Food Safety during Summer

Here in the islands, hurricanes, beach days and cook outs are synonymous with summer.  Almost everywhere we turn there is a cookout—to raise funds, to celebrate various cultures among us or just to be with friends.  Whatever the reason or occasion for us to celebrate with food, it is important that we make food safety a top priority.

A common practice when serving food is to wear gloves.  This is a good practice because the gloves protect the server’s hands as well as the health of the consumer by ensuring the food is contaminant free.  Food handlers are taught to change gloves frequently so that there is no chance (or little chance) of cross contamination.  Well, this is how it should work in an ideal world.  Sometimes, there is a false sense of safety when food handlers are wearing gloves.  Instead, consider this scenario: you walk into a food establishment and order a sandwich; the worker puts on a clean pair of gloves and proceeds to make your order.  However, during the process, she needs to get the cheese from the fridge and when coming back the phone rings with another order on the line.   She completes the phone order quickly and promptly returns with a smile and an apology.  She resumes making your sandwich but never once did she change her glove!

You may ask why should she change her glove?  The glove is no longer clean but it is now contaminated by all the dirty surfaces that the worker touched while making your sandwich!  Remember, that germs and bacteria are all around us and on everything we touch; so, EVERYTIME we touch anything other than the food we are preparing, while wearing gloves, we MUST change into a new pair of gloves before touching the food again.  Many managers may think this is an unnecessary expense but I would advise them to consider the cost involved in buying a couple boxes of disposable gloves versus the lawsuit or bad press that is involved in having an outbreak of a foodborne illness associated with their establishment.

For more information or for private consultation for your restaurant or food establishment, please contact me on 242-3978.  Like my Facebook page—Nutrition in Demand—for up to date info.