check for food debris on cooking equipment and utensils, and keep soda fountain nozzles clean.

  2. Toxic substances properly identified, stored and used. (Found on 23% of inspections)
    • Detergents, sanitizers, polishes and cleaners, insecticides, rodenticides, first aid supplies and personal medications are poisonous or toxic if ingested and must be labeled and stored according to the Kansas food code.

  3. Physical facilities installed, maintained and cleaned. (Found on 20% of inspections)
    • Remove food debris on floors and walls and under equipment, repair missing tiles, repair gaps in doors and outer openings and remove unnecessary items both inside and outside of the building.

  4. Proper date marking and disposition. (Found on 18% of inspections)
    • Date mark food if it is prepared on site, potentially hazardous, ready-to-eat, held more than 24 hours, and when an original container has been opened and held under refrigeration (example: milk).

  5.  Adequate handwashing facilities supplied and accessible. (Found on 15% of inspections)  
    • A handwashing sink must reach a water temperature of at least 100° F and may not be used for anything else other than handwashing. The sink must also be stocked with hand soap and a means to dry your hands, such as disposable towels.

Work with your staff, vendors, KDA and the Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association (KRHA) to ensure your current procedures meet the minimum standards required by the KS Food Code.  KDA and KRHA offer training, posters, and other resources to help operators keep a healthy workplace. 

 

Food safety educational materials, including food safety handouts in English & Spanish.

Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association

Kansas Department of Agriculture 

National Food Safety Education Month

 

We know things are constantly changing in our industry.  By having standard operating procedures in place and setting consistent expectations, it will help ensure you run a successful operation.  

 

Tags:  food code  food safety  frequent violations 

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Date Marking

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Updated: Monday, March 13, 2017

When it comes to date marking, it is important for an operation to understand the code requirements.  Once you understand the requirements it is key to have a system or standard operating procedure in place that is easy for staff to follow.

 

Download the Date Marking poster that you can post in your operation.

 

The Kansas Food Code requires all potentially hazardous food (PHF) / Time/Temperature control for safety food (TCS), prepared in house or commercially prepared and opened, that is held for longer than 24 hours to be clearly marked to indicate the date or day by which the food shall be consumed, sold, or discarded.  The date marking system helps operators identify either when the food was prepared, or when it should be discarded.  One of the main reasons for date marking is that some bacteria like Listeria, will continue to grow slowly under refrigeration.  Listeria has a high death rate.

 

The manufacturer’s expiration date on a commercial package does not allow the product to be kept for more than 7 days, once open.  An example of this would be opening a gallon of milk.  The expiration date is the date through which the manufacturer guarantees the unopened food will meet their quality standards.  Date marking for discard ensures the safety of the food.  Once opened, the milk should be marked with the date it was opened and the date it should be discarded.  

 

   

What’s the Law?

  • Ready-to-eat foods, PHF/TCS food must be date marked if held for more than 24 hours.
  •  The food must be consumed or discarded within 7 days.

 

Proper Date Marking Systems: 

  • Label each item with the name of the product.
  • Mark the item with the date the product was made, the date it should be discarded, or both. By using the made/used by date or the day it should be discarded, staff can easily identify what food should be used or removed each day.  Using only the date product is made requires staff to calculate dates for each item on a daily basis. 
  • Products must be used or discarded within 7 days of preparation or opening if food is maintained at the correct temperature.  The day of preparation shall be counted as day 1.
  • It is also a good idea for a manager or lead to do daily cooler checks to make sure items are dated and discarded appropriately

Example 1: Food prepped made on Jan 1, must be used by Jan 7

Example 2: Food prepped on Jan 1 at 6:00 PM, must be used by Jan 8th at 6:00 PM. 

 

It is crucial for an operation to have a system that is fully implemented, so anyone working in food prep knows when to discard an item. 

If you have specific food safety questions let me know by sending an email to ncarlson@krha.org.  By partnering with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and industry operators, our goal is to create a safe food supply in Kansas.  

 

Tags:  date marking  food code  food safety  ServSafe 

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Ice Safety

Posted By Neeley Carlson, Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Ice may not be caloric or a line item on your restaurant menu, but it is consumed by your restaurant guests and comes with a variety of food safety challenges.  The proper handling of ice is a food safety process that is easy to overlook.  It is important to have procedures in place that ensure your machine is properly maintained and sanitary.  In addition, you have to ensure your staff is properly handling ice to prevent contamination. 

 

To reduce the risk of ice being a source of foodborne illness, restaurant operators and managers should be aware of the following points and conduct regular self-inspections to identify problems:

  •  When preparing drinks, never capture ice directly with bare hands or a glass.Instead, use a designated scoop and avoid letting any part of the handle touch the ice.  Ice is considered a ready to eat (RTE) food and must be handled using the same guidelines as other RTE products.  
  •  Store the scoop outside the ice supply. Laying an ice scoop inside an ice machine or an ice-filled bin can introduce pathogens. When the scoop is not being utilized, keep it covered and protected from contamination. Both the scoop and the compartment are food-contact surfaces, so clean and sanitize them regularly, as you would tongs for drink garnishes or a cutting board.
  • Designate specific equipment for hauling ice. If you haul a large quantity of ice from one area of your restaurant to another – for example, from the back-of-house to the front-of-house – use food safe bins that are made specifically for this task. Never transport ice in a container that has been used to store chemicals or raw meat, seafood or poultry.
  • Proper handwashing.  There are new tools on the market that are designed to minimize hand contact when handling ice to reduce the potential risk of contamination.  However, that does not lessen the importance of proper handwashing procedures for anyone handling or transporting ice.  Proper handwashing should be a standard procedure for whoever is working with ice.  
  • Keep the door closed.  The door of your commercial ice machine should be kept closed except when removing ice. 
  • Designated storage area for ice machine lids.  If your operation has a soda machine/ice machine combo that requires staff to refill the ice machine, make sure you have trained your staff on the correct procedure to complete this task.  When the lid is removed from the machine, it should be stored in a designated area to prevent possible contamination.  The designated area should be on a countertop and not on the floor.  If your staff is setting the lid on the floor, bacteria is being transferred to the ice machine on a daily basis.  
  • Never use the ice machine as a refrigerator.  Do not store anything such as food, drinks, fruit etc. in the ice machine.  
  • If glass breaks anywhere near an exposed ice supply, dispose of the ice. Glass can strongly resemble ice and cause serious injury to guests and staff. Immediately dispose of the potentially contaminated ice, and clean and sanitize the machine or bin that houses the ice.
  • Separate ice for drinks from ice used to keep food cold. If your restaurant stores any food or beverage containers on ice for temperature control, ensure that staff knows that ice is not to be incorporated into drinks. Pathogens from the food or beverage containers can infiltrate the surrounding ice, which could potentially cause foodborne illness if then served to guests.
  • Clean and sanitize your ice machines regularly. Often moist and dark, ice machines can collect dirt and foster mold; if a health inspector finds either in your machine, a violation will likely be issued to you. Look for evidence of growth or scum, slime or mold inside the machine.  If the growth of mold or slime is observed, immediately clean according to manufacturer's instructions.  Because the machines are considered food-contact surfaces, make sure this is part of your standard operating procures so it is cleaned and sanitized regularly.
  • Routine ice machine service/maintenance.  Commission a licensed plumbing professional to service piping leading into the machine as well as the machine’s drain; failing to do so can lead to harmful backflow.

 

Ice safety should be part of your food safety protocol.  By following these tips your restaurant, hotel, or bar can ensure the guest you are serving get clean & safe ice.  

 

 

The National Restaurant Association provided original content for this blog.  

 

Tags:  food safety  ice  restaurant management 

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Cooling Food

Posted By Neeley Carlson, Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Priority Violation: 3-501.14 - Cooling PHF/TCS
When it comes to cooling food, it is important for an operation to understand the code requirements.  Once you understand the requirements it is key to have a system or standard operating procedure in place that is easy for staff to follow.

 

The Kansas Food Code requires all cooked food not prepared for immediate service to be cooled as quickly as possible to keep bacteria from developing. The two-state cooling method reduces the cooked food’s internal temperature in two steps.

 

 

Step 1:

Reduce the temperature from  135° to 70° within two hours of preparation.

 

Step 2:

Continue to cool food from 70° to 41° in an additional 4 hours.

 

The total cooling time must not exceed 6 hours.  Pathogens grow the fastest between the temperature of 135° and 70°.  When foods are cooled too slowly this becomes a perfect environment for the growth of foodborne illness bacteria.  If you are not able to cool the food to 70° in two hours, then reheat food to 165° and start the process over.

 

When deciding how to best cool potentially hazardous foods, keep in mind that factors like portion size, type of container used, and the type of food determine how long it may take a food item to cool.

 

To promote rapid cooling of cooked foods, the following methods are recommended in the Kansas Food Code:

  •  Place the food to be cooled in shallow pans – Large quantities of food in containers like 5-gallon stockpots or deep pans will cool too slowly. 
  •  Reduce the size of food to smaller or thinner portions – Cut large portions of meat into smaller pieces. 
  •  Place hot food container in an ice water bath – the ice on the outside of the container should be at the same level as the food in the container.
  • Stir food to redistribute the heat - If food is being cooled using the ice bath method, it will cool from the outside in.  Stirring food will redistribute the heat and cool it more quickly.  Using an ice paddle to stir will cool the food even faster.
  • Use containers that allow heat transfer.  Metal containers transfer heat and will cool food more quickly.  However, plastic food grade containers are allowed.
  • Adding ice as an ingredient to the cooked food – 8.5 lbs of ice = 1 gallon of water
  • Combining one or more of the above methods

When cooling food it is important to use temperature logs to monitor the cooling process.  If your operation does not have a cooling temp log, ask KDA or KRHA for a free sample. 

 

Once the food has been cooled from 135° to 70° in 2 hours using an active cooling method, you can safely put it in your walk in cooler.  You may not want to put hot food directly in your cooler, as it will heat up your cooler and any food stored near it, unless your cooler has adequate capacity.  The monitoring does not stop at this point.  Staff still needs to monitor the temperature of the food to ensure it reaches 41° in an additional 4 hours (no more than 6 hours total from 135°F to 41°F).  It is important to loosely cover the food when placing it in the cooler to allow for a faster cooling process while still protecting the food from the surrounding environment.  Staff should ensure that when the container is lightly covered, overhead contamination does not occur.  Once the product has reached 41°, it can be tightly covered and stored for a maximum of 7 days. 

 

If you have specific food safety questions let us know by sending an email to ncarlson@krha.org.  By partnering with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and industry operators, our goal is to create a safe food supply in Kansas.  

 

Tags:  cooling food  food code  food safety  proper cooling procedures  restaurant management 

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Quat Sanitizer

Posted By Neeley Carlson, Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Understanding The Kansas Food Code: Sanitation

 

Priority Violation: 4-501.114 – Chemical Sanitization

Applying the proper sanitizer to clean food-contact surfaces reduces the number of harmful microorganisms to safe levels.  There are several factors that influence the effectiveness of sanitizers.  The three factors most often discussed are time, temperature and concentration. 

Recently, concern has arisen around the discovery that quat sanitizers have a tendency to become attracted to and absorbed into fabrics. 

 

Problem: Your quaternary sanitizer consistently falls below 200 PPM
Quat sanitizer solutions that drop below 200 PPM not only increase your chances of being cited but also leave your patrons at risk.

 

Reason: Traditional foodservice towels deplete sanitizer solutions
Quats are positively charged and they are attracted to fabrics that are negatively charged.  This results in a portion of the quats becoming unavailable to disinfect hard surfaces.  This is a common issue when using nonwoven, terry, and linen cloths.

 

Solution: Sanitizers can be applied to surfaces in several different ways

  • Purchase a cloth rag that is designed specifically not to bind quat. Some microfiber towels are designed for this purpose, but not all are created equal.
  • Purchase rags that have the sanitizer built in.  This type of product is designed to change color when the concentration of the sanitizer drops below the minimum concentration.
  • Use an alternative approach.  Clean the surface with the cloth, spray the quat sanitizer on the surface and then air dry.
  • Traditional quat sanitizers have a starting concentration of 200 PPM, which puts the solution at risk for coming out of required range quickly.  There are quat sanitizers on the market that have a wider zone of initial sanitizing concentration, allowing it to still be effective for up to four hours when using the traditional terry towel. 


Food Code regulations for sanitizing have not changed.  Many operators have noticed their sanitizer concentration dropping quickly.  The concern is that most operators do not know why this is happening.  It is important that operators work with their chemical suppliers to identify the best solution for the needs of their establishment.  Always follow label directions for sanitizer concentration requirements and use the appropriate testing method to ensure correct concentration levels. It is important for staff to not only test initial concentration levels but also test levels during use.  if the solution drops below 200 PPM at any point it must be replaced.  


If you have specific food safety questions let us know by sending an email to ncarlson@krha.org.  By partnering with theKansas Department of Agriculture and industry operators, our goal is to create a safe food supply in Kansas.  

 

Tags:  food code  food safety  quat sanatizer  restaurant management  sanitizer 

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