Hygiene and Cleanliness

The recent killer hot dog headlines made by the American Academy of Pediatrics have made many eyebrows rise to the ceiling. The proposal from the learned baby doctors state that hot dogs should come with a warning label, some requiring language such as “choking on this hotdog may be hazardous to your child’s health”.

Many parents experience the dread of seeing their toddler having food go down the wrong pipe. That is why it is essential that parents and au pairs know how to do baby CPR, essentially whacking a toddler between the shoulder blades. Statistics though belie the danger, as food is one of the main culprits of choking cases for children below ten years of age. The main problem is that the cylindrical shape of hotdogs that are easy to lodge in a child’s throat leading to at least seventy-seven children deaths per year caused by choking on food in general.

Also stemming from the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is the re-engineering of the hotdog shape. This may be a long ways off as the hotdog shape has been revered for centuries so parents are advised not to leave a child alone when eating. There are also some ways you as a businessperson can do to help avoid children choking on your precious hotdogs.

The first way is to cut up the hotdogs into smaller chunks when serving customers that are below the age of four years of age. The sizes can be half an inch or less, this can prevent choking from occurring. Also when cooking food, you need to ensure they are soft especially for beans, vegetables and pasta.

If your business provides other kinds of food, then you need to be very wary of what you sell. These include peanuts, peanut butter, marshmallows, chewing gum, meat sticks and round candy. Children can easily choke on candy, peanut butter globs can also become a choking hazard. Hotdogs, because of their shape can lodge in their throats that can become very dangerous.

As a food concessionaire, you need to be very aware of the food you sell and how you serve it. Always be on the lookout for your young customers as they would be your base for now and for the future.

The Internet was recently flooded with a news item that hotdogs were recently the cause of the choking deaths of children. This caused an up roar, as hotdogs have always been favorite food fare for children. It has also become the centerpiece of many lawsuits that has affected business. In response, advisories have been included in hotdog packaging and since your business is primarily about hotdogs, here are some ways for you to help avoid injury and liability in the operation of your food concession stand.

Small Portions. When you serve your food items, it is best to have them cut up into small pieces. If you have to serve large items such as large hotdogs by the whole, it is best to provide your clients with plastic utensils and paper plates in order to cut up their food. Having cut up portions prevents choking to occur and having utensils available protects you from further liability in the long run.

Available Water. Another way to prevent choking on your food concession stand is to have potable water readily available. This is most especially important for those who purchase your hotdog fare without drinks. It is also important to up sell your drinks for your customers, not only to help famish their thirst but to provide adequate lubrication for their throats as the food passes through their esophagus.

Heimlich Training. This is most probably one of the most important measures that your business can provide to prevent choking deaths. One can engage the services of their local fire department or police authorities to provide Heimlich maneuver training for your employees. This would only take a couple of hours and it is sure to provide your company the necessary training for your clients as well as company’s well being.

While it may seem to be quite far-fetched, many deaths have been reported because of hotdog choking. As a responsible business owner, you need to be adequately prepared for this kind of situation in your business. These include cutting up your food preparations into small portions, having available water or liquid for your clients and having your staff trained for the Heimlich maneuver. These are adequate safeguards for your company and safer and better eating for your clients and customers.

Many businesses take great pains in complying with health regulations in the food cart business. In the health seminar provided by many local offices on the proper food handling techniques, there are certain rules that are set forth to make the food preparation process compliant with the legal requirements.

Do: Always use gloves when handling food. This is to avoid bare skin contact with the food. Unlike in restaurants where it is a climate-controlled environment, the food cart is out in the open. Thus, there is greater susceptibility for germs to attach to the skin and hands and be transferred to the food.

Don’t: When using gloves, avoid using one set of gloves when handling different kinds of ingredients. In doing this, you stand the chance of cross contaminating the food ingredients with germs or bacteria from other ingredients. For example, chemicals from lettuce or other greens would contaminate cheese or mayonnaise causing it to mold and spoil. So you need to use a different set of gloves for each ingredient when putting together the food.

Do: Wash your hands whenever you leave the food preparation area. This can be as simple as handing over cash at the register or receiving deliveries to your food cart. This is important as errant bacteria may come and contaminate the food particles. So it is important that the food cart employee understands the importance of washing up when not handling food or stops in the food preparation.

Don’t: Avoid shaking hands of others or touching body parts be it your own or others when on the clock. You will never know what the other person has touched before shaking your hand. They may carry some superbugs and even vigorous washing cannot remove them from your hands. Also, scratching, picking your nose or other body touching activities are definite no-nos for a food server. There may be some errant germs that may be transferred to the food and cause illness to your clients.

These simple do’s and don’ts are the basis taught in health seminars all throughout the country. In essence, they provide the proper use of gloves and the sanitary requirements in food handling. When you comply with these simple guidelines, you are sure to keep your food clean and keep your customers safe.

Cleanliness they say is next to godliness. This means being clean and keeping clean is one of the most admired and lauded virtues an individual can retain. This cleanliness is raised to an exponential level when it comes to the food cart business. Here are the reasons why cleanliness and cleaning is important in the food cart business.

Removing food particles. Each food preparation has its own set of ingredients making its unique flavor and presentation. When food particles from one preparation gets mixed with another’s, then the flavors become muted or mixed, making for bad taste and even bad effects in the stomach.

Keeping away germs. Since the food cart is outdoors and subject to the elements, the risk of bacteria and germs getting into the food goes higher. Thus cleaning the food surfaces and other implements needs to be regularly done to remove the build up of these undesirable elements. Often, using a washcloth to wipe the surfaces with water and antiseptic can do the trick so long as you keep the washcloth cleaned and rinsed.

Looking at spoilage. Keeping clean not only is about the surfaces but also the food itself. You need to see the expiry dates for the bread and other perishable items. You also need to be fully aware of temperatures for frozen foods and other heat susceptible items such as mayonnaise and other garnishes. Keeping clean is not just about antiseptics and anti bacterials; it is also about being a good manager of your supplies.

Weekly top to bottom clean up. The everyday clean up of surfaces is not enough when it comes to really cleaning your food cart. Each week, you need to do a top to bottom clean up of your food cart to remove the residue and build up of the past week’s business. You also can see the condition of your cart with this full dress down clean up. Not only it removes the dirt and oil from the nooks and crannies of your food cart, it also keeps your food cart in great pristine condition.

The adage remains true especially for the food cart business. A good clean cart is an effective marketing tool as well as makes your service nice and tasty. The basic cleaning technique of wiping surfaces of food particles is the first step in keeping your food and food cart clean. You also need to keep away germs and bacteria from your food by looking out for spoilage and residue build up. Finally, you need to do a weekly top to bottom clean up to ensure your food as well as your service is free and clean of bacteria. It is in keeping clean that one can become a success in the food cart business.