Everyone’s got a camera, consumers are asking more about food safety, so quit the bickering and get ahead of the curve.
A shopping mall in Hongkou district of China had digital screens installed at the front doors of its restaurants to broadcast real-time scenes from inside their kitchens, the Jiefang Daily reported. According to Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Supervision Administration, the mall’s live streaming is a pilot for the new transparent kitchens and stoves project promoted by the local authority. Liu Jun, an official from Hongkou District Market Supervision and Management Bureau, said that other information such as business licenses and health certificates may also be presented on the screens. Mobile phone applications that contribute to food safety will also be utilized. “With these food-safety applications, citizens can have more access to what ingredients are used and where leftovers go,” Zhang Lei, an official from Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Supervision Administration said.
Food safety culture is all the rage. I was gassing on about it in 2007 in Calgary based on funding proposals me and Amy wrote in 2006, Chris had started down that path much earlier, and Frank wrote book about it in 2008.
Now, it’s everywhere, and seems to have already jumped the shark.
A self-reported survey does not measure culture; it measures what people think they’re supposed to say. Observation, direct or indirect, is much more powerful.
Neal et al invoke the food safety culture brand in the latest issue of Food Protection Trends, which I glanced at while luffaing in my Kansas hot tub (which seemed ridiculous since it was 105F or 40.5C outside).
The authors say, “One of the most important procedures that retail food establishments
(RFEs) can implement to decrease the chance of foodborne illness is training employees on proper food handling practices.”
There’s no evidence that works.
So in a study allegedly designed to “assess food safety practices contributing to food safety culture in food service operations,” the authors conclude the “two most important factors for developing a food safety culture in food service operations are management commitment and worker food safety behavior."
A Toronto restaurant that made 37 of its customers barf and remains closed after two failed health inspections, is still packing them in – on the front lawn.
John He and Peter Wong waited on the manicured lawn of Ruby Chinese Restaurant Saturday afternoon for a friend to join them for lunch. The men knew about the salmonella, but thought the restaurant would be open.
"Many customers are crying that it’s closed down. "I’m healthy," adding he dines at Ruby about three times a week.
Probably not a consolation to the dead person believed to be linked to the outbreak. The Toronto Star also reported this morning that children pulled on locked doors and the curious pressed their faces against the glass Saturday afternoon. The lights were off inside and staff were cleaning. None were available for comment.
Jeeping Huang did not know about the salmonella outbreak or failed inspections. She was surprised, not worried, and will eat at the restaurant again.
"Every restaurant works this way. They can change and make improvements," she said.
Every restaurant does not work this way, and shouldn’t.
Chain Leader magazine reports that new kitchen employees at Fatz Café in South Carolina take a food-safety pre-test and must receive an 80 percent or higher before they can begin training. Workers take another practice quiz, then a final food-safety test. The company also promotes quarterly initiatives on food-safety topics that are discussed at the monthly operator-partner meetings. Handouts and new training tools are sent via mail and e-mail, and presented during pre-shift meetings.
Director of Training Sara Anderson said,
"We were already doing ServSafe [the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s food-safety training program] with our management, but we wanted to make sure that it was truly getting down to the front lines. …
"We really had to start marketing to them to get the buy-in on the importance of it. These habits take time to form. Educating people on why it’s so important has really helped make it happen and make it become real-life practices. We just keep adding more and more aspects of it. It’s become a part of our culture more than it ever was. … We’re sticking to basics and constantly talking about it."