Food Safety Checklist by FDA: Reopen Retail Food Establishments Safely

4 MIN Read

Introduction 

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a crisis faced by the entirety of humanity together. Amidst such a situation looking after safety, hygiene and sanitization have become everyone’s topmost priority. In such a constrained situation, it becomes an ordeal for public places to function correctly. Over 110,000 food establishments in the US closed for business last year due to the pandemic. Now that these food establishments such as restaurants and eateries are ready for business, they have to remodel their service structure to keep in mind the safety protocols.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a regulatory agency in the US responsible for the maintenance and protection of public health, has come up with the best practices to help retail food establishments reopen during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This article discusses how people can reopen their restaurants safely by equipping themselves with the FDA’s food safety checklist.

Food Safety Checklist Issued by FDA 

FDA has provided a checklist for the safe reopening of previously closed food establishments or those that have been open with limited service because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This checklist addresses effective food safety practices for the food establishments to consider while reopening or restarting their operations. This checklist aids food businesses in protecting employee and public health as they reopen for business amidst the pandemic.

The FDA checklist given below helps in mitigating the health risks due to Covid-19 by ensuring cleanliness and promoting awareness for safety and sanitization:

  • Facility Operations: Facility operations revolve around managing avenues such as tools, people, processes, and assets essential for an institution to perform efficiently.
  • Water, Plumbing, and Ice: FDA recommends keeping a check on whether the plumbing in the restaurants prevents contamination of ice water supply or stored ice.
  • Food Contact and Non-food Contact Surfaces (clean, disinfect, sanitize): Keep a check on whether the food contact surfaces such as knives and cutting boards and non-food contact surfaces such as tabletops are regularly cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized.
  • Food Temperature Control: Hold food at a specific temperature to prevent the growth of bacteria or the formulation of toxins.
  • Product Inspection, Rotation: Remove expired products through constant inspection and rotation of shelves and storage.
  • Dishwashing Equipment: Restaurants should have proper dishwashing equipment to ensure cleanliness. They should further maintain good cleaning and sanitization of the dishwashing equipment itself.
  • Handwashing Stations: Restaurants should install a handwashing station as it is essential to maintain hygiene and sanitization in the current day crisis.
  • Employee Health/Screening: The FDA urges restaurants to do an employee health screening and check the customer’s temperature to ensure the person’s safety and the safety of everyone around them.
  • Social Distancing: FDA has released guidelines asking restaurants to adhere to the safety protocols by maintaining social distancing and urging customers to keep wearing masks.

Powering FDA Checklists with Video Analytics 

We have advocated safety and hygiene for as long as possible. With the release of the FDA guidelines for reopening restaurants and kitchens in the middle of a pandemic, we have made sure that our customers find our checklists as a helping hand to ensure adherence to the hygiene, sanitization, safety, and security guidelines. 

Discussed below are some of the checklists that we provide based on the safety guidelines issued by the FDA.  

Cleaning Checklist 

Following a cleaning checklist is extremely important in the food industry to prevent viruses and cross-contamination. A cleaning checklist assists businesses in following all cleaning and sanitization protocols. At Wobot, we ensure cleaning detection using video analytics to maintain hygiene and cleanliness levels. Our cleaning checklist includes mopping, wiping, and deep cleaning detection. Restaurants can also get a table disinfection alert as soon as their existing customers leave, giving them ample time to prepare the table for the next customer. 

Waste Management Checklist 

A waste management checklist helps conform to the processes of waste management, segregation, and disposal. Dustbins are one of the essential tools to maintain hygiene and sanitization in a place. It enables a workplace to have a basic expected level of cleanliness. However, what one often forgets is that there are specific ways even to use a dustbin. Leaving the dustbin lid open or keeping it in the wrong place may result in foul odor in the surrounding areas and the possibility of spreading infections. Restaurants can avoid such discrepancies by using video analytics to get real-time notifications about any violations to waste management rules.

Food Safety Checklist 

A food safety checklist is deemed mandatory by law in the food services business to ensure that food is stored, handled, segregated, and prepared appropriately. For example, different kinds of meat and drinks need to be stored differently. Also, the fridge and freezer door should not be left open to prevent the food inside the fridge from getting spoiled. At Wobot, we can provide you with the essential food safety use cases to ensure that such discrepancies become a thing of the past.  

Food Hygiene Checklist 

The food hygiene checklist comprises a list of procedures to be followed by organizations dealing with food to ensure that all processes are clean, hygienic, and sanitary. Improper handling of food items can lead to health concerns for a food business. By following this checklist, food-dealing companies can ensure PPE (aprons, gloves, hairnets, etc.) and handwash compliance. Our intuitive video analytics platform ensures that the workforce meets all safety and hygiene standards. 

Covid-19 Checklist 

Using a Covid-19 checklist is crucial to ensure that the health and safety checks required for the well-being of employees and the consumers are followed. With the help of our facemask, social distancing, and crowd control detection models, businesses can take corrective actions in real-time in case of any violations, thereby keeping their employees and customers safe. They can also use our technology to avoid overcrowding by detecting crowds and determining crowd strength to ensure proper deployment of employees in the critical areas and dynamically control customer flow in the restaurants.


Conclusion 

Safety and hygiene have always been one of the primary goals of food establishments. However, the advent of Covid-19 has made it even more mandatory to emphasize safety protocols. The FDA has guidelines to ensure that restaurants and eateries maintain the hygiene level and adhere to the safety protocols to help curb the spread of the virus. Video analytics plays a crucial role in making it easier for restaurants to keep an eye on every activity to ensure that they are on par with the guidelines. What would have otherwise taken a much longer time gets done faster while keeping efficiency in mind. 


About Wobot.ai 

With Wobot’s advanced video analytics, you can now efficiently manage and track processes, especially around crucial elements like food safety, food hygiene, employee well-being, and customer security, through our series of checklists. Our checklists are designed to keep in mind the FDA’s food safety checklist, essentially with intelligent video analytics

To use our product for your restaurants, click here