Taking Ice for Granted

Reminders from Karen Gulley, Food Program Manager

In food service establishments, ice may be used for such purposes as keeping food cold, making drinks cool and refreshing, and as an ingredient—among other things.  Microorganisms may be found in ice, ice-storage chests, and ice-producing machines.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these microorganisms get into the ice mainly as a result of transfer from a person’s hands or due to the potable (drinking) water source used.  Examples of microorganisms that cause human infection from ice include Legionella from potable water, Norovirus and Cryptosporidium from water containing fecal contamination, and Salmonella transferred from a person’s hands.

Thus, importance should be placed on keeping ice protected from contamination in the food service establishments by ensuring good handling practices which includes effective handwashing, using and properly storing a clean, impervious scoop with a handle, and not allowing bare hand contact with ice used for consumption.  Another big area of emphasis should be the cleaning and maintenance of ice machines.

During food service inspections, ice machines and ice storage units and dispensers are often marked as being out of compliance.  As shown in these “before and after” pictures provided courtesy of WeCleanIce.com, the cleaning of the inside of ice machines is warranted but often overlooked when scheduling times for the thorough cleaning of equipment.  Manufacturers of ice machines usually provide instructions for their cleaning, however, if instructions are not available, check out the guidance provided by the CDC on page 80 of their Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care Facilities.  Other helpful information regarding the importance of keeping ice safe is provided in the document as well.

 

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New Food Safety Partnership Panel: Safe Food Sources!

This time of year, quite a few restaurant menus begin to include special desserts, meats, drinks, etc. that are not usually offered in their facility.  Those foods need to be from an approved source–just as during other times of the year.  To help clarify this topic, we are announcing the 13th episode of our Food Safety Partnership Panel video entitled  Safe Food Sources , which emphasizes the need to be on alert for any unauthorized meat surfacing, such as that from illegal back woods slaughter 

Each of our Partnership Panels (covering a variety of topics) is available on the Environmental Health Food Service page of our website at www.cobbanddouglaspublichealth.org and run approximately 30 minutes in length.  These can be used for review and training as applicable. 

Enjoy a Happy and Safe Holiday Season–and always think Food Safety!

National School Lunch Week 2017: Communication

Part 3 of the Food-Safe Schools Action Guide encourages communication, which is important in all areas of food service. Communication with local partners, such as, school nutrition managers, school administrators, school nurses, emergency planners, and even students, is very important in cultivating an environment of food safety. Please see the food safe schools link for further information within the action guide on how school nutrition professionals are encouraged to communicate with various partners:

http://foodsafeschools.org/index.php/communicate/

– Submitted by Danielle Pierre, MPH Intern

National School Lunch Week 2017: Action Sheets

To continue our discussion for National School Lunch Week 2017 (October 9th-13th), we will dive into the other two parts of the Food-Safe Schools Action Guide: ACT and COMMUNICATE.  The USDA Food and Nutrition Services’ Office of Food Safety suggests that after school nutrition professionals assess their current food safety efforts, they use action sheets to help build a framework for each area of focus. Action sheets may include, but are not limited to the following areas: training and education, employee health, produce safety, and managing food allergens. Please see the following link for a complete list of action sheets suggested by the Office of Food Safety:

http://foodsafeschools.org/index.php/assemble-a-team/

– Submitted by Danielle Pierre, MPH Intern

Test Your Knowledge – Food Safety Education Month (Week 4)

As National Food Safety Education Month wraps up, test your knowledge regarding some of the information shared via our blog this month by taking a short quiz provided by our MPH intern, Danielle Pierre.  [The answers are provided at the end.]    If you have trouble answering any of them, scan back over our September posts for more information.

Best wishes—and always think Food Safety!

~Karen Gulley
Environmental Health County Manager
Center for Environmental Health
Cobb & Douglas Public Health

Direct link to quiz:

https://ehfoodblog.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/food-safety-quiz-9-29-17.pdf

 

FOOD ALLERGEN AWARENESS – FOOD SAFETY EDUCATION MONTH (WEEK 4)

We now turn our attention to the importance of food allergen awareness during this final week of National Food Safety Education Month.  Although some reactions to allergens in food are mild, many are severe and can be life-threatening.  Whether you are a consumer or worker in a food service establishment, please check out the facts, posters, and other tools provided by FoodSafety.gov to assist you with food allergen awareness and response.

Direct link:

https://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/allergens/