food safety

Vibrio Outbreaks: What They Are and How to Stop Them

Food safety is the most important thing in food service. In fact, failing to follow safety guidelines can cause mass outbreaks. if you handle food that the public consumes. According to WHO, food spreads more than 200 different diseases. Fortunately, it’s easy to reduce that risk by following proper food safety guidelines. Here is what you need to know about one such type of outbreak — vibrio outbreaks — and how you can use food safety to mitigate against them.

Vibrio vs. Salmonella

Salmonella is a well-known bacteria even among the general public. It is often the one type we think of when it comes to illnesses caused by contaminated contaminated food, and we often focus our efforts on preventing it. However, illnesses caused by Vibrio bacteria should not be overlooked. While salmonella is often found in raw meats, Vibrio infects raw seafood such as shellfish and oysters. Vibrio naturally lives in water by the coast, unlike salmonella which thrives in animal intestines. The symptoms of illnesses caused by both bacteria are largely the same: pain, fever, and diarrhea.

How Serious Is Vibriosis?

The illness caused by Vibrio bacteria is called vibriosis. In many cases, the symptoms will be mild and people can recover on their own within a few days. However, if someone has a weakened immune system, the illness could become very dangerous. There are also different types of vibriosis with varying degrees of seriousness. According to the CDC, a type called Vibrio vulnificus can even cause death.

How to Prevent Vibrio Outbreaks

To effectively prevent Vibrio outbreaks, all employees should wash their hands well and at the appropriate times. Utensils should also be sanitized regularly and surfaces wiped down. Avoid cross-contamination between products and equipment, and always cook food to the appropriate temperature and for the right length of time. ServSafe training is an effective way to ensure your employees know the best food safety practices and follow through with them. In many states, getting your employees certified may even be the law.

How Are Vibrio Illnesses and Outbreaks Treated?

Most cases of Vibrio illnesses will run their course for a few days and the patient will recover just fine.
It’s important to drink plenty of water during this time. Antibiotics may be used in more severe instances. In the case of Vibrio vulnificus, limb amputations may be necessary, according to the CDC. Outbreaks are controlled by closing the restaurant, recalling the food, and disinfecting facilities. It is also important to ensure food handlers have completed ServSafe training to help prevent the spread.

Vibrio outbreaks should not be taken lightly. They are a danger to the public and can come with serious health risks. The proper food and health information can help both the public and food handlers stay ahead of these risks. If you are a restaurant or other food service business owner, be sure to get your food handlers ServSafe certification as soon as possible. Doing so could save a life.

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What You Need to Know About Salmonella Outbreaks

Owning a restaurant or other foodservice business comes with a lot of responsibility. If you are such an owner, you probably know about the importance of keeping the food you serve safe in order to prevent illnesses. But how much do you know about the illnesses themselves? Understanding the causes and symptoms can help you to stay ahead of outbreaks and improve the food safety in your business. In this article, we’ll help you do this by highlighting the important things you need to know about salmonella outbreaks.

What Causes Salmonella Outbreaks?

Salmonella are bacteria. They can contaminate food and drink and, when ingested, have a chance of causing illness. Some foods are more prone to being infected than others, such as raw meats like poultry and seafood. Salmonella can be transferred from person to person and from animals to people through physical contact with each other or through objects such as eating utensils. Since the bacteria can be spread so easily, outbreaks happen when proper food handling is not practiced.

Why Are They Dangerous?

Sometimes, people that ingest salmonella never get any symptoms, but they are a lucky few. Eating contaminated food results in an illness called salmonellosis. The symptoms include diarrhea, stomach aches, and even fever. In some cases, these could develop into serious health problems, especially if left untreated. Salmonellosis can also cause diseases in the nervous system and blood, among others. This is a dangerous situation that could be avoided with proper food safety precautions.

How to Prevent Them

The people who handle food in restaurants are a line of defense against outbreaks as long as they understand and undertake the proper precautions. According to the CDC, one of the best ways to prevent sickness is by washing your hands. Food handlers should undergo ServSafe training to learn when and how to effectively wash their hands. The training will also provide them with other important food and health information that they should implement on a daily basis in order to help prevent outbreaks from happening.

When it comes to the restaurant and food business, safety should always be a number one priority. Salmonella outbreaks are dangerous, but they can be prevented with the right knowledge and training. That’s why it’s so important to make sure the food handlers in your business get ServSafe certification as soon as possible. In many states, it may even be the law. So don’t delay and do your part in ensuring food safety.

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Proper Ways to Cool Food in Your Restaurant

Food safety is a big deal because a few upset stomachs can potentially put your restaurant out of business for good. One of the most important aspects of food safety involves cooling. If you’re tempted to just toss everything in the huge freezer in the back, think again. Follow the outlined methods instead.

Initial Two-Hour Cool

Because microorganisms thrive in temperatures between 125 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it is important to make sure that food is passed quickly through this temperature range. This is known as the Temperature Danger Zone. This is where the “two-hour cool” comes in, as it involves first cooling foods from 140 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit within two hours, and then from 70 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower within four hours. The rule to apply is if the food has not reached 70 degrees Fahrenheit in two hours, it must either be reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds and then cooled again, or simply thrown away.

No Hot Food in the Freezer

This rule is set to make sure that food cools sufficiently and safely. If food is kept in the cooler or freezer while still hot or in bulk, it does not move through the danger zone fast enough, and this poses a health risk. It will also raise the temperature of everything else in the freezer, therefore potentially bringing other food items back into the Temperature Danger Zone.

Reduce Food Sizes

To make sure that food cools down well enough, ServSafe recommends reducing large food items into smaller sizes. Also, divide large containers and redistribute them into smaller ones before sealing and freezing them. Denser food cools more slowly. Dividing it up into smaller sizes will enable faster passage through the temperature danger zone.

Use One of the Approved Methods

There are a few good ways to cool food down fast. They include placing the container of food in an ice-water bath and stirring it frequently, stirring food using ice paddles (plastic containers filled with water and then frozen) and adding ice to the food if water is one of its ingredients. Also, make sure to store food in the right compartment, noting that produce that is sensitive to either ethylene gas or humidity loss does best when stored in a crisper drawer.

ServSafe makes sure to train people well on all methods of safe food storage to avoid the risk of contamination. Good training is important to place you at an advantage in the market, so make sure to enroll in a course. Call TSC Associates to find out which course best suits your needs.

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Food Preparation: When and How to Wash Your Hands

ServSafe training will help you know why hand washing is extremely important while in the kitchen, as it can be the difference between spreading germs and diseases, and serving up a healthy, delicious plate. Well-known germs like Salmonella can potentially make people very ill, and you don’t want this to happen on your watch. Here is a brief outline of when and how to wash your hands while in the kitchen.

Crucial Times to Wash Hands

With ServSafe training, you will be able to make it a habit to wash your hands at crucial points while preparing and serving food. This can make a big difference and stop instances of food poisoning.

You should remember to wash your hands:

  • After you handle uncooked meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, and even flour.
  • Before wearing gloves and after using them to avoid transferring germs or chemicals between foodstuffs and the gloves.
  • After you touch garbage.
  • Before you eat.
  • Before, during, and after the preparation of a meal.
  • After you wipe counters and other surfaces using chemicals.
  • After you touch pets and their food or treats.
  • After you sneeze, cough, or blow your nose.

The World Health Organization has reported that annually, approximately 600 million people, which is about one in every ten people worldwide, fall ill after they eat food that has been contaminated. This is enough reason to practice handwashing often to minimize the chances of an occurrence.

How to Wash Your Hands

It is important to know the right way to wash your hands if you are to effectively prevent the spread of germs. The steps to follow when washing your hands include:

  • Wetting your hands with running water. It does not matter if you prefer to use warm or cold water, either works well.
  • Apply soap and work up a lather, making sure to lather the backs of your hands, between the fingers, and also under your nails whether they are long or short.
  • Next, scrub your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. An easy way to count down this time is to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice, from beginning to end.
  • Finally, you can rinse your hands under running water to get the soap off, and dry them.

It may seem insignificant, but following these steps to wash your hands will ensure that you don’t transfer any germs. No detail is left out by Servsafe training, and this makes any trainee that passes through our training competent enough to work in kitchens with the strictest requirements for safe food handling.

How to Clean and Sanitize Using a Three-Compartment Sink

It is a major task to follow food safety protocols when working in the foodservice industry. Food quality is key when preparing food in a restaurant, or any other area of the foodservice field. One important aspect is keeping your restaurant kitchen clean in order to prevent food contamination.

Healthy maintenance of a three-compartment sink is imperative to prevent food contamination. The WHO cites that more than 200 different diseases are spread through food. The CDC says washing your hands and surfaces is the first step in food safety. Some of the other steps are separating foods, cooking at the right temperature, and refrigerating food after cooking.

Three-Compartment Sink Usage

Let’s focus on one step of food safety by keeping surfaces clean. Using a three-compartment sink the right way reduces the risk of food poisoning. Here are three key elements for proper usage of the sink:

First

After scraping off all the food in the garbage, use the first section of the sink to wash the dishes and utensils with warm soapy water. The detergent solution should be at least 110°F (43°C). Replace the water when the suds are gone or the water is dirty.

Second

In the second section, rinse or dip all the dishes in clean water. Washing and rinsing the dishes must be done before using any sanitizing solution. Food particles and soap prevent the sanitizing solution from working.

Third

The third section is for soaking the dishes in a sanitizing solution or hot water. Check the time and temperature requirements for the sanitizer you are using. If using only hot water to sanitize, the temperature of the water should be 171°F (24°C) or higher. Air-dry the dishes once they have been soaked in the solution.

Use these steps to reduce food contamination and poisoning. These simple steps can make a difference in the health and well-being of your customers and business.

Safety First

While keeping the sinks clean is one step, but it’s best to gain knowledge about food service overall it’s crucial to know and implement all aspects of food safety. ServSafe courses, developed by the National Restaurant Association, is leading training in the food service industry. Contact TSC Associates today to find out which ServSafe certification course best fits your needs.

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How to Properly Store Food at Your Restaurant

When it comes to running a restaurant, one of the most important things to know is how to store food properly. Improperly stored food can attract pests or go bad and make customers sick. For the safety of your customers, the implementation of learning proper food storage is essential for every restaurant.

How You Can Properly Store Food at Your Restaurant

Here are a few easy tips to help ensure that you are storing your food correctly.

1. Use the FIFO Rule

Practice FIFI, the First In First Out method of stock rotation. Store food by use-by-dates so that the
oldest product gets used first. This rotation, coupled with use-by labeling, can help remove the chances of food sitting for too long and going bad.

2. Air Tight Containers and Meat

All of your food items should be stored in airtight containers, as air will hasten their expiration. While canned, high-acid foods can stay good for up to 18 months, most other foods don’t meet these criteria. Always use food storage bins that are air-tight to ensure that they won’t spoil quickly and that pests won’t get into them.

Similarly, raw meat should always be stored beneath other items. This is to ensure that no juices from the meat can leak and contaminate other items.

3. Temperature Control

Refrigeration is vital, and making sure the temperature is correct will help protect your food. Always keep a thermometer in your refrigerators and have staff check the temperatures at least once a day and note the time and temperature. This will help protect against fluctuations that could put your food at risk.

Similarly, you should never overload your refrigerators, as this can make them work overtime, increasing the chance of a malfunction. This can also lead to cold and warm spots within the refrigeration that can put your food in danger.

ServSafe Certification

If you’d like to learn more about how to safely store food, along with other ways to keep your customers safe, consider taking a ServSafe course. ServSafe training courses, developed by the National Restaurant Association, is one of the best resources when it comes to learning how to safely store, prepare and serve food in your establishment. For more information, be sure to consult with TSC Associates.

servsafe alcohol vendor training

How to Get Started with ServSafe Alcohol Vendor Training

From celebratory events to causal social outings, alcohol frequently features in the average American’s relaxation plan. In the United States alone, the alcohol beverage industry generates approximately $70 billion in annual tax, creating over four million jobs. While the culinary and cultural facets of these drinks are overemphasized, one aspect is often ignored: safety.

Establishments that serve alcohol within their premises need to guarantee their patrons’ safety and that of their employees. ServSafe Alcohol Vendor training teaches on the laws and responsibilities involved in working in a hotel, bar, or convenience store where alcohol is sold or consumed. You can receive ServSafe certification upon the completion of the ServSafe Alcohol Vendor training.

ServSafe Alcohol Vendor Training Program

ServSafe Alcohol training is a comprehensive program by the National Restaurant Association targeted at managerial and non-administrative staff in establishments that serve alcohol. TSC Associates — a registered ServSafe Proctor and Certified ServSafe Instructor — teaches the basics of serving alcohol, including, but not limited to:

  • Verifying identification
  • Spotting fake IDs
  • Identifying intoxicated patrons
  • How to deny alcohol to intoxicated persons
  • Procedures to diffuse troubled or tensed situations
  • Understanding laws and responsibilities surrounding the provision of alcohol

Here’s how to get started with ServSafe alcohol vendor training

1. Know Your Local State Regulatory Requirements

Regulatory requirements for staff working in premises that serve alcohol vary from one state to the next. Several states require supplemental information aside from the basic alcohol training program. In some cases, a state-specific quiz can be administered. You may contact TSC Associates to further understand the requirements within your jurisdiction.

2. Purchase the Online ServSafe Alcohol Vendor Course and Exam

The next step would be to purchase the ServSafe Alcohol training program and register for your exams. You may need to find a registered ServSafe Proctor and Certified ServSafe Instructor to guide you through the process. ServSafe recommends scheduling the exam before starting the course. Knowing the exam date can help your staff plan their learning schedule with the instructors.

Moreover, an ideal training schedule should comprise a one-hour session. The ServSafe Alcohol Vendor Training program is approximately four hours in length. Consult your certified ServSafe Instructor such as TSC Associates to guide you on the lessons and how to tackle the examination.

3. Sit for the Online Exam

After the online or in-person training, your staff can sit for the certification exam. A registered ServSafe exam proctor needs to be physically present to administer the exam. You may need to print your scores by section and Record of Training after completing the course. The proctor administering the examination may request that you submit one or both of these documents.

Additional Tips to Maximize Your Learning Experience

If handling an online ServSafe alcohol training program, find a quiet place away from any noise or distractions to help you focus more on learning. Printing the course study guides can help you take notes to review before the exam. Completing the course at least two days prior to your scheduled exam provides you with ample time to study and review.

The ServSafe Alcohol Vendor training program can help you remain compliant with local state laws and regulations governing establishments that serve alcohol. If you’re interested in learning more about the ServSafe alcohol training, reach out to TSC Associates today.

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ServSafe Certification: 5 Trends Shaping the Food Processing Industry

ServSafe manager certification is the recognized standard in the foodservice management industry. Since food safety is always a concern for policymakers, standards are continually changing.

In the last decade, there has been a growing demand for higher standards in the food handling and processing industry. According to the WHO, 600 million people (1 in 10 globally) get sick from eating contaminated meat. Read on to discover the new trends in the food industry.

1. Higher Customer Expectations

Restaurants have to contend with higher customer expectations even after the effects of the pandemic. Consumers are demanding better packaging, service, and customer care. It is critical for eateries and food processing plants to get a ServSafe certification.

A ServSafe certification addresses various aspects of food safety. The application of those regulations can be complicated and expensive. Training is necessary for restaurant personnel if they are to apply new methods and technologies.

2. Broader and More Stringent Safety Standards

Regulators assert that there is a need for more encompassing and precise testing standards. For example, experts consider it to be more effective to test pathogen loads than to certify the product.

Additionally, regulators are becoming increasingly aware of new risks. That has led to animal feeding restrictions for meat farmers to limit the pathogen from spreading. It is challenging for suppliers and restaurants to limit exposure to some disease-causing microorganism.

3. Emphasis on Consumer Welfare

It is safe to place emphasis on the welfare of consumers rather than simply certifying a product. For that reason, the focus is shifting to making the supply chain more compliant with regulations. That involves identifying the precise points where hazards could crop up.

ServSafe managers may have to extend their risk analysis to processing practices of producers. The industry’s policymakers refer to the concept as “farm to table.” In some instances, it may involve working with producers in exporting countries to ensure compliance.

4. Higher Levels of Transparency in Regulations

World Trade Organization now requires national governments to explain the rationale of their safety policies. The country’s policymakers have to inform representatives at WTO of their intentions.

The trade factor makes it harder for government policymakers to ignore the implications of food safety standards. National regulators are under pressure to ensure compliance. It is increasingly crucial for restaurants to acquire a ServSafe certification for their staff.

5. Technologies for Traceability and Transparency

Studies have shown that consumers want to learn more about food products. They need access to reliable information as to where and how the food was produced. As such, restaurants and producers have had to implement traceability technologies to uphold transparency.

Self-monitoring and certifications like ServSafe result in a faster supply chain movement. They are more effective than government programs to implement safety. Certifications result in a more lively interaction between players in the food and restaurant industries.

Restaurants and food producers are under pressure to meet new regulations for food handling and processing. Certification is essential for managers and other personnel in the food processing sector. ServSafe certification is a wise step to ensure compliance for your business. If you are looking for ServSafe training and certification, contact TSC Associates today, and we will walk you through our various programs. You can also register for a class online.

How a ServSafe Certification Can Help Your Food-Based Business

As the world begins its return to normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic, the widespread return to in-person dining is happening. Even once the major threat of coronavirus is not as present, the threat of disease spreading through food won’t disappear. In fact, the World Health Organization says that there are over 200 diseases that can be spread through food. To avoid this spread, you should ensure that your business has the proper training from ServSafe.

What Is ServSafe Training?

ServSafe training is a form of training that helps ensure businesses serving food and alcohol are following proper procedures to keep their employees and customers safe. In-person dining is something that many people missed out on during the pandemic. Ensuring that you and your employees are properly trained in safely serving your customers means that you can feel more comfortable knowing that you’re keeping everyone safe. When you invest in ServSafe training, you’re protecting everyone who walks through the doors of your establishment.

What Kind of Training Is Right For You?

ServSafe offers multiple options when it comes to certifications. For example, if your restaurant serves alcohol, you might need ServSafe Alcohol Training, but if you only serve food, you may just need the ServSafe Food Handlers Training or Food Manager Certification Training. Contact TSC Associates to discuss what trainings and certifications you may need.

Keeping Your Customers Safe

As the world reopens, the number one priority for many customer service-centered industries is ensuring that your customers feel safe visiting your business. This may mean ensuring that you have adequate spacing between tables, operating at a limited capacity, or ensuring that your employees know the proper way to handle food. A ServSafe certification can be extremely helpful in making sure that both your employees and customers feel safe.

If you’re interested in finding out more about ServSafe, contact TSC Associates today. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have about ServSafe training, and we look forward to hearing from you!

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ServSafe Benefits You May Not Know

As a food service provider, you are probably familiar with the importance of proper food handling for the safety of both your customers and staff. ServSafe training is a great way to educate your staff and ensure the best experience for your customers. However, the benefits of ServSafe training aren’t just limited to food safety.

ServSafe Alcohol Vendor Trainings

When serving alcohol to your guests, how do you know when to draw the line, or when a good time becomes a risk to either your business or staff? ServSafe alcohol training is a useful investment for any food service provider as it provides the necessary training for your staff to handle alcohol responsibly. Taught by a registered ServSafe proctor, these informative classes give your staff everything they need to handle difficult situations while also learning about the effects of alcohol, how and when to check identification, and more. Ensuring your management and staff are trained guarantees your business can sell beer and cocktails safely.

ServSafe Manager Certification

While ServSafe employee training is important, ServSafe Manager training and certification further ensures your staff regularly adheres to food safety protocols. ServSafe manager certification courses are tailored to address management and provide the necessary tools for successful daily implementation of ServSafe protocols. Having an educated and informed staff is the first step to making your customers’ experience as safe, memorable, and enjoyable as possible.

While food and alcohol training requirements vary by state, it is always a good idea to give your staff the information they need to provide a safe, clean environment for your customers. ServSafe certification training courses are beneficial because they provide your staff with the necessary protocols to implement food/alcohol safety measures. Contact TSC Associates today to learn more about the best ServSafe training courses for your establishment.