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As restaurants re-open in the new-normal COVID world, implementing new practices can help to mitigate exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Recently, the National Restaurant Association released an updated “COVID-19 Safe Operating Guidance” that incorporates the latest information and best practices from the CDC, FDA, EPA and OSHA agencies that are designed to help restaurants operate safely.

The guide addresses the following areas: food safety; cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting; employee health monitoring and personal hygiene; social distancing; and effective ventilation. The FDA Food Code is also discussed with attention to requirements relevant to coronavirus mitigation. These requirements include prohibiting sick employees in the workplace, strict hygiene and sanitization practices, and ensuring proper management is available and on the premises.

The guide also includes some seldom considered safety nuggets. For example, it is suggested that wherever possible, assign a staff member to work the self-service drink stations, limit congregation/lines, and remove lemons and unwrapped straws from the self-service drink stations. The guide emphasizes making hand sanitizer readily available to guests (or perhaps consider touchless hand sanitizing solutions).

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The Food Safety Team will offer solutions and tips that address the key safety areas in getting food from the farm to the fork.

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