Spring is my favorite time of year, as we head out of the winter months, welcome warmer weather, and increase the daylight hours. As such, we turnover a new leaf and welcome new life as our grass, trees, and perennials come out of dormancy. This year as the Coronavirus vaccine continues its roll out and we welcome a third vaccine onto the market this morning, perhaps this spring we are turning over a ‘new leaf’ in a much more profound way, as we see light at the end of the Coronavirus tunnel.
Good habits and habit development are something that has fascinated me for several years. If you’ve attended any the training programs or presentations that my colleagues and I have conducted through our Center for Food Safety in Child Nutrition Programs, you’ve likely heard me opine about the importance of habits and how habits are created. Many times, in foodservice operations we wonder why our staff don’t follow the food safety practices we have established in our operation. Perhaps they don’t wash their hands when they are required, perhaps they just don’t use the proper method of handwashing, or perhaps we find that they don’t complete our HACCP logs as often as our program dictates should occur. And while we can stomp our feet and say “it is their job, they should just do it”, it really isn’t that simple. We can’t order people to change, although if we could, business and human resources would be so much simpler.
As anyone who has ever worked in a foodservice operation knows, from the time food is received in your establishment to the time it is served to your customers, following proper food safety practices is crucial. What many don’t often think about is this time really should extend from the time the manager places their orders with their suppliers (including which purveyors you utilize), through the time the food is consumed – even if that consumption occurs off your premises and days after the original order was picked up by the guest. This is something that has certainly been highlighted by the pandemic as customers across the nation are utilizing take-out, curbside to go, and third-party delivery options more so now than ever before.