As a MN ServSafe certified food manager, you take care to ensure the food you serve is safe for your customers, but there may be occasions when certain things beyond your control could potentially endanger your customers. Your shipment of fresh spinach may look clean or your case of micro greens may be labeled ready to serve, but microscopic particles of E.coli and fertilizer from the soil may be hiding on the surface. Ground beef shows no signs if it has been handled by an infected production worker during packaging, and farm fresh eggs do not come with a warning flag that their surface has come into contact with salmonella. This week, we’d like to offer a few tips to help you keep items commonly contaminated during production safe for your guests.
MN ServSafe Certified Food Manager and Product Unknowingly Contaminated During Production
There are many cases where contaminated product is only discovered after an outbreak of food-borne illness has begun. A lot of outbreaks trace back to a certain ingredient’s origin rather than the food service provider who prepared the final product. So if the initial contamination comes from outside of your facility, is there anything a MN ServSafe certified food manager can do to prevent a guest from consuming contaminated product?
Even if a raw product contains undetectable pathogens, there are steps you can take to keep it safe, even if the contamination has not come to light. Here are a few pointers for commonly infected items:
- Wash all fresh produce, even if the label reads “ready to eat”
- Keep an eye on refrigerated storage temperatures to ensure product is always out of the danger zone
- Always cook product to the appropriate cooking temperatures
- Avoid loose storage of eggs
While a fresh vegetable product may be labeled as “ready to eat,” we have seen incidents where these pre-washed products have caused food-borne illnesses. A few seconds of prevention will always be worth the effort.
We’ve also seen facilities that unpack whole eggs and store them loose in the same bin. While this may not be a health violation, it does increase the risk that salmonella on the shells or from broken egg can be passed from one egg to another and multiply. With recent outbreaks of salmonella from shell eggs, we feel that taking steps to prevent eggs from coming into contact with each other could help prevent the spread of illness in the event your eggs have arrived unknowingly contaminated.
Do you take extra precautions with ingredients that are commonly recalled, or do you take extra precautions with every ingredient you bring in?