Bacteria Non Grata (Keeping Food Safe at Outdoor Events)

Corporate picnics, weddings, outdoor events and warm weather holiday celebrations all offer plenty of opportunities for your business to earn extra revenue. But higher summer temperatures call for additional care when it comes to keeping food safe for guests and clients. Learn how to prevent foodborne illness and follow these guidelines for food safety during transport and at your event.

Foodborne Illness and Symptoms

The last thing you want people to remember about an event you catered or provided food for is an episode of foodborne illness. Foodborne illness can occur when the temperature of food, condiments or drinks rise high enough in cold foods or low enough in hot foods for bacteria to grow. The temperature danger zone (TDZ) is 41-135° F. Elevated environmental temperatures allow bacteria to thrive and multiply even faster.

This type of illness can cause a wide variety of symptoms depending on the type of bacteria ingested.

Onset of symptoms can occur anytime from a few hours to a few weeks after consumption. Some common reported timelines for onset of the most populous bacteria are:

  • Botulism: 4-36 hours
  • e-Coli: 2-5 days
  • Listeria: 7-30 days
  • Salmonella: 8-12 hours
  • Staph: 30 minutes-8 hours

People with weakened immune systems such as infants and children, the elderly or those suffering from other medical conditions may experience more severe symptoms and even death.

Avoiding Bacterial Growth

Safe food handling for outdoor events is paramount for keeping food safe and free of bacteria. You may be familiar with the adage, “Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.” But when it comes to outdoor events, summertime weather makes it even more necessary to ensure all foods are kept at the correct temps. Temperatures during food transport need to be monitored carefully as well as maintaining food safety at the destination. To prevent contamination and steer clear of the TDZ, be sure to abide by the following guidelines.

  • When transporting food, use insulated containers.
  • Keep cold foods below 41°F (4°C).
  • Keep hot foods above 135° F (57°C).
  • When reheating hot foods, maintain an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for 15 seconds.
  • Never use the same ice in drinks that was used for keeping foods cold.
  • Create a barrier over foods and food service areas either under a tent or other structure to keep bugs, bacteria and wind from contaminating the area.
  • Remember to keep condiments under 41° (4°C) and keep containers or utensils sanitary.
  • Utilize a portable hand-washing station if sinks are not provided.

Solution for Cool Temperatures

Whether it’s during transport or at the event, the surfaces that come into contact with equipment, food, drinks and condiments should be safe and free from contaminants. One solution to keep foods safe below the TDZ is the Cambro gel-filled ColdFest® pan. Available in multiple sizes, the ColdFest® pan is perfect for keeping all types of foods chilled to the correct temperature. It can be used for direct food contact and is an excellent choice for condiments such as salsas, dressings, dips and creams. Each size is compatible for use with the Cambro food bar or buffet table and will make a great fit at any summertime celebration. Freeze it for 8 hours (turned upside down) before the event, add pre-chilled ingredients and you’ll be ready to keep everything out of the danger zone. Keep your clients and their guests safe and happy with equipment that keeps everything cool.

Originally posted on the Cambro blog 7/26/16

National Food Safety Month Wrap Up

Woolsey Associates is your partner in continuing safe food handling practices through your kitchen.

Safe preparation and service starts with your people. Proper training and procedural check-ups are vital to keeping your business on track with food safety.  Front of the house staff need just as much training as the back of the house as they are the last defense before food reaches your customer.

Transport food safely and securely with Vulcan holding and transport cabinets. Superior heat distribution keeps food at the proper temperature and delicious for serving. Structural components are 100% stainless steel, so you can plan on using this cabinet for years to come!

Cambro has everything you may need for safe transport to your service area. Storage pans and serving ware to all types of insulated food transport. Whether you have a few pans to transport or a whole dinner service, Cambro has the perfect size carrier or cart. Setting up a service station? Cambro has beverage dispensers, food and salad barseven portable beverage bars! Make a great impression and roll away the item away to a different area for use or storage.

Keeping your china clean and ready for service is an important part of the operational routine. Cambro’s closed dishrack system keeps dishes clean in storage after washing and ready for use. Load your racks on a dolly, complete with a cover and prevent any chance of kitchen critters, mop water, or dust from getting to your dishes. 

In the front of the house, American Metalcraft has catering items, catering innovations,   platters for all types of displays, and serving ware to match. Introduce featured menu items or update your atmosphere with new items from American Metalcraft.

Cadco offers counter top equipment and portable food and beverage carts to enhance all your innovative preparation techniques wherever it's convenient to you. Keep prepared foods hot or cold and ready to serve anywhere in your operation. 

And create a full service line with Altas Metal Industries!

Take the Final Quiz to be entered to win a storage prize package from our manufacturers.

Contact your Woolsey Associates rep today for more information, or Visit Food Safety Month.

National Food Safety Month – Week 4 Preparation

Woolsey Associates is your partner in continuing safe food handling practices through your kitchen.

Preparation happens in every area of the kitchen. Pull out your Cambro High Heat storage pans that you have been using for storage and use them for warming or holding. Coldfest pans are insulated round and square containers ideal for use on food bars and buffets. Always make sure dishes are clean when ready for use with the unique closed Cambro dishracks so you can store them with confidence. Catering off site? Take a CamKiosk hand sink cart along to encourage employee hygiene. 

One easy way for contamination to enter your kitchen is through ice usage. Don’t reuse ice that has been used to keep food cold first. Make ice from water that is safe for drinking. Always use clean and sanitized containers and scoops for storage and dispensing. Cambro sliding lid ice caddies are insulated and will not crack, dent, or break. A recessed well and drain shelf is included to keep ice out of water and for easier drainage. 

Whether you need to slice, dice, chop, or wedge, Edlund has the tool for you! Slice any vegetable, even a full head of lettuce on the ARC standard or XL. Anything that fits can be sliced! A customer can taste the difference between an in-house sliced or wedged French fry and a purchased one. Why not cut all your fries in house with the Titan Max Cut and save on food cost! Safety is important to Edlund. They have engineered these slicers in such a way that the employee never has to come in contact with the sharp edges of the slicer. Edlund also knows that you need to easily clean all of these items. No problem, they’ll go through the dishwasher! See the rest of the kitchen prep line here.

Waring XPREP blenders have the strongest motor in its class. Use this blender to bust through even the toughest ingredients in the prep kitchen.  Waring’s standard in quality extends to immersion blenders, juicers, vacuum sealing systems and induction burners and much more, for all types of recipes.

Cadco countertop convection ovens are perfect for specialty menus and small batch baking. View them in action here.

Vulcan cooking equipment covers all types of cooking, from ranges to steamers to kettle to fryers to ovens, etc. View them all here. Focused on innovation, Vulcan has most recently announced the simple to use Combi oven and low water steamer. Innovations in user experience as well as in energy and efficiency are top priorities, we’ll help you compare to your existing equipment.

Don’t overlook quality kitchen matting for the safety of all of your staff as they prep, fry, steam, and deliver food as well as your guests in the front of the house. Choose Apex anti-fatigue matting, heavy duty matting for grease and oil protection, carpet entrance matting, and even custom logo matting. Keep cross contamination out of your kitchen with Apex color-coded cutting boards. Keep your staffinvested in food safety and prep running smoothly. 

For larger operations, Hobart offers slicers, mixers, grinders, food processors and more! 
Clean it all up with Hobart dishwashers. Hobart’s reputation in under counters, door type machines, glass washers, conveyors, and the flight type machine assures your operation of a quality dishwasher for years to come. Proper washing and care for prep items is key to keeping your kitchen running smoothly.

Take the Week 4 Preparation Quiz to be entered to win a storage prize package from our manufacturers.

Contact your Woolsey Associates rep today for more information, or Visit Food Safety Month.

National Food Safety Month – Week 3 Thawing and Holding

Woolsey Associates is your partner in continuing safe food handling practices through your kitchen.

Proper methods for thawing include refrigeration, cool running water, microwave if cooking immediately after, and as part of the cooking process.

Traulsen refrigeration offers energy efficiency in refrigerators, freezers, prep tables, and even blast chillers. Choose the right refrigerator for your kitchen.

T&S Brass has faucets and other products for every operation from foodservice to hospitality to healthcare. They will even create or adapt a product directly for your needs when possible, with the highest possible quality and service. Choose your operation type and view available products here. 

Waring Commercial has many counter top units for foodservice, especially featuring their new microwaves. The sturdy stainless steel ovens come in two sizes with programmable settings and flexibility to save time and energy. 

Cambro offers many solutions for this phase of the process. Drain and thaw food properly with Cambro colanders and drain shelves. Liquids drain directly into the pans below, ideal for storing and defrosting seafood and meats. Keep food covered and temperatures maintained with a food or salad bar to protect food from contaminants.

Temperature. Temperature. Temperature. Always remember to keep on top of your temperature management with Cooper Atkins Accurate for Life, HACCP Management, and NotifEye Systems. Check food temperatures every 4 hours and toss foods that are not under 41 degrees F or above 135 degrees F. 

All part of the Vulcan umbrella, Wittco, Crimsco and Vulcan, have combined to make exceptional cabinets and warmers. Many are energy start qualified and are all designed to keep foods at the proper temperatures while remaining delicious. Vulcan also offers every type of device used for cooking you could need, from ranges to fryers to combi ovens to steamers, their equipment is built to last. 

Take the Week 3 Thawing & Storage Quiz to be entered to win a storage prize package from our manufacturers.

Contact your Woolsey Associates rep today for more information, or Visit Food Safety Month.