Progressive Grocer Independent

JUN 2016

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24 | Progressive Grocer Independent | June 2016 Food Safety Training As prepared foods programs in supermarkets grow, food safety training for staff is increasingly important. By Katie Martin E . coli, listeria, salmonella, FSMA. Tese are all words that can strike fear into the hearts of grocers, especially those with extensive food preparation operations. Most indepen- dent retailers can rest easy on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), as much of the legislation doesn't apply unless the company is self-distributing or operates a commissary. However, the Food Code standards do apply to all retailers and are updated every four years, most recently in 2013. Te Food Code is meant to protect consumers from unsafe or contaminat- ed foods, and as grocers prepare more foods in-house, the issue becomes Keep Food SAFE even more important. FDA estimates that about one in six Americans contract a foodborne illness annually, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. The Importance of Clean As more supermarkets ofer prepared foods made in-house, more consumers are watching their food being prepared in the supermarket. While waiting in line, customers can observe the food preparers' and servers' groom- ing, hygiene habits and food-handling procedures, as well as how clean the counters, slicers and showcases are. Good food safety training becomes vital in these departments, as it has an impact on the overall store. In the 2015 IDDBA-Supermarket Guru "High Stakes of Food Safety in Dairy, Deli, Bakery & Prepared Foods" Con- sumer Survey Report, 85 percent of consumers said they need to feel conf- dent that a deli/prepared food/bakery department takes food safety seriously for them to purchase products. While FDA sets the national Food Code standards, each tier of govern- ment, from state down to municipality, can add its own requirements. "Tere- fore, you have kind of a patchwork of regulations on those sanitation stan- dards for grocery stores," says Hilary Tesmar, PhD, RD, MPH, chief food and product safety ofcer and VP, food safety programs for Arlington, Va.- based Food Marketing Institute (FMI). It's up to the retailer to ensure that all afected employees are properly certifed. Independent retailers can contact national associations like FMI or state associations or their local health inspector to fnd out what regu- lations their municipality has added. Once grocers know who in the store needs training and certifcation, they have many sources they can turn to for that training.

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