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Training & Protecting Your Staff is a Legal Requirement

 

With the news that 5 McDonalds employees in Chicago are filing a lawsuit alleging the chain did not protect them against COVID-19, it brings into the focus the importance of training your staff and following the correct safety procedures in order to protect them.

Here is how to keep you and your staff properly trained and informed on the latest in restaurant and food safety, and to protect your restaurant from potential legal issues.

 

1.      Train Your Staff. It’s the Law!

As a business, you have a legal requirement to train your staff.

However, training is about more than filling a legal requirement. Training protects both your workers and your customers. It gives your staff the knowledge they need to stay safe while on the job, as well as how to safely prepare food in a way that prevents customers from having a foodborne illness or allergic reaction.

With food safety and other types of training, the benefits far outweigh the costs, and restaurants who take training seriously are often the most profitable.

Find out more about Food Handler, Allergen Awareness & Food Manager Training.

 

2.      Document It

Training your staff is one thing. Even though training is very important, it is vital that you can prove to people that training has taken place from a legal perspective.

If a health inspector walks into the building, they will want to see all training and certifications easily and not want to spend time searching for the documentation themselves.

Consider implementing an online management system to store all training details and certificates in one, easy to use area, to save you time and keep you organized.

 

3.      Make it Part of Your Culture

Although legally your staff only need to be certified every 3 or 5 years, depending on the certification, that is nowhere near enough to run a safe, successful organization.

With COVID-19 sweeping the country, it has highlighted more than ever that continuous training is essential to keep both staff and customers safe. It’s a good idea to train staff whenever new safety information and regulations come about, such as COVID-19 restaurant safety. A great place for these sorts of updates is always the FDA website.

At Always Food Safe, we are constantly creating new content to keep you up to date with the latest trends in food safety.

Show customers that your staff are Food Safety trained

With the public consciousness focused more than ever on safety, it is important to let customers know that you take food safety seriously!

This is why we have created a ‘badge’ for you to display to your customers that shows all your staff are food safety trained.

Any company who uses and completes their food safety training with Always Food Safe will receive the below image that they can use to put out on their social media channels to let people know that food safety is a top priority for the business.

How to End Temperature Abuse

With takeout and delivery becoming more popular as people limit the time they spend out of the house, food is even more at risk for temperature abuse. Cooking and storing food at the wrong temperature causes bacteria to multiply at a rapid pace and can lead to foodborne illness.

To prevent temperature abuse and protect your customers from foodborne illnesses, let’s look more at what temperature abuse is, how it happens, and how you can stop it.

 

What is Temperature Abuse?

Temperature abuse happens when cooked food is left out at room temperature for too long, and the temperature of the food drops into the temperature danger zone. It occurs either because of improper storage, cooking, or reheating.

 

The Temperature Danger Zone

The temperature danger zone is the temperature range in which foodborne bacteria can grow. The USDA says the temperature ranges from 40°F - 140°F

When food is in between these two temperatures bacteria can double every 20 minutes. The longer the food is left in the danger zone, the more the pathogens will multiply.

 

How Does Food End Up in the Temperature Danger Zone?

Knowing how food ends up in the temperature danger zone will help prevent temperature abuse. There are a few ways that food might end up in the temperature danger zone.

1.       Food not cooked to the correct internal temperature

If food is undercooked, then this can lead to food being in the temperature danger zone. Check the internal temperature to make sure that the food is cooked properly.

If you are unsure of cooking temperatures, check out our recommended internal temperature information sheet.

2.      Food not held at the proper temperature

Holding food at the correct temperature can be a challenge. Especially when it comes to delivery.

It’s important that your delivery drivers understand the importance of keeping the food at the correct temperature. Make sure that food is not left out for too long—putting food in the temperature danger zone and giving bacteria a chance to multiply.

In the kitchen, make sure your refrigerators and freezers are at the right temperature to avoid the temperature danger zone.

3.      Incorrect cooling or reheating of food

Food that is reheated must reach a minimum internal temperature of at least 165°F for 15 seconds. Reheating must be done rapidly, and the minimum temperature must be reached within two hours (although we recommend as soon as possible). Again, use a thermometer to make sure.

Freezing food must be stored at a temperature of 41°F or below. Like reheating, this must be done within 2 hours of cooking, but ideally as soon as possible.

 

Ways to Stop Temperature Abuse

The main way to protect against temperature abuse is to give your staff the correct training and tools to monitor the temperature of your food, both in and out of your establishment. It is your responsibility to provide the correct equipment and training to your staff.

Training

Make sure that your staff is food safety trained and understands the process from start to finish when it comes to stopping temperature abuse.

Thermometers

Make sure everyone in your organization who needs access to a thermometer has one. This way food can be checked from the kitchen to the customer.

Temperature Logs

Make sure that your staff writes down the food temperatures to make others aware of the food that has been cooked. Having temperature logs also ensures that thermometers are being used and checked regularly.

Always Food Safe offers the following free downloads to help you monitor temperatures in your kitchen:

Learn more about temperature abuse as well as other food safety information by taking our food handlers course.

Internal Proctoring - How it can help your business

ANSI regulations require that food protection manager exams must be proctored.

Always Food Safe now lets you proctor in house, allowing you to administer exams at your location. Internal proctoring has many benefits for your business, including saving money, time, and making the exam process easier for your business.

 

 

What does internal proctoring entail?

Proctors arrange and schedule upcoming exams, administer the exam based off the process laid out by Always Food Safe, and provide certificates to staff after successfully completing the exam.

Benefits of Internal Proctoring

Having an internal proctor for your business has many benefits.

Save Money

Internal proctoring can save you up to $48 per staff member, since you do not need to pay for a proctor for your business.

Save Time

All exams can be done at your location, allowing them to get back to work sooner.

Easier to Administer

Once staff complete exam, the certificate will automatically go to your account. No need to collect certificates and store in the office.

Steps to Become a Proctor

1.      Apply

Submit your details and paperwork to Always Food Safe to express your interest in becoming a proctor.

2.      Sign Agreement

If approved, you will need to sign the Always Food Safe proctor agreement.

3.      Pass Proctor Quiz

Once we have all of your paperwork, you will need to study for and pass the proctor quiz (open book!)

4.      Start Proctoring!

Once paperwork and the proctor quiz are done, you are ready to proctor exams.

 

Get in touch with us about becoming an internal proctor at exams@alwaysfoodsafe.com.

Always Food Safe has partnered with The Pineapple Academy to Help the Care Sector

 

Here at Always Food Safe we are delighted to have partnered with The Pineapple Academy to offer Food Safety Training in the Care & Senior Living industries.

Co-Founders, Tucker Graves and Greg Gorgone have said that they “want to be part of the solution in these difficult times.”

Greg continued by saying, “Our population is aging rapidly and the gap between supply and demand for skilled foodservice and hospitality workers in Senior Living will only widen.”

To help the overworked industry Pineapple are offering FREE Training courses to help your care facility.

Take advantage of these courses here:

https://thepineappleacademy.com/introduction-to-senior-living-food-service

Salaried Manager Training during the Coronavirus outbreak

 

As the Coronavirus continues to sweep across the USA and “Social Distancing” is becoming a standard operating procedure in America, the restaurant industry is being hit harder than most by this procedure.

With this in mind, it is important to make the best out of a bad situation and use this time where your establishment may be quieter or in worst case scenarios forced to shut down to make sure all your Food Protection Managers are trained and certified.

It is a mandatory requirement across the USA that there is at least one certified food protection manager on duty during hours of operation. Does your business comply with this?

If you don’t, then training and certification is essential

Staff can complete training in their homes:

All of our training is online, meaning that your managers can complete the mandatory training in their homes.

The training is video-based and will be far more engaging than other training programs out there.

Exams can be proctored at your location:

When it comes to getting certified all exams must be overseen by a proctor. Normally that means you have to send managers out to an exam center. With Always Food Safe you can proctor exams internally, meaning managers do not have to go to crowded exam centers to take their exams.

Training can save people’s lives

Excellent Personal Hygiene is the number 1 way to prevent the spread of the virus. So, training your staff on these essentials is not just mandatory, it could also save someone’s life.