We Need Consistency in Restaurant Grading

After obtaining several million health department inspections, reviewing tens of thousands of health department reports, sifting through hundreds of health department websites and analyzing dozens of scoring schema I offer some conclusions.

We need consistency in restaurant grading.

 Consistency in restaurant grading score card

A+ Restaurant Food Safety RatingThe FDA has developed, over decades, a simple inspection report card. Using this standardized report card is the first key to consistency. In my blog titled “Problems With Restaurant Food Safety Grading”, I review variances in food safety definitions.

There can be very few reasons not to use a universal score card and none of them hold any merit in the goal of improving the public health.

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Food Safety Education Can Save Your Job

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”. Nelson Mandela

Unfortunately, there are people who suffer and die from food borne illness.

~60% of food borne illness is from restaurants.

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Glove Use Will Reduce Coronavirus

How do you feel when you notice the cook or server is touching ready to eat food without gloves? Glove Use Will Reduce Coronavirus!

A turn off, isn’t it? It also increases the risk of transmitting disease. And in the time of coronavirus it is no joke.

Imagine a dentist putting his/her hands in your mouth without using gloves. Would you ask him/her to put on gloves? When food service workers touch ready to eat foods without using gloves, they are literally putting their fingers into the customer’s mouth. Just like dentists, food service workers are entrusted with the public health. Glove use when serving ready to eat foods is critically important to reducing food borne illness.

restaurant plating

“The spread of germs from the hands of food workers to food is an important cause of foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants and accounts for 89% of outbreaks.”

 Are food preparers or food servers required to wear gloves?

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Contaminated Gloves Can Cause Food Borne Illness

In the last three blogs, I discussed what the movie “Contagion” can teach us about the anatomy of food borne illness epidemics, how proper gloves use is important in the prevention of food borne illness and not all gloves are equal. Now, let’s prevent cross contamination.

In healthcare, we put gloves on a certain way, protect the glove from touching anything that could be contaminated, watch for leaks and take the glove off so as not to contaminate ourselves. All techniques are applicable to food safety.

Handle the glove and put it on and use them so as not to contaminate the gloves.

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Why Bother Using a Food Thermometer When Cooking or Holding Food?

In the most recent data Annual Report from the CDC, published August 2017, the most common causes of food borne illness identified were related to improper cooking with:

  • “poor temperature control”
  • “insufficient time or temperature while cooking or heating”
  • “improper holding temperatures”
  • “eating contaminated raw, undercooked or under processed foods.

I conclude that to reduce the chances of getting your guests sick, be cautious about temperatures and use a food thermometer for cooking and holding. It really is quite simple.

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How Often Do Food Handlers Work While Ill?

An ill food handler causes nearly 50% of all restaurant-related outbreaks.

While the study is now a few years old, as reported by State and Federal Environmental Health Specialists:

Many restaurant policies concerning ill food workers do not follow FDA recommendations.

Food Handler

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Where Are We Most Likely to Get Food Borne Illness and Why?

In the 2015 (most recent data) Annual Report from the CDC, published August 2017, there were 902 food borne illness outbreaks in the USA with Norovirus being the most confirmed, single cause. Sixty (60%) percent were traced to restaurants. Sit-down dining establishments accounted for nearly half of the restaurant sources.

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What Does a Restaurant B Letter Grade Mean?

In my last blog post, I highlighted the logic behind the A+ grade. Not all restaurants can consistency achieve that level of excellence. But most B graded restaurants are still very good.

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Protecting a Brand’s Food Safety Image: Responding to Alleged Poisonings

It’s going to happen!
Someone you know will get food borne illness from eating at a restaurant this year.

If you are in restaurant management, some of your customers will get food borne illness from eating at your restaurant this year.

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Lessons Learned From the Food Safety Summit and the NRA: A Physician’s Perspective

I had the pleasure of attending the Food Safety Summit held annually in Chicago in early May. I was impressed. The Summit brought together governmental, hospitality, legal, and vendor food safety experts all with the apparent motivation to discuss and learn how to make our food safer from farm or production to the dining table.

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