August 29
It’s National Food Safety Month, and throughout September we’re sharing resources and information aimed at helping you improve your food safety practices.
This year’s theme is “The Future of Food Safety,” and we’re highlighting the ways the industry, and FDA regulations, have evolved. This week we’re writing about how you can execute key food safety practices, such as cleaning and sanitizing, within this ever-changing landscape.
Technology in the foodservice industry is changing rapidly and will continue to evolve. For example, restaurants have new ways of taking orders, and third-party food delivery services are gaining in popularity. Social media, online news, and reality TV have also made food safety grades, and food safety incidents, accessible to a much broader audience. Unless it’s about your great food or service, you don’t want to be the establishment that people are posting about.
Ordering Technology
New technologies make it possible for customers to order food through tablets (such as iPads) at tables, or self-serve kiosks. While these ordering systems are convenient for customers, they can quickly accumulate germs and bacteria.
If you use tablets or self-serve kiosks in your establishment, employees need to clean these surfaces frequently to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. Check manufacturer recommendations for proper cleaning for electronic devices, and share this article for more information on cleaning tips for tablets. 
Third-party Delivery
Technology has also driven an increase in online ordering and third-party delivery. Your customers may be enthusiastic about these services, but there are risks. Third-party services may not keep food at appropriate temperatures to avoid bacterial growth. There is also a chance of physical contamination from a dirty vehicle or from handling by a driver with dirty hands.
To keep food to be delivered safe, ensure it is prepared as close to delivery time as possible. Put foods in tightly sealed containers to avoid contamination. Work with third-party delivery services to limit the delivery range and stress the importance of timely food delivery.
Increased public awareness
Social media, online news platforms, and mobile-friendly news services mean more customers have access to information about foodborne illness outbreaks and supplier recalls than ever before. Even one incident of foodborne illness can spread to hundreds or thousands of viewers via social media – and that’s not the kind of publicity your establishment wants!
Social sharing and instantly accessible news platforms are new technologies to consider when implementing your food safety program. Ensuring your business keeps a sparkling reputation for cleanliness and healthy food will help you stay on the right side of these powerful technologies.
We’d like to thank Essity for sponsoring week #3 of National Food Safety Month. Technology is part of the future of food safety. Make sure you’re aware of the risks of using new technologies and third-party delivery services in your business. Pay attention to your food safety program, and you won’t give customers any foodborne illness stories to share on social media.
Download our “Consumers – Keep It Safe!” poster, and activity sheet to share with your employees.