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Restaurant Success Comes with a Dedicated Food Safety Supervisor

A food safety supervisor is responsible for making sure all staff are following food safety regulations.  Failure to follow the rules can result in severe food borne illness outbreaks.  This negligence can be fatal and that negligence can certainly cost you.  

Just ask the couple that was fined $42,000 and is being blamed for what is called the worst food poising outbreak in NSW.  How did this happen?  Well, the couple were storing raw egg mayonnaise incorrectly.  The temperature at which they were storing this condiment was so warm, it was double what is recommend by approved health guidelines.  This environment allowed salmonella to rapidly grow and the outcome was devastating.  The saddest part is that this couple was warned a full two years ago to clean up their act.  They were cautioned against their poor food handling practices but choose to ignore the warnings.

NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said about this unfortunate incident:

“This case is a wake-up call to all food businesses – especially those who cut corners, ignore food safety laws and put consumers’ health at risk. This was an appalling food poisoning incident where 136 people were hospitalized and a further 165 people sought medical treatment. So in this case, there were a total of 319 people who were sick, which placed an extra demand on our health system, and also resulted in lost time at work. A thorough investigation by the NSW Food Authority found that the source of the food poisoning was raw egg mayonnaise used in Vietnamese-style pork and chicken rolls. The culprits behind this terrible outbreak were warned two years earlier of their poor food handling practices but failed to heed warnings and advice by the Food Authority.”

The reality is, having a food safety supervisor on staff does not automatically guarantee that safe food practices are being followed.  As evidenced in the case above, whether or not a food safety supervisor was employed at the restaurant, the safe food guidelines were ignored for years.  How can business owners protect themselves when relying on a food safely supervisor?

Start by hiring a food safety supervisor with experience.  Industry experience helps your supervisor recognise unsafe food practices and effectively managing other staff.  Consider promoting a staff member from with your organization to the food safety supervisor position.  You will have had ample time to obverse this individual’s food handling skills and their ability to manage and motivate staff.

Rely more on the staff members that have taken the initiative to obtain their own food safety supervisor training or ask the staff member you wish to hire or promote to obtain the training with the understanding that you will reimburse them upon successful completion.  By having a vested interest and a financial stake in their education, your food safety supervisor is much more likely to be committed to their job. It is always an added benefit for your staff to have completed a food handlers course which gives them basic knowledge.

It is always a sad day when innocent people are affected by those that simply do not want to follow the rules and when those rules affect the health and safety of others, those people become dangerous to the public.  Having a food safety supervisor on staff that is ready, willing and able to do their job can be a lifesaving decision.  Choose wisely.