According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are more than 250 different types of foodborne illnesses. While that number is staggering, it also means that foodborne-illness outbreaks are more common than you likely think.
This also means that an outbreak could potentially happen in your convenience store at any time if proper food-safety processes are not in place and being followed. A strong food-safety program can set you apart from the competition.
So how can you get started in building a program for your c-store?
Educating employees and making sure they understand the importance of food safety is critical. One of the most important elements is the practice of good hygiene. Let’s take a closer look.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, gloves should be worn by foodservice workers when handling ready-to-eat foods. Gloves should be used for one task only; food workers must change gloves when switching tasks. Be sure they wash their hands before and after donning gloves.
Cleaning and Sanitizing Food Contact and Non-Food Contact Surfaces
It is important to keep clean the surfaces with which both food and hands come in contact. Be sure to use a surface disinfectant and sanitizer designed specifically for the foodservice industry. These products are designed to kill germs on surfaces, including foodborne-illness pathogens, quickly and effectively.
Consider Both the Front and Back of the House
Germs that can cause illness can also be brought in by your guests. This is why it is important to offer an alcohol-based hand sanitizer at beverage stations and fresh-food areas, so your guests can sanitize their hands before they eat and drink and after touching commonly touched surfaces and objects.
The practice of good hand hygiene – washing with soap and water and using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer – is one of the most important steps any worker and patron can take to ensure the safety of food and reduce the risk of getting sick. In fact, it has been estimated that more than 80% of illnesses are transmitted by the hands, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This demonstrates the important role hand hygiene plays in your food safety program.
There are other components of food safety c-store operators need to consider. These include having employees not come to work while ill, keeping restrooms visibly and hygienically clean and following proper cooking instructions.
Food safety is a critical part to building a culture and image of cleanliness. And by having a strong food safety program in place, your c-store demonstrates to your customers you care about their health and well-being.
This post is sponsored by GOJO Industries, the inventors of the PURELL brand