Running a restaurant or food preparation business can be fun and rewarding as it is taxing. Just watch any of a myriad number of shows on the Food Network, and you can see how the business can be high in fun rewards if you are willing to put a great amount of work into it. It can definitely be lucrative, as the US Department of Agriculture reports that the average American spends 48 cents of every food dollar eating commercially prepared food! However, a fundamental part of running any food preparation business, which should come first before anything else, is restaurant food safety. This is important considering how one in six Americans suffer from illnesses caused by food per year.
Food and sanitation is no small matter. If you want proof that handling food and sanitation should be a paramount consideration, consider that seventy percent of food borne illnesses result from eating meals prepared outside the home. Also consider that some of these illnesses from food are really fun ones like botulism, a potentially fatal illness that causes your lungs to not work like you would want them to! Botulism incubates in improperly prepared canned foods, and some restaurants use home canning processes to prepare foods to sell to customers, so food and sanitation really need to go together if you are a restaurant owner or commercial food preparer. Not paying attention to food and sanitation practices can affect your bottom line, as the Economic Research Service of the USDA estimates that the cost of illnesses caused by the diarrhea inducing bacteria known as Campylobacter, the most frequently isolated cause of diarrhea from food, is $1.2 billion a year!
So what is a food preparation business owner to do about food and sanitation? The answer is simple. Most states offer some manner of food protection certificate to indicate that an establishment is following proper food and sanitation procedures. Usually this requires attending a food and hygiene course, and some places allow a food establishment owner to get a food handlers permit online. Regardless of how you get it, getting food and sanitation training as well as food safety certification is a must, and no food establishment owner should go without it!