Top 10 Food Safety Challenges and Solutions for Convenience Stores

Top 10 Food-Safety Challenges for Convenience Stores and Automated Food Safety Solutions for Convenience Stores

Recently, gave a Top Ten list of the greatest challenges that C-Stores have in Food Safety. Below is their list, with our brief explanation of the hazard and options that businesses have for greater food safety.

The industry website determined these challenges based on assessments from the Charlotte, N.C. based company, Steritch, which provides food safety analysis for convenience stores, supermarkets and restaurants. Between January 2017 – July 2017, Steritch conducted assessments on more than 1,500 convenience stores.

Here is the website’s list:

1. Cold Holding – Are your foods kept at their proper temperatures? Do you know when coolers, refrigerators, grills, and pots are falling into the “Danger Zone”?
– Certainly, products like TempGuard provides Automated Food Safety Solutions for Convenience Stores, that can monitor, record and alert you of thermometer readings in each zone of your store can help insure proper food safety.
2. General Food Protection – How do customers come into contact with your food? Do you have sneeze guards? How to protect your food from the carelessness of potential customers?
– Careless customers can damage foods they choose not to purchase through such simple things as leaving cooler doors ajar, trying to unplug devices, blocking air vents, adding foreign objects to food areas. When the problem is temperature related, a product like TempGuard can alert you of a potential problem before food safety is compromised.
3. Off The Floor – If you are low on storage, never consider using the store’s floor as an option for even temporary storage. No inspector will ever accept that risk.
– Regardless how well you clean, floors harbor germs, viruses, and containments that pose a risk to your food safety. Food and floors should never connect. In real life there is no such thing as a “5 Second Rule”.
4. General Facility Cleanliness – Are your registers clean? Restrooms? You may think non-food areas do affect food safety, but they do.
– An unclean store will rarely have safe food. Even if all food areas are properly clean, there are still unacceptable risks in an unclean store.
5. Cleanliness of Non-Food Surfaces – What are your food handlers touching before they touch your food? How clean are your door handles?
– Steritch determines that unclean non-food surfaces actually posed the greatest threat based on how unclean they were yet their containments found themselves in the food.
6. Condition of Non-Food Contact Surfaces – Are there cracks in your walls? Are the ceiling tiles decaying? Is there shelving that is falling apart?
– These decaying and rotting areas can harbor pests, germs, and unhealthy containments. They can foster an atmosphere that can make your food unsafe.
7. Food Contact Surfaces – What is your food touching? What is touching your food? How are the areas where you prep your “Ready To Eat”?
– If there is risk in an unclean store, how much greater is the risk if the food prep areas are not properly cleaned. Not only food prep areas, but food storage surfaces also need to be properly cleaned, on a regular basis. While proper cool temperatures can impede the growth of bacteria, it is better to prevent bacteria on the container surfaces.
8. Surface Storage – The website used this term for the areas where the containers, i.e. cups, lids, hot dog trays, wax paper, etc are located and accessed by customers.
– Your food may be safe, properly heated and free of issues, but if it is placed in soup cup that a customer had dropped on the floor, your food is at risk. Often the area where customers assemble their hot dogs, coffees, sodas, and nachos can have unacceptable risks in food safety.
9. Exterior Garbage Storage – What does your dumpster look like? And the dumpster area that your employees walk in? Do flies land your employees when they throw out the trash?
– Even if you have worked to keep the food areas and the entire store clean, if your employees, and guests are walking through a filthy garbage area, you have unacceptable risk. Poor garbage areas also bred vermin, insects, and scavengers.
10. Pest Entry – The last item in the Top Ten regards guests you don’t want to come into your store. Pests. And we are not talking about the talkative, homeless, alcoholic.
– Does your store have a pro-active plan to address an insect and vermin problem? You cannot wait until pest become a problem to address them.

All of these risk factors to food safety are best addressed by being pro-active. Look for ways to prevent the problems before they become problems. Proper temperature monitoring, recording, and alerts are affective tools to insuring your store and your food is safe.