Food safety and wastage are of necessary concern all over the world. Every year many people fall sick due to foodborne illnesses. Additionally, a lot of food gets wasted due to various reasons. The causes of food wastage are:
- product not used within specified dates
- food not stored in a proper way
As per Feeding America – 108 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States each year. Out of which, 40% wastage occurs from Consumer-facing Businesses.
Global food wastage almost costs up to 2.6 trillion USD per year. It is thus the responsibility of every commercial food set up to reduce food wastage. This will protect the environment and save the cost of production for the food.
Let’s see how restaurants can reduce food wastage to ensure State Food Safety norms in Utah.
Train Kitchen Staff
All pantry staff must have training on buying, storing, and properly cooking food to ensure food safety. Strict food safety and hygiene practices must be in place for one and all working in the pantry. Also, staff must have complete knowledge of food safety and foodborne illnesses.
To prevent wastage, the staff procuring the food items must only accept fresh foods. Avoid cross-contamination by using separate equipment and utensils to prepare food. Staff must throw out stale food and food with foul odors to prevent food contamination. Enforcing Utah food handlers permit can help to maintain food safety and cut food wastage. Provide training to staff on food safety and ensure that they are well informed on food safety norms.
Avoid over-buying stock & Stock Inventorizing.
Restaurants should buy ingredients in quantities that they will use immediately or shortly. Sometimes, to earn more profits, the supplier offers tempting and better deals on bulk buy. In turn, this leads to unnecessary buying of food items. Moreover, the extra food may get spoiled in the storage, leading to food wastage based on the shelf life. It is thus imperative to avoid over-purchasing of food ingredients.
Food handlers should be well informed on the availability of food stock in the pantry.
It is often seen in various food setups that almost 21% of food gets wasted because of food spoilage.
Hence there should be proper tracking of the food stock coming in and used by the restaurant.
Recommendation: Keeping Your Restaurant Kitchen Clean and Up to Code
Proper temperature control is essential for food safety. One should check & assure that refrigerators, cold storage operate at the correct temperatures. It helps prevent food decay, spoilage, and waste due to mold and bacterial growth. It is advisable to follow and maintain the proper hygiene norms of the food storage units. One must make sure that the food storage areas are always neat and tidy.
Ensure to store high-risk food items on the lower shelves of freezers and cold storage. Likewise, store the low-risk food items on the upper shelves of the refrigerators. Ensure the food storage area is free of pests to prevent pest infestations.
Rotate Food Stocks
Follow the ‘FIFO’ rule – First In, First Out rule when storing and displaying food for sale. This principle ensures that the new stock is always behind the older stock. This practice enables the usage of older food items first. Implementing the FIFO rule eliminates any chances of food spoilage or food wastage.
Track Use By Dates
This is an essential lesson in the food certification course in Utah. Every packaged food comes with use by and best before dates. These dates imply the time or the specific date till which food is safe to consume. A list displaying food use by, best before, or expiry dates on the restaurant pantry should help the staff keep a check. It will enable kitchen workers to use them before the food gets stale and unsafe to use. One must check these dates while procuring food products for the pantry. This ensures only safe food is available for consumption and prevents food wastage.
Correct Food Labeling
Ensure to divide the food items into different containers to store them properly. Each container should have a label with complete information on the food product. It should have information on nutritional value, expiry dates, and allergy warnings. Labeling food containers prevents cross-contamination when you store them. This way, it’s easier to track food items with their respective product descriptions.
Inspect Food Deliveries
While receiving the stocks, ensure to receive only the items as per the requisition list. It is also recommended to cross verify and check all the food items. This exercise will allow you to reject food items with visible spoilage. Always reject foods that leak or have damaged packaging. Never accept any food with a strange color, smell, or food product stored at the wrong temperature.
Every year, tons of food gets wasted in restaurants while many people stay hungry. The restaurants should donate the leftover and unused food for the set of people who need it. Restaurant owners must ensure that the food they donate is fresh and safe to consume. Hence, restaurants should collaborate with local food banks. Food banks collect unused food from restaurants and food outlets daily. This way, leftover food reaches the right people rather than going to waste.
Restaurants adopt large batch cooking to save time, but at times it leads to food wastage. Restaurants should analyze their customer behavior and prepare food in the required quantity. This will ensure that all prepared food will get used before it gets stale. Also, restaurants must provide a made-to-order option for consumers to avoid wastage.
By following simple food safety norms, restaurants can prevent food from spoiling. Food handlers must develop guidelines for the pantry team to maintain food safety. Food safety procedures must be in place at different levels of food preparation, such as buying, storing, and cooking. It helps prevent cross-contamination and foodborne illnesses. Restaurants must follow state health guidelines for food wastage. Ensure that procedures must be in place in all food setups to reduce the risk of foodborne diseases.
Food is one of the basic requirements of man. As per the famous adage, “feed a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach him to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” Those working in the food industry manage to do both. They feed their family by preparing a meal for their customers. As long as the customers like the food, they will continue to give repeat business. Yet, running a successful food business comes with its own set of challenges. Since the customers trust you with their food, it is essential to uphold the trust by taking all precautions and serving contamination-free and safe-to-eat food that has been cooked properly to the correct internal temperature.
To ensure proper implementation, most state health departments have in place specific directives that require restaurant owners only to hire qualified employees. One of the qualifications that allow you to start working immediately is a Food handler’s certification. It acknowledges the holder of the certificate to be trained in different aspects of food handling. Right from the procurement of raw materials to catering the prepared food to the customers. As per Rule R392-103 of the Utah Administrative Code, anyone working in an establishment involved in food handling at any stage. Of its preparation directly or indirectly should obtain a valid food handler permit from an approved training provider or Food Education Center.
Thankfully, becoming qualified doesn’t require you to go to great lengths or face hardships, and it can be done in one week’s time approximately. However, before learning where you can apply for a permit. let’s understand what you will learn by undergoing a food handler’s training and other benefits of holding a food handler’s permit.
What will you learn from food handlers classes?
Different Foodborne Illnesses & Food Allergies
The food can be a complex symphony of chemistry and gastronomy. As a result, it is very easy to go wrong when it comes to food preparation and handling. So, someone in charge of handling food needs to be educated about the different hazards while handling food. The basics of different food-borne illnesses, along with the prime suspects (pathogens or chemical imbalance), is one of the basic topics covered in food handler’s training.
Allergens are another issue when it comes to food preparations. Different people develop allergic reactions to certain food items when coming in physical contact or ingesting them. The allergic reactions can be as mild as rashes or hives on skin to as severe as inflammation in the food pipe and asphyxiation. So, a breakdown of the different allergic food items com & mon signs of allergic reactions is provided to those attending the class.
One of the primary causes of foodborne illnesses is unhygienic practices such as improper food handling. Most health officials consider it an offense severe enough to close down a restaurant. So, the next thing someone taking the classes learns about is the proper handwashing and surrounding sanitization protocols to follow when working in a restaurant. Discussing the ‘to-do’s and ‘never-do’s when it comes to employee hygiene, equipment cleaning, keeping the kitchen & washing area clean is how you can sensitize people about sticking to cleanliness when working at a restaurant.
Additional precautions such as wearing gloves and hairnets (or touche Blanche, i.e., white hat) and how frequently one should wash their hands and in which situations before touching food is an important point covered in the class.
Most people mistake that once the food is prepared, nothing can go wrong from thereon. However, temperature plays an essential role in food chemistry, and the internal temperatures of specific food preparations are crucial. Any pathogens that contaminate the food thrive and multiply in a temperature range of 41 °F and 135 °F. So it is important to be careful about moving the food quickly through this temperature range. This is vital when thawing cooked food or keeping the prepared food in the holding area before refrigeration. The training attendees are informed about the final cooking temperatures of different cooked food items. The storage temperature for each food item (raw and prepared), and different things to keep in mind when thawing, cooling, or reheating prepared food.
Cross-contamination is another most common cause for most restaurants being closed by health officials. Failure to keep raw ingredients separate from cooked items or not practicing safe food preparation. And storage methods allows pathogens to transfer from one source to another and causes the food to be contaminated. Keeping unwashed and soiled plates open or near clean plates will attract pests, and everyone knows that pests are the #1 carriers of disease-causing pathogens. Attendants of food handling training classes are taught about cross-contaminations, everyday situations where cross-contamination is prone to occur, safe equipment & utensils cleaning, and the importance of storing different food items separately.
Benefits of a Food Handlers permit
As we mentioned earlier, the Utah Administrative Code mandates the employees of a restaurant. Or any other establishments serving food to be a holder of valid food handlers permit. To avail it, the individual needs to complete the above-mentioned food handlers training. And pass an exam related to it with at least 75% to be qualified. In addition to being eligible to work in a restaurant immediately, having a Utah food handler’s permit has other benefits as well.
- Food Safety: After course completion, you’ll start seeing food from a different perspective and be more responsible about it.
- Improve hygiene standards: Learning about the different ways our hands become contaminated will make you more hygiene-conscious (not germaphobe)
- Be more prepared: Learning about the various allergens and the reactions to each helps you become more prepared to tackle critical situations where someone has an allergic reaction.
With new pathogens and food-related techniques being discovered, the duration of a food handler’s permit validity is a maximum of 3 years. So, by periodically attending the course and renewing your permit, you remain up-to-date with all the food handling best practices.
Where to apply for a Utah Food Handlers Permit?
While most named restaurants and institutes run specialized academies. where you can undergo the food handling course and appear for the qualification examination. With the ongoing pandemic, undertaking a food handler course can be done from the comforts of your house. Certified training institutes such as Easy Food Handlers conduct online training sessions. Industry-leading experts provide all the information related to working in a restaurant and provide helpful tips in the form of a 75min instructional video. You can watch the video in multiple sessions and, once completed, appear for the exam within a week of course completion. On failing on the first attempt, you can appear two more times. On successfully passing, you can print the temporary food handlers permit and start working immediately. The folks at Easy Food Handlers manage all the registration and application for the permanent food handlers permit. At the local state authority, and it will be mailed to you within 30 days of passing the course.
Irrespective of how you opt for availing your food handlers permit, make sure that you get it from a state-recognized institute. As mentioned earlier, Easy Food Handlers can be pivotal for getting your food handlers permit effortlessly, and they are a State of Utah Department of Health approved certification provider.
Working in the food industry is just like driving a vehicle; it is exciting and comes with its challenges. Anyone can drive a vehicle, but you need a valid state-issued driving license that certifies you have enough knowledge to drive your vehicle in the U.S. The reason behind this mandate is that while driving a vehicle, you need to keep a note of all the traffic rules, and failure to do so can pose a threat to your health as well as others. On inspection, failure to show a valid driving license can attract hefty fines and impounding the vehicle.
Similarly, working in the food industry at any stage, right from production, procurement, processing of the ingredients to preparation or serving the food, care needs to be taken for contamination that can pose health risks. So, only certified professionals must work in the food industry, or those working in the food industry need to be a holder of a professional food handler permit. Failure to show a valid permit can attract hefty fines and the restaurant being closed out forever.
Since you landed here while searching for ways to get food handlers permit in Utah, we shall list them out.
What makes a food permit holder certified to handle food professionally?
While handling food professionally, it is very important to take care of the internal temperature, possible allergens, food chemistry and avoid contamination. Any slip-up can make the food toxic and lead to an epidemic. To avail food handler permit, the holder has to pass an examination that tests the knowledge about different aspects of handling food professionally. Only after scoring at least 75%, the permit provider can award the certificate on behalf of the state health authority. To avoid any kind of foul play, a copy of the permit is sent to the local health department where the food handler is employed.
Hence, a food handler permit is an indication that the holder has undergone the necessary training and is putting the knowledge about professional food handling into practice while working in a restaurant or any institute related to the food industry.
Recommended: How Do I Renew My Food Handlers Permit?
How can I get food handlers to permit in Utah?
The food handler permit can be easily availed before working in a restaurant. Many restaurants and institutes run their academy where you can attend a food handler course where they undergo training about:
- Handling food professionally
- Storing cooked and pre-cooked food safely.
- Being aware of different food-related allergies
- Importance of maintaining a contamination-free environment
On the completion of training, you need to appear for an examination that questions you on the topics learned in training. On passing, the institute issues a temporary permit that entitles you to start working from then on. The permanent permit is mailed to your address within 30 days of clearing the exam. Depending on the state you are applying from, the validity of the food handlers permit can vary from 3-4 years.
The limited validity of a food handlers permit is due to an ever-changing scenario where new types of pathogens and new methods of food safety are being discovered. It becomes important for the holder to remain up-to-date with the changes.
Where can I get a food handlers permit in Utah?
With the recent pandemic, new ways of getting your food handlers permit are available. You can register an account with Easy Food Handlers and attend online training sessions by industry leaders. In the 75 minute video, all the information regarding food preparation, serving, and handling food in a food service establishment is provided that you can watch in multiple sessions. At the completion of the video, you have three attempts to clear the exam within one week of watching the video. On passing with 75%, you can download and print your temporary food handlers permit while the permanent one is mailed to you.
With the following benefits, Easy Food Handlers is the best way to get your Utah Food handlers Permit:
- Experienced Training Instructor with a decade of experience in the Hospitality industry
- Real-life photos and examples
- Industry-related examples for easy understanding
- Get a temporary permit within 90 mins of watching the course
- Three attempts for exam clearing
- Accepted everywhere in Utah
Did you know the easiest way for germs and bacteria i.e. the pathogens to enter our bodies is via our hands?
We tend to touch endless things that are exposed to germs and bacteria throughout the day, transferring them onto our hands and eventually into our bodies. Once inside our bodies, these pathogens can cause major health problems for us as well as others. In fact, one of the easiest ways for COVID-SARS 19 is via our hands. As per the recommendation by CDC, to curb the spread of this virus, washing our hands and keeping them clean is the most effective method.
Even without the constant fear of the pandemic, you should periodically wash your hands before handling food and you shouldn’t do it just for the sake of washing. To kill the germs and bacteria and keep yourself safe, you are supposed to clean your hands thoroughly, as instructed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cleanliness and hygiene are critical to lead a healthy life. By maintaining hygiene, you not only keep yourself healthy but also help others to do the same.
If you are curious to understand how to wash your hands correctly, this is the article for you. Before we hop on the appropriate way of washing hands, let’s acquaint you with the most critical times when you should wash your hands, avoiding which can expose you to some dangerous germs and bacteria, thereby causing health issues.
When Should You Wash Your Hands?
There is no specific rule book or a strict schedule to wash your hands, you can do this whenever required. However, there are certain situations and conditions when you should never avoid washing hands, to prevent the spread of germs. To guide you on when to wash your hands here is a quick list to go through:
- Pre and post the food preparation process
- Before and after having your meals or eating anything.
- After returning from your work or outside.
- Before and after interacting with someone who is sick.
- Before and after dressing a cut, burn or wound
- After dusting and mopping around your house
- After using the washrooms
- Before touching or feeding a child
- If and when you cough or sneeze
- After touching any properties that are frequently exposed to the general public like doors, transportation, railing, walls, ATMs, shop counters, etc.
- After touching an animal or pet, as well as their food and waste
- After handling garbage.
Recommended: FOOD SAFETY ALERT
How to Wash Your Hands Properly?
Washing your hands proves to be extremely effective in forestalling the spread of microbes and germs. However, this might not work if you do not wash your hands properly. To kill the germs completely you need to wash both your wrist area and palm thoroughly with the help of soap and water. Merely having the right ingredients doesn’t prepare your food, you need to cook it according to the recipe. Similarly, just using soap and water could not guarantee germ-free hands, you need to follow the correct procedure to wash your hands. Here are the steps you can follow while washing your hands to keep yourself healthy and hygienic.
- Wet your hands with running clean water. The temperature of the water does not matter, it can be warm or cold as per your preference.
- After wetting your hands, turn off the tap. Take enough soap in your hand and rub your hands together to create lather. Make sure to cover all the different areas of the hands- the palm area, the backside of your hands, the wrist area, between the fingers as well as the nails.
- Microbes are present throughout the surface of the hand, so the entire hand should be scrubbed and lathered properly. Scrubbing and lathering your palms creates friction, which helps lift germs and dirt from the hands. It is estimated that to clean the hands properly, you need to scrub them for at least 20 seconds.
- After lathering your hands properly, rinse them well under running clean water. Make sure the lather and soap are completely removed from your hands. Having made up of chemicals, if the soap enters your body, might harm you as well.
- Finally, dry your hands using a tissue, clean towel, or simply air dry them, which also takes around 20-30 seconds. Once done, turn off the tap with the towel or tissue, or wash the tap before touching it.
The change begins with you!
If you want a healthy and germ-free environment, it starts right from you. By following a hygienic routine, you not only keep yourself healthy but also contribute to social wellness as well. Though everyone should maintain hygiene, if you are in professions like medical or food-handling it becomes more critical.
If you are a food handler, your food is reaching many people, hence, lack of hygiene at your end might affect the health of many others. Considering this handwashing is considered one of the most essential parts of food hygiene in the Utah Online Food Handler Course– which is designed to help the food handlers understand the nitty-gritty of food handling hygienically. After completing the course you are considered eligible to become an authentic food handler, for which Utah awards you with the Utah Food Handlers Permit and Utah Food Handlers Certificate. Similarly, medical courses also focus on hygiene in their courses.
So now that you know the importance of cleanliness and hygiene, never hurry while washing your hands, Stay Calm, Safe, and Healthy.