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Brush Up On Basics for Food Safety Month

safe food

Although food safety should always be a top priority for your business, September is National Food Safety Month, a great time reinforce its importance with your employees. Brush up on these basic principles with your employees this month:

  • Temperature Monitoring – Maintenance of proper food temperatures is critical for preventing foodborne illnesses. Poultry should be cooked to 165° F, ground meats to 155° F, and seafood to 145° F. Instawares offers a variety of thermometers to monitor food temperatures while cooking and serving. Plus, from now through the end of the month, all Ecolab thermometers are 20% off.
  • Cross Contamination – Pathogens can easily be transferred from one surface or food to another during prep and storage. Avoiding bare hand contact with food and cleaning and sanitizing food-contact surfaces are good ways to prevent this from happening. Another easy way to avoid cross contamination when prepping food is using a produce wash like ProduceShield to guard against harmful organisms.
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing – Always clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces:
  1. After they are used
  2. Any time food handlers are interrupted during a task and the items being used may have been contaminated
  3. Before food handlers start working with a different type of food
  4. After four hours if items are in constant use

Following these simple steps goes a long way in preventing illnesses and can save you time and money.

Out with Cupcakes, In with…

Packnwood eco-friendly wooden macaron box holds 7 cookiesOn Jul. 7, the Manhattan-based chain of cupcake bake shops Crumbs surprised employees and customers alike by suddenly closing all of its locations due to financial difficulties.

News outlets and social media went berserk over the news, calling the cupcake trend officially “dead.” Fortunately, within the week, investors had stepped in to revive the cupcake and reopen Crumbs!

Are they just delaying the inevitable, though? The trend has been well on its way out since Jack Donaghy shared need-to-know information with a NYC tourist on an episode of 30 Rock in 2008, “Let’s see, we’re using credit cards in cabs now. All the galleries have moved to Chelsea, and we’re off cupcakes and back to doughnuts.”

We all know cupcakes will survive at bakeries, coffee shops, grocery stores, and mom’s kitchen for forever, but there will always be new trends. As cupcakes slowly bow out, one thing’s for sure; the macaron is emerging as a national trend!

They’re kind of fancy. They’re colorful. And when they’re traditionally made, they’re gluten free. They‘re also delicate and difficult to make, and that’s why they sell for $1.50 a pop. Or more!

For that price, they deserve very special packaging and Packnwood has an absolutely adorable, eco-friendly, unique macaron box made just for them! Customers will fawn over this box at least as much as the cookie (which means the cost of $2.53 can be easily passed on to them).

Don’t Eat This for a Week

Half-gallon bottles of Little Soya Soy Sauce

Little Soya Soy Sauce is gluten free and gets rave reviews from chefs everywhere.

Starting on Monday, avoid beer, bread, cake, candy, cereal, cookies, crackers, croutons, French fries, gravy, imitation meat, imitation seafood, matzo, oats, pasta, pies, processed luncheon meats, salad dressing, sauces, seasoned rice mixes, seasoned snack foods (potato chips, et al), self-basting poultry, soups and soup bases, and vegetables in sauce.

And don’t forget to stay away from anything else with made with barley (including malt), bulgur, durum flour, farina, graham flour, kamut, rye, semolina, spelt, triticale, wheat, wheat flour, or wheat gluten. Could you go cold turkey (no pun intended)?

The challenge has been set by the Celiac Disease Foundation as a fund raiser for National Celiac Disease Awareness Month, but it’s an interesting challenge for anyone who wants to see if they can do it.

Celiac disease is the primary medical reason a person goes wheat gluten free. The disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes a gamut of symptoms from iron deficient anemia, itchy skin and fatigue to abdominal bloating, pain, vomiting and other digestive un-pleasantries, plus dozens of other symptoms. Different patients can have different symptoms, or no symptoms at all, but the result of Celiac is the same:  damaged villi in the small intestine which results in poor nutrient absorption and possibly the development of other medical issues and auto immune disorders. It’s all caused by an immune system trigger against wheat. When a patient’s body goes into overdrive fighting off wheat, it fails to process and absorb nutrients from food (and causes all the symptoms above).

The foods listed on the avoidance list often contain some form of wheat gluten as a result of processing cross-contamination or use as an ingredient in everything from caramel coloring to lunch meats; that makes it very difficult to grocery shop and dine like most  Americans are used to. Food service businesses that understand the reasoning behind guest requests for gluten-free options immediately turn Celiac sufferers and their families into loyal customers for life.

Thanks to big growth in gluten-free food production, restaurants can now lean on quality ready-to-service products for their gluten-free guests. Celiac sufferers are grateful for gluten-free sandwich breads that taste good enough to eat, and for common ingredients like gluten free soy sauce, which makes Chinese foods (a very gluten-heavy diet because of sauces) friendly to both gluten avoiders and gluten eaters.