July is Deli Sandwich Month. If your restaurant serves deli sandwiches you can help customers celebrate.
However, it won’t be much of a celebration if your food makes your customers sick. Deli meats are a major source of LM (Listeria monocytogenes), the third leading cause of foodborne illness deaths. As a restaurant manager, you have it in your hands to make sure the food you serve is safe.
How can you do this? It starts with training your employees in safe food handling. As the manager in charge, you are responsible for your employees and making sure they have the necessary knowledge and the proper food safety training.
Here are some key tasks that you need to make sure all your employees are doing:
- Washing hands. Restaurant employees need to wash their hands frequently, especially those who are preparing food. They need to re-wash their hands whenever they re-enter the kitchen from taking a break, going to the bathroom or arriving at work. They should also wash their hands before putting on new gloves and before handling any meat, cheese, or pre-prepared food.
- Wearing disposable gloves. Each food handler needs to put on a new pair of disposable gloves after handling any meat or cheese.
- Cleaning the slicer. The FDA Food Code recommends that slicers are taken apart and cleaned every four hours. Make sure you have a written slicer-cleaning policy.
- Keeping the refrigerator cool. The refrigerator in which deli meats and ready-to-eat foods are kept needs to be kept at 41 degrees F or colder. Keep a written record of refrigerator temperatures.
- Monitoring food. If you pre-prepare foods, you need to make sure they are kept at the proper holding temperatures. Hot foods shouldn’t cool down below 135 degrees F. Keep cold sandwiches at temperatures of 41 degrees F or colder.
It’s a lot to keep track of, but that’s why it is good to make sure you have received proper food safety training and that you’ve trained your employees as well. The ServSafe program can put all the necessary tools in your hands to do that. If you haven’t already, take the ServSafe Manager program. Then offer the ServSafe Food Handler training to your employees.
With you as a knowledgeable and well-training manager, you can inspire your guests with confidence that you are serving safe food and invite them to celebrate Deli Sandwich Month with you and your establishment.