Call for Transparency from Farm to Fork
Research reports that “In North America, almost two thirds of consumers cited fear of foodborne illness as the primary reason for wanting more information about their food source.”
Surveyed consumers said their top food safety concerns included restaurant kitchen and wait-staff hygiene. The good news is that 93% of food company decision-makers are planning to make increases to their investment in food monitoring technology. And this was before the pandemic arrived.
The “fork” end of the supply chain results in many more infections than the “farm”. This is well-documented in outbreak investigations and in CDC’s annual projections. Assessing the risk of food contamination along the continuum from farm to fork highlights the impact of the final food prep portion of the total risk. Restaurants have generally mastered the perils associated with temperature control while their handwashing remains out of control. This could well be the #1 risk as the CDC continues to advise the industry that handwashing is the single most effective way to prevent the transmission of disease.
Operators now have technology on their side. Handwashing can be measured, tracked, and reported by a variety of methods. These solutions splice handwashing into the flow of other controlled processes. The newly available data becomes the major motivator for staff compliance. HACCP principles multiply the benefits of investment in electronic handwashing monitoring.
Handwashing compliance data, reported by individuals or teams, can be displayed on monitors in staff areas. This simple objective technique saves supervisory time as the worker becomes the first person to be aware of any shortfalls and takes the corrective action as he or she recalls their onboarding commitment made to follow handwashing policy.
Handwashing compliance is especially relevant to operators looking to satisfy the Millennial’s and Gen Xer’s appetite for transparency. These two groups would likely not patronize restaurants registering compliance rates less than 50%, common in today’s non-monitored operations.