My wife and I have had the honor of attending a wedding held in a lovely “event center” outside of Nashville. The wedding was catered. There was a delicious selection of organic chicken, filet mignon, salads, desserts etc. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
Servers wore gloves and used tongs for ready to eat foods such as breads. The buffet line food was changed without dumping old on to new. Foods were held at what seemed to be the appropriate temperature.
To my knowledge no one got sick from food poisoning.
I am sure you are thinking that is a strange comment, but what if you had a precious event that you hosted and multiple people got sick. That is just what happened at a wedding in Missouri. Over 300 people allegedly got sick after eating gravy at a wedding event. The gravy had apparently not been cooled properly and fostered growth of Clostridium perfringens, which caused abdomen cramps, nausea and diarrhea. Likely no one will die from this, however I had a patient who died from complications associated with this organism.
If you hire a caterer, you expect attention to detail in presentation and service. Likely most people don’t even consider the risk of food poisoning but it does occur. So what can you do? In your selection of a caterer, amongst all the other important questions, ask:
- Does the service have a certified food handler in attendance at all times who is supervising the event? Does the other staff have any specific training or certification?
- Does the service follow FDA food safety guidelines including use of gloves when handling ready to eat foods?
- If serving a buffet, what steps are taken to ensure proper holding temperatures, cross contamination of foods, contamination of utensils?
- Has the service addressed potential high-risk allergen foods to ensure there is no cross contamination?
- Do they have insurance to cover any potential food poisoning event?
- Does your contract with them hold you harmless for their incompetence?
In your selection of your caterer, take the time to ask some important questions on food safety and you will put the company on notice that you are informed and will demand the highest standards. Most importantly your guests will be protected and your event will have the lasting memory you dreamed of.