Food safety is important to most customers who dine out, according to research released by the National Restaurant Association. Its August survey of 1,015 American adults revealed that 96 percent said it's important to them to know that the restaurants they visit train employees in food safety. Also, 81 percent said they would be more likely to visit a restaurant that trains all its employees in proper food safety practices.
To highlight the importance of food safety and September as National Food Safety month, the NRA is holding its National Food Safety Month (NFSM) campaign this month with the theme "Be Safe, Don't Cross-Contaminate." Now in its 18th year, NFSM 2012 offers free resources for both foodservice industry professionals and home cooks at FoodSafetyMonth.com.
NFSM highlights components of the NRA's ServSafe Food Safety program – a source of food safety training and certification for restaurant and foodservice industry professionals that has issued more than 5 million certifications. Because ServSafe is developed by the NRA, proceeds go toward helping improve the foodservice industry through research and education, said Paul Hineman, executive vice president of the NRA.
"Our industry serves 130 million guests daily, making food safety training critical for restaurant employees," Hineman said. "But, practicing food safety at home is just as important, which is why we're also providing tips for home cooks through this year's campaign."
Discussing food safety at FCES
The training materials aren't the only way the NRA is gearing up for food safety education. William Weichelt, the NRA's director of ServSafe, will share his insight during the Food Safety panel at the Fast Casual Executive Summit Oct. 21-23 in San Diego.
"Food safety is a culture, and food safety training is the foundation of that culture; it starts from the top and works its way to the back and front of the house," Weichelt said. "When owners and operators place emphasis on food safety and implement good food safety practices every day, employees see that and adopt it as part of their routine. Employees buy into the concept and will continue to follow good practices because they see management following those same practices."
The panel will also include information and tips from FastCasual.com Blogger Betsy Craig on how to avoid cross contamination when it comes to consumers' specific dietary needs, such as gluten-free.
Read more about food safety.
Cherryh Butler has been a reporter and editor for nearly 15 years, writing on a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry to business and health and fitness news. Before joining Networld Media Group as managing editor of Food/Retail Publications, she was content specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City and has served as editor for several publications. She's also written for several daily newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine.