Recently a very heated subject was broached on a mobile vendor forum. A member had lost points on an inspection for not having a procedure for vomit cleanup. The uninformed vendors jumped to his defense telling him the inspector was wrong, to talk to the inspector’s boss, just tell the inspector the vendors food doesn’t make people sick, they don’t have a policy, and NO ONE would tell them to clean that up. Then the discussion turned comical as people chimed in nonsense about bio-hazards and the health department COULD NOT FORCE a vendor to clean up something like that and they were opening themselves up to lawsuits. Only a couple sensible people added useful comments and links to state health department required procedures for such cleanup.
I would hope someone handling food and serving it the public would understand health codes, respect them and follow them. Sadly, the vast majority of people in mobile vending barely understand hand washing, let alone detailed health codes. It does not help when certain vendor “gurus” set up courses referring to health inspectors and city officials as stupid, lying fools out to stop you from making money. This overwhelming “us against them” mentality only serves to justify the dumb responses on forums. Bottom line - health inspectors, just like you, want to earn a living. Are some overzealous? Yes, as anyone is when they first start any new job or business. Do they mellow out over time? Again, Yes. As they learn the job, attend calibration training and mature as inspectors they become easier to deal with. Can they be wrong about a code interpretation? Yes, occasionally, as we all can be about codes, specs, regulations and laws. Are they out to get you? No, unless you have a history of poor sanitation scores and complaints, then deservedly so, YES. I would be out to get you, too. You have created more work, apparently don’t care about following codes for public safety and have caused problems by not knowing your own codes.
Who is correct in the above vomit cleanup discussion? Health Inspector, duh. In 2013 this was added to the FDA Code:
Amended Form 3-A, Food Establishment Inspection Report form, for consistency with changes made in the Supplement with the 2009 Food Code to add two new entries and renumber the subsequent items. This change added in a new item #2 Certified Food Protection Manager, renumbered existing #2-3 as new items #3-4; added in a new item #5 Procedures for responding to vomiting and diarrheal events, renumbered existing items #4-54 as new #6-56.
Also, this was added to all Food manager training beginning in 2014. Meaning every state that adopted the 2013 FDA Food Code requires a written procedure for both vomit and diarrhea. As of the end of 2016 these states use that very same code:
The 2013 Food Code is the most recent version adopted in 17 States: Alabama, Connecticut (one of two agencies), Delaware, Georgia (both agencies), Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi (both agencies), Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah (both agencies), and Virginia (both agencies)
This represents 34% of the US population under the 2013 Code BUT 100% of all food manager training since 2014 has sections or chapters on this clean up procedure. Depending on which test is taken at least one question could cover the procedure as well. The only vendors then that are excused from not knowing this either live in the other 33 states OR took the food manager certification prior to 2014. Since the certification is required at most every 5 years there should be no one left in the dark by the conclusion of 2018.
Here is a minimal procedure from GA:
Use this as an example for your written policy, there are commercial kits available for around $12 that your may need to purchase. Check with your state for their exact requirements and above all don’t follow the advice of an anonymous “expert” from a Facebook group.
If you have been reading this blog any length of time you know I hate internet marketing hype. If you know me personally I am one of “those people” that like facts to match implied results and words to actually be used as defined. Pretty much the antithesis of advertising in general. A recent Facebook group popped up hitting every anti-hype nerve I have.
Mercenary, school and concessions. Which word doesn’t belong? Schools and concessions describe maybe athletic events, or a course in food service. Hmmm, must be mercenary and the real definition is:
Perhaps someone, anyone, can explain the logic of naming a group after a gun toting, unethical person and then associate it with SCHOOLS and attempting to gain school concession contracts. Not real bright.
One picture on the group page shows a table with 13 stacks of money. Five stacks of 5-dollar bills, 7 stacks of 20-dollar bills and one that looks like a stack of 10’s. The piles are loosely stacked giving them an inflated height, so it is difficult to know exactly how much money is pictured. One cannot see the entire stack, so they could all actually be 1-dollar bills underneath. Since the definition of mercenary indicates the founder identifies with unethical practices who knows how much is really there. I will attempt to guess. I have been counting money for 40 years and never, ever stacked money is such a hap-hazard manner, let alone photograph and then post it on a public page. This only invites a thief and puts you and your business at risk. Getting back to the picture, the stacks should be all turned the same direction, straight and compressed. I’ll assume this is a photo-op to impress the viewer. (If you don’t understand why your bills must be faced email me, I’ll explain and maybe save you some embarrassment at the bank when you pass ‘accidently’ counterfeit bills in your deposit.)
The stacks of 5’s are in the foreground and appear to taller than the stacks of 20’s. I’ll assume the stacks are in a counted stack ready to be bundled. Generally, stacks are counted to 50 bills and banded. Thus the 5’s stacks should equal $250. The 20’s stacks appear shorter and could be banded in 25 count stacks for a total of $500. The ten stack is hard to see so I assume it is also a 25-count stack for $250 total. Thus, the picture shows, at minimum, a total of $5000 with this caption:
If you want money like this after a Friday night High School football game let me know! Our company can take 1 more client. We specialize in helping you get the contracts to High Schools and youth sporting parks!
My questions are:
How do you do this or even vend in the traditional sense without having to seek unethical assistance? Follow these steps (assuming you already have a viable food vending business):
Confused or unsure on how to get the contracts and be successful? Email me, I’ll help for free. I can take all the clients that need help, no pretend scarcity, ever.
Food cost for most vendors and restaurants is the single biggest expense their business has. Labor cost has been steadily climbing and comes close to matching food cost. These two components, if not controlled, will absolutely bankrupt a vendor even with high sales and great marketing. Every person touching any process of food production from receiving to delivery to your guests must understand food cost basics. Training spent in this area is almost as important as training spent on guest interactions.
Here are eight areas your training must include to have the best, most consistent food produced for your guests, at the most affordable cost to your business.
I have had a passion for helping people since an early age back in rural Kentucky. That passion grew into teaching and training managers and owners how to grow sales, increase profits, and retain guests. You’ll find a ton of information here about improving restaurant and food cart/trailer operations and profits. Got questions? Email me at Bill_Moore@live.com