How the National Restaurant Association Promotes Food Safety
As part of this year's National Food Safety Month, the National Restaurant Association is working to highlight the way food items flow through a restaurant.
When you sit down at a restaurant, you expect your food to be prepared with care, but how often do you think about your meal before it is even cooked? The journey your food goes through before getting to your plate is long, and mistakes along the way can be harmful.
Luckily, this month is the 21st annual National Food Safety Month, a National Restaurant Association (NRA) event designed to educate food establishments on proper food handling, so that you can go home full of delicious food without a dollop of harmful bacteria.
“With our industry serving 130 million meals daily, food safety is always a top priority for the country’s 1 million restaurant and food service establishments,” Phil Kafarakis, the group’s chief innovation and member advancement officer, said in a news release. “Every September, we look forward to highlighting the industry’s commitment to food safety education.”
While last year’s program recapped its top 20 food safety tips in honor of its 20th anniversary, this year it is focusing on safe handling and storing of ingredients.
Through the program, restaurants can access free pamphlets and activities on five topics: receiving, storing, thawing and holding, preparing, and serving food to customers.
Each week, the effort focuses on one of the five categories with education tools, including videos.
NRA Product Manager Jay Lerdal says free access to information will help make sure restaurants are more mindful of their handling practices and learn newer and safer techniques. “The program really brings attention to what people in the industry do,” Lerdal said in comments to Associations Now.
The program materials, while created for restaurants, can also be helpful for home cooks. For example, a pamphlet on food thawing advises readers on the best way to safely defrost meat or vegetables.
“We really hope to highlight the focus on practices in the industry and make sure customers are safe and get a great meal,” Lerdal said.
This year’s National Food Safety Month is sponsored by SCA, the maker of Tork hygiene products, whose foodservice marketing director, Suzanne Cohen, noted in a news release that the event “helps to recognize the commitment to food safety in all areas of food service operations.”