Hold the line

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Iâ€â„¢m feeling a bit vulnerable and edgy today. The morning didnâ€â„¢t start off that way. Returning to work after a weekâ€â„¢s flu-like illness, I armed myself with antibacterial wipes and avoided other hackers in the germ-charged environ of my hour-long bus commute.

I arrived at work, washed my hands (for the third time in two hours), and popped a mega vitamin. Confident in my new Howard Hughes-like germ offensive, I perused the daily headlines.

My Purell-fueled confidence deflated with the first news item I read. It reported yet another food contamination outbreak in recent weeks, this time from salmonella affecting fresh tomatoes served in restaurants. The outbreak sickened dozens of people in 21 states, according to an AP story. This report comes on the heels of an E. coli outbreak caused by tainted spinach from California.

What a crap shoot. You try and eat right, practice safe food handling at home, and yet you can still get zapped by these nasty and sometimes life-threatening bugs. For hotels and other commercial foodservice operators, itâ€â„¢s critical to protect trusting customers and workers alike. While you might not be able to control where all your ingredients are sourced, as a manager, you can reinforce safe food handling practices and personal sanitation. If you havenâ€â„¢t done so lately, consider putting together a refresher seminar for all foodservice employees. Post sanitation and safety issues prominently. At the very least, review your current operations carefully, question your suppliers and visit your kitchen more often, making any necessary improvements or corrections. Such measures just might hold the line on a costly and dangerous crisis.

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