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"Safety Third"

By Gil

"Safety third" was a pithy phrase that Mike Rowe used to make us laugh on the TV show, "Dirty Jobs". Food safety for our camp and retreat guests, however, is no laughing matter! As the Food Service Coordinator of Sunstream Retreat Center, my top priority is procuring, receiving, storing, preparing and serving a top quality product that has been safeguarded throughout the entire process.

Several other Sunstream staff and I recently completed our national ServSafe Manager Certification,

and I thought I would share some chilling facts (literally) about the cooler side of food service with you. From properly receiving refrigerated/frozen deliveries to correctly cooling leftovers to safely handling ice for our guests, we need to be intentional in our operating procedures to ensure our guests' well being.

  • Checking the temperatures of refrigerated products at the time of delivery, from precut lettuce salad to fresh ground beef, is our responsibility. All products that fall outside of safe cold-holding temperatures must be refused. Frozen foods should be just that, frozen, with no evidence of having been temperature-stressed before delivery.
  • Minimizing leftovers should always be the goal in our kitchens, but having a procedure in place for the safe handling of leftovers is vital. Cooling leftover foods needs to be monitored to make sure that cold-holding temperatures are achieved within the required time frame.
  • Ice machines need to be routinely emptied, cleaned and sanitized. Ideally, a scheduled maintenance/cleaning calendar should be implemented and followed. Ice scoops should be stored in a manner that allows them to drain while also protecting them from contamination. Our staffs need to be given proper training to keep the ice/ice bins on our property free from contaminates to guarantee our guests safety.

Monitoring potential food safety hazards and maintaining our equipment is job one in our operation, icing our commitment to the safety of our guests.

Christian Retreats Network /

Based at Lake Williamson / PO Box 620 / Carlinville, IL 62626