- According to the National Restaurant Association
- Almost half of all adults (46 percent) were restaurant patrons on a typical day during 1998
- Almost 50 billion meals are eaten in restaurants, schools, and work cafeterias each year On a typical day in 2000, the restaurant industry will post sales in excess of $1 billion.
- The restaurant industry employs 11 million people, making it the nation’s largest employer outside of government.
- The restaurant industry is an important employer of new workers, providing employment opportunities for persons who are relatively inexperienced or unskilled.
- Nearly three out of four quickservice (fast food) operators have recently hired an employee who was a former welfare recipient.
- Restaurant industry 2010 projections:
1. $577 billion in restaurant-industry sales
2. More than 1 million food establishments
3. 53 per cent of the food dollar will be spent away from home
- These are staggering statistics to say the least and some believe can be a logistics nightmare; especially when it comes to food safety. When asked to name what is the most significant challenge a restaurant operator is likely to face, most operators cite finding qualified and motivated employees. The same question asked of a patron elicits a response of "the quality of the food…is it good and is it safe"
- More and more Americans are becoming concerned with food safety.
- Here are some reasons why:
- Foodborne illness in the United States is a major cause of personal distress, preventable death, and avoidable economic burden.
- More than 250 foodborne diseases have been described.
- In 1994, the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology estimated 6.5 to 33 million people became ill from microorganisms in food.
- All persons, infants, elderly, and the immunocompromised are at greatest risk of serious illness and death.
- Overall incidence of reported outbreaks has not changed, but proportion caused by fruits and vegetables has been increasing.
- Resistance of foodborne pathogens to antimicrobial agents is increasing.
- The annual cost of foodborne illness in terms of pain and suffering, reduced productivity, and medical costs is estimated to be between $10 and $83 billion.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention foodborne outbreaks caused by mishandling of food usually occurred because of mishandling in the retail segment of the food industry. This includes restaurants, markets, schools, churches, camps institutions, and vending locations where ready-to-eat food is prepared and provided to the public for consumption (FDA food Code, Preface, i )
- The increase of Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, and Hepatitis A is a major concern to Health Officials.
- Now consider this:
- In LA County’s own words, the jurisdiction area of Environmental Health (the Health Dept) is very large.
- It includes Los Angeles County, its unincorporated areas, and 85 contract cities for a total population of over 12 million people and over 4,000 square miles, including San Clemente island and Santa Catalina island.
- And the county covers all this area with a total of 187 health inspectors.
- There is further need for concern when you consider LA County is the only local health agency that has instituted this grading program. The rest of the state of California is a hodge podge of programs from San Diego to Yreca.
- So what is the answer?
- There are many. But the simplest, with the greatest impact, that can be accomplished in the shortest period of time is ……TRAINING.
- Without passing a single new law or hiring any additional government inspectors, foodborne illness could be reduced substantially if food establishments made it a priority to train their people in the proper safe food handling and preparation procedures.
- There is no escape; no excuse. Food establishments must lead the way in the education and training of key personnel. The investment of time and money spent will result in a phenomenal return for everyone.
- To Schedule a class go to Food Safety Class