There's an old saying in the food business: It's better to find a whole roach in your food than a half a roach. Either way, it’s a big problem. While accidents happen, being diligent and monitoring the work area can help prevent foreign objects from entering food-prep and foodservice areas.
Here are a dozen items that can find their way into food and become the basis for a lawsuit if you’re not careful, and some suggestions on how to avoid that from happening.
Metal fragments. Toss old dull blades or gears from the can opener right away, and keep an extra set handy.
Buttons from kitchen uniforms. Order clothes with snaps and avoid the problem.
Rust/flaking paint. It may be a chip off an old mixer, so check aging equipment frequently.
Threads. If your towels are shredding, demand new ones from your laundry service.
Dirt/dust. Clean the tops of equipment, dust from air vents and accumulations under shelves. Toss mops and brooms that have seen better days and clean filters in ice machines.
Insects. Wash produce properly and close windows without fly protection.
Screws. Caution repair people to count their inventory of screws when making repairs. Staff must report missing screws in any kitchen equipment.
Glove tips. Use extreme care when chopping foods. Glove tips can be mistaken for something else, so this is a mistake you want to avoid. For the same price order blue gloves, which makes it much easier to spot when one falls into the sauce or food.
Staples/pins. Staples shouldn't be in the kitchen near open food. Pins that hold up kitchen orders fall out and bounce on the floor and into food. Use magnets instead.
Broken equipment. Replace old fryer baskets and strainers where wires can break and fall into the food. Replace handles on old tongs.
Metallic fragments. Replace aging scrub pads with 3M nylon pads.
Broken glass. Glass shards fly six to eight feet from the point of impact at the bar—meaning the ice and garnishes may be suspect. Require a broken glass report to investigate improper handling and to correct bad habits, and to make sure the area is properly cleaned.
Email me at [email protected] with any food safety questions or a topic you’d like me to write about. Or please post your comments below.