Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

SEP 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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36 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • SEPTEMBER 2018 as developments that enable operators to pass knowledge to employees in the work setting in real time. Keith agrees, noting that, while there's a long way to go before such technologies are ready for prime time in restaurants, "I could see a customized VR training program on how to set up, clean and maintain a walk-in cooler, for instance. You could do a virtual walk- through inside of the cooler to commu- nicate and demonstrate storage, tempera- ture taking and sanitation procedures. I really like that concept because it's hands- free and puts them right in the setting, virtually, during the training." In fact, wearable technology and AR solutions are starting to impact the foodservice industry. One application initially focused on tapping Google Glass for remotely conducting food- safety audits and inspections around the globe, and broader applications are emerging. The pilot program guided the foodservice man- ager through the operation during a food-safety audit. "Not only did it save the labor and expense of doing an in-person audit, but it actually became an advanced training exercise because it actively engaged the manager; he wasn't just along for the ride," adds Chestnut, who prior to joining NSF was Darden Restaurants' vice president of total quality and international director of product safety and quality. New developments in this area offer even greater potential. For example, a new training module for the food industry shows the potential to correct human behavior in real time. "Imagine, for example, an employee about to fill an order for a 10-inch pizza," Chestnut of- fers. "With wearable technology, if he or she starts to make the pizza without first putting gloves on, the system issues a stop alert and reminds them to put gloves on before it will let them go further. If he or she starts to use a 12-inch crust instead of 10-inch, it will stop them. It can tell them if they have their cheese evenly spread. If you look at all of the recalls and foodborne illness incidents, a large percent are caused by human error. We're still experi- menting and testing, but we feel that if we can bring technology to bear on human error it will be truly transforma- tional for the industry." ADVANCING TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY Science and new technologies may drive much of the positive change on the food-safety front, but regulation continues to play a role too. It has become a major motivator for opera- tors and manufacturers, alike, accord- ing to Hernandez. He feels FSMA, in particular, changes how the industry looks at food safety by putting much stronger focus on supply chain issues and accountability. "As an operator, you can no longer just plug in a standard program or approach to food safety that everyone uses," Hernandez says. "You really have to look at your own situation on a product-by-product basis — what you're buying, who you're buying it from, how it's processed, how it gets to you and how you use it in your specific facilities. You have to do the legwork. If the supplier can't verify that products have been handled or treated properly to kill pathogens, we need to be able to show regulators how we handle it and verify the kill step that we take on our own. It puts a lot more burden on us to think differently. We have to question everything and no longer can assume, for instance, that products we're buying from big brands must be OK." In the case of smaller suppliers, meeting new regulations sometimes means going the extra mile and work- ing with them to ensure compliance. THE FUTURE OF FOOD SAFETY At Cleveland-based Choolaah Indian BBQ, new tech- nologies come into play in both the back and front of the house, including automated handwashing units for customer use in all dining rooms. Photo courtesy of Choolaah Indian BBQ

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