A Safe Buffet for Memorial Day
By: Zai Estabillo
Blogger / Food Enthusiast
Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching!
While many people are going for vacations, a greater
number of people will flock to their favorite buffet.
These spreads are great options for your establishment
to take advantage of the large number of people going
out during the holiday.
• However, if food is left out for long periods of
time, bacteria that cause food borne illness can
lead to headaches for you and your team.
• Practice food safety for your buffet setup with the following tips
from NSF International
Wash Your Hands
• Your first line of defense against bacteria is hand washing. Simple
and effective, it’s one of the best ways to do away with
germs, avoid getting sick, and avoid contaminating others.
Prepare and Cook Food
• Start with a clean kitchen. For safety and hygiene reasons, a clean
and sanitized kitchen is a must in the food service industry. Make
sure that food storage areas are safe from food hazards like molds.
• It is important to start with fresh and clean ingredients. Wash
vegetables to remove dirt and other contaminants. When
cooking, cook food to their safe temperatures.
Safe Food Storage
• Refrigerate or freeze perishables in 2 hours from cooking or
purchasing. If the heat outside is higher than 90°F, refrigerate
within an hour. Don’t leave food to thaw at room temperature,
instead use cold running water or the microwave.
• Food is not the only source of bacteria, where the food is stored
can cause foodborne illnesses as well. Clean out your refrigerator
and do not stuff your freezer full, let the cold air circulate.
Keep It Hot or Cold
• NSF states to “keep hot food in the oven (set at 200º to 250º F) or
cold food in the refrigerator until just before serving. If a hot dish
needs to be warmed, reheat it to at least 165ºF before serving.”
• Keep hot foods hot on the buffet table. Chafing dishes, slow
cookers and warming trays can be used. For cold foods, keep them
cold by nesting dishes in bowls of ice.
Avoid Cross Contamination
• Let food handlers wear gloves before handling food during setup.
Provide clean utensils and plates and make sure that dishes and
serving platters get replaced during refilling.
• Avoid leaving food at the buffet table for two hours. Dispose of
perishable food items that have been sitting for two hours or
more. You can try time-stamping dishes to keep track.
Training and Supervision
• As an establishment, you have a responsibility to your consumers
to provide them with healthy, tasty and safe food. Stress the
importance of food safety practices to your food handlers. Better
yet, enroll in food safety manager training to be better equipped
to handle food hazards.
Happy Memorial Day!
Have a great and safe buffet ahead. Don’t let foodborne illness ruin
the holiday. ..