Category: Techniques & Tips

Don’t be responsible for a foodborne illness outbreak


Chipotle is in the news again. This time, it’s not another foodborne illness outbreak, but a criminal investigation! The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California with the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations is conducting the investigation, which pertains to a Norovirus outbreak in Simi Valley, CA last summer. Chipotle is currently battling the CDC, FDA, and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Their sales are tumbling, stock is plummeting, and lawsuits have been filed by customers who allegedly became ill from eating their food. This is not a good place to be, and it was all preventable.

According to CBS News, the DOJ opened an investigation into Blue Bell Creameries in December of 2015. The same unit that prosecuted Peanut Corporation of America executives is in charge of the inquiry. The Peanut Corporation of America was the first company in U.S. history to have executives criminally charged and convicted due to a foodborne illness outbreak. Both Stewart and Michael Parnell have been in custody, serving 28 and 20 years in prison, respectively.

You’re probably wondering, “What does this have to do with me and my dessert business?” Quite frankly, these situations are very significant to you and your livelihood.  Reputable pastry chefs, bakers, cake artists and chocolatiers use the freshest ingredients possible, giving them a distinct edge over the competition, and making their recipes taste so incredible. Some chefs even boast “organic”, “locally grown”, or “farm fresh” ingredients. While consumers are drawn to these buzz words, not one of them necessarily means safe, though consumers believe they do. Whatever ingredients you use – including locally grown or organic items – you MUST check out your suppliers thoroughly and carefully.

Here’s how to make certain you’re choosing reputable suppliers:

After the products are delivered to your facility, you still have a responsibility to maintain the safety of your products.  You must regularly ensure that the food and facilities you use meet all governmental regulations.  It’s also crucial to implement food safety programs and protocols.

Here are some tips from Food Safety Training Solutions, Inc. to keep your kitchen safe:

None of us want to be responsible for a foodborne illness and they are 100 percent preventable! Most foodborne illnesses are the result of carelessness on someone’s part. Don’t let it be yours.


Francine L. Shaw is President of Food Safety Training Solutions, Inc., which offers a robust roster of services, including food safety training, food safety auditing, food allergy training, responsible alcohol service training, writing HACCP plans and more. The Food Safety Training Solutions team has more than 100 combined years of industry experience in restaurants, casinos, and convenience stores. The company has helped numerous clients, including McDonald’s, Subway, Marriott, Domino’s, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America, Dairy Queen, and Omni Hotel and Resorts, prevent foodborne illnesses. Additionally, they work with restaurants of all sizes, schools, medical facilities, convenience stores, hotels and casinos.