The June 2007 QSR Magazine features an article on trying to ensure food safety when serving fresh produce at quick-serve restaurants. The article’s author interviewed different players in the food industry, asking their thoughts about how to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks. Weighing in were representatives from the National Restaurant Association, the Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management, Rutgers University, and other organizations with a stake in the food industry and food safety.
Director of Science and Regulatory Relations for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), Kristie Grzywinski, says areas like sanitation, supply-chain practices, and holding temperatures are all areas where contaminations are easily introduced. “Really a lot of it is just making sure you have good practices in your establishments,” she says.
Dr. Peter Snyder, Hospitality Institute of Technology & Management president, says one of those good practices is trusting your instincts when picking suppliers, especially for produce.
“If he’s stupid enough to come in a filthy truck that means there’s bad management,” he says. And that could mean trouble or even a potential outbreak for restaurants having their food supplied by the company. Most importantly, Snyder says only buy from suppliers who get their products from approved sources. He says going to the site to see the operation makes this decision easier. Also, he suggests scheduling food deliveries for off-peak hours so that there is ample time to inspect the food and packaging for problems and potential hazards.
Some of the people interviewed in the article argued for more federal oversight and regulations of the food industry, as a way to increase food safety and prevent foodborne illness. Fred Gordon, an attorney who represents food industry companies who face claims of foodborne illness in claims against their suppliers, was interviewd for the article:
Gordon admits that responsibility lies on everyone in the supply chain to maintain the safety of the food but says just because the spotlight falls on the restaurants, farms should not ignore the important role they play in creating a safe product from the start..
“It’s, in my opinion, solely driven by economics,” he says. “We have plenty of laws already on the books that if there were sufficient resources to actually police the entities, we’d be great.”