Preventing Foodborne Illnesses this Summer

Preventing Foodborne Illnesses this Summer

With the beginning of summer, many people think they can just keep their picnic food safe from bacteria by storing it in the refrigerator. But, there is one bacteria- that is exempt from that rule…

Unlike most food bacteria, Listeria can grow in cool temperatures. Refrigerating food already contaminated with these bacteria could allow the germs to multiply and spread, according to the USDA.

The bacteria can cause serious illness known as listeriosis, which is especially dangerous for children, older people, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems. Foods in which Listeria has been found include deli meats, hot dogs, smoked seafood and store-prepared salads. The FDA advises those at greater risk for developing listeriosis to reheat these ready-to-eat foods until they are steaming hot. They should also avoid unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses.

Listeriosis has also been linked to contaminated cantaloupes. The FDA recommended washing all fruits and vegetables under running water immediately before eating, cutting or cooking them. Firm produce, in particular, should be scrubbed with a produce brush. Examples like this, is specifically important in the summer when fruits are in season.

Other ways to prevent Listeria infection include:

          Set your refrigerator temperature to 40 degrees F or lower to slow the growth of Listeria. Use a refrigerator and freezer thermometer to make sure temperatures are appropriately cold.

          Wrap or cover food before placing it in the refrigerator. Be sure no containers or covers are leaking juices on other foods.

          Do not allow cooked or ready-to-eat (RTE) foods to sit in the refrigerator. Eat these foods right away so Listeria doesn’t have the opportunity to grow. If you have leftovers in your refrigerator, it’s best to throw them out after 3 days, just to be sure. Because remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

          Clean up refrigerator spills immediately. The FDA notes leaks or spills from hot dog packages, raw meat or poultry are mostly of concern. The agency advised cleaning these spills with paper towels to avoid spreading germs to a cloth towel.

          Routinely disinfect the refrigerator. Cleaning the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator with warm water and soap. Surface cleaners can also be used monthly.

          Sanitize kitchen surfaces where food is prepared with soap and water and surface cleaner.

          Wash cutting boards after every use. Nonporous acrylic, plastic, or glass boards can be sanitized in the dishwasher.

          Wash dish cloths, towels and cloth grocery bags in the hot cycle of the washing machine.

          Before and after handling food, wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds! And if you can’t remember how long- just sing the “Happy Birthday” song. This is a trick we educate children on for food safety and hand washing!

Center for Disease Control and Prevention 

Listeria_Colorado State University

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CDC statistics from 2011

CDC statistics from 2011

listeria

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Food Production Forecasting

Forecasting is an art and science of estimating events in the future and provides the database for decision making and planning. The art of forecasting is the intuition of the forecaster, and the science is the use of past data in a tested model. Both are required to estimate future needs. Forecasting is described as a function of production and constitutes the basis for procurement. Computerized systems often are used to facilitate the forecasting process.

Production Demand

Forecasting not only is a function of production but also is needed for procurement. Food products must be available for producing menu items for customers. The primary result of forecasting should be customer satisfaction; customers expect to receive what they ordered. In addition, the foodservice manager is concerned with food cost; both overproduction and underproduction affect the bottom line.

Overproduction, the production of more food than is needed for service, generates extra costs because the salvage of excess food items is not always feasible. Leftover prepared food spoils easily and requires extreme care in handling and storage. Even though some leftover foods might be salvageable by refrigeration, certain foods may break down and lose quality. An example is re-using chopped tomatoes or chopped lettuce from an earlier production shift. Policies and procedures for the storage of overproduced food items should be well defined and rigorously enforced.

Attempts to reduce overproduction costs by using a leftover high-priced food as an ingredient in a low-cost menu item reduce profits. For example, using leftover rib roast in beef stew, soup stock, or beef hash, all of which could be prepared with less expensive fresh meat, is difficult t justify. In addition to the higher food cost, planning and carrying out these salvage efforts incurs higher labor costs that could have been avoided had overproduction not occurred. Customers often suspect that leftovers are being used, which can be damaging to the image of a foodservice operation.

Underproduction, the production of less food than is needed for service, can increase costs as much as overproduction. Customers will be disappointed if the menu item is unavailable, and they often have difficulty in making another selection. Furthermore, underproduction may involve both additional labor costs and often the substitution of a higher-priced item.

A wise manager will insist that a similar backup item be available when underproduction occurs. For example, in a university residence hall foodservice, if the grilled meat patties run out, an excellent replacement would be frozen minute steaks, quickly grilled. Such a substitution certainly would increase customer satisfaction even though it hurts the bottom line.

FoodServiceSalesGrowth

What Does “Team Growth” Mean to You?

A team, especially one that is in a foodservice operation, has four distinct stages of group development. The four stages of group development were created by Dr. Bruce W. Tuckerman after observation of the different phases in the development and maturity of groups of people.

Forming

The first stage is forming. This is where teams are getting to know each other, as well as learning what will be required of them in order to achieve their assigned goal. This stage is defined by the way the team members approach each other and inspect the limitations of group behavior. The group is also evaluating the manager’s role and leadership. Throughout this stage, the manager takes a larger role in directing the progress of the team. Directing involves telling the group what specifically needs to be accomplished, establishing guidelines, and providing specifics on the five Ws (Who, What, Where, When, Why) and How. At this point, the team members are focusing on being part of a team.

Team Feeling:

          Excitement; Optimism; Pride in being selected; Wondering what role and influence they will have; Anxiety; Questioning why they and other team members were selected

Team Behavior:

          Friendly; Agreeable; Deciding how to accomplish tasks; Determining acceptable team behavior; Information gathering; Handling complaints about the organization; Discussing barriers to the task

Leadership Style:

          Directing

Storming

The second stage is storming. At this point, the reality of the project sets in for the team and various interpersonal struggles begin to surface. Typically, this is the most difficult stage for any team to get through, since power clashes and competition between team members are common and are easily seen here. Besides this realization, team members become impatient with their lack of progress and rely more on individual approaches instead of teamwork. At this time, the manager needs to utilize a coaching style to clarify and explain tasks repeatedly. The manager will need to persuade team members often to work together and refocus their efforts.

            Team Feeling:

          Resistance to approaches different from what the team is comfortable with; Swings in attitudes about the team and project; Questioning many aspects of the task

Team Behavior:

          Arguing; Choosing sides; Perceived “pecking order”; Increased tension; Jealousy; Power struggles; Lack of progress; Loss of interest

Leadership Style:

           Coaching

Norming

The third stage, norming, sees team member settling their differences and developing more cohesive and trusting relationships. The team realizes that they can work together and help each other achieve success. The members understand the team’s needs and accept the team ground rules and the roles that each person plays in achieving the project goals. Conflict decreases as these realizations occur and team members develop more confidence in their ability to work together and accomplish the task. At this time, the manager transitions into a leadership style of supporting the team by providing encouragement, listening more than telling, and promoting team discussions.

            Team Feeling:

          Expressing constructive criticism; Membership acceptance; Relief that things are finally going smoothly; Understanding own contribution; Acceptance of membership

Team Behavior:

          Attempts for harmony; Avoiding conflict; Discussing team dynamics; Sense of common purpose; Establishing and monitoring team rules; Expressing ideas

Leadership Style:

          Supporting

 

Performing

At last but not least, the fourth and final stage is performing. This is where team interdependence is recognized. Team members can analyze and solve problems successfully together. They have accepted each other’s strengths and weaknesses and can adapt to meet the needs of each member. The team becomes very productive and truly adds value to the organizations. At this point, the manager can use a delegating style. The manager no longer needs to provide much direction and can periodically monitor the team’s progress with update meetings.

            Team Feeling:

          Insights into group processes; Understanding of each member’s strengths and weaknesses; Satisfaction with progress; Trusting; Friendly; Having fun

Team Behavior:

          Individual behavior modification; Working through team problems; Close attachment to members; Flexibility; Humor; Ownership of results

Leadership Style:

          Delegating

team growth

team grow

Southern Grocery Shopping

Southern Grocery Cart

It’s easy to throw healthy eating habits out the window when you’re away from home and your regular routine. Andrea D’Ambrosio, RD talks about ways to create a healthy winter routine while staying on a budget.

Plan ahead and stick to a list
Being prepared before you grab your grocery cart will help you avoid impulse purchases. It also gives you time to look at flyers, find sales and clip coupons. Try taking advantage of no-name products and avoiding shopping while you’re hungry.

Shop in season and avoid being wasteful
Buy in-season foods from local farmer’s markets, which is cheaper, and be resourceful with leftovers, using up excess food before it goes to waste, she says.

Consider vegetarian alternatives
If you study your grocery bill, meat products are often among the most expensive items. Consider planning meals with vegetarian alternatives like lentils, beans and soy. Check out vegetarian websites for heart- and budget-healthy meal ideas, she suggests.

Here are 5 friendly foods and the reasons you should add them to your grocery list:

  1. Fresh, seasonal fruit: A favorite snack to boost energy levels between meals if you feel a little hungry (power of carbs) and allows you to benefit from vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  1. Low-fat (1 percent) or non-fat milk: In order to maintain our bone density, we need to consume adequate dairy to receive calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and protein, which are all essential for bone growth and development.
  1. Whole grains: According to the Journal of Nutrition (2011), oats, barley, rice and quinoa all lower risk of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer, as well contribute to body-weight management and gastrointestinal health. Try buying whole-grain pasta and remember to look for the words “whole grain” on the label.
  1. Almonds: But just a handful a day, and make them unsalted! A portion-controlled (quarter cup) serving of almonds is excellent for lowering cholesterol because of the unsaturated fats, making them a heart-healthy choice. Almonds are high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and are naturally high in fiber and a good source of protein!
  1. Edamame: Green soybeans, made popular in Japanese cuisine but available in grocery stores, add a nice nutritional punch. These tasty soybeans can be added as a side dish, steamed in the pod or consumed as a snack or appetizer. Nutritionally speaking, they are another heart-healthy source of protein, fiber and vitamins.

http://www.thestar.com/specialsections/snowbirds/article/1301135–fill-your-southern-grocery-cart-with-healthy-foods

http://www.dieteticdirections.com/

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