Mike’s Food Safety and Business Tips

I will be posting tips and tidbits I also share in my class. Also some information I don’t always have time to share. I hope this page ends up being informational and gives you any extra information that may help you in your Business. Most of the information I post here I have learned from the ServSafe Manager Text Book. I am an instructor teaching the information out of this book. You are always welcome to share your views on anything I post here.

7 Comments on “Mike’s Food Safety and Business Tips

  1. We all want Safe Food for our customers, So our number one thing should be Food Safety. Here is some simple information that will help clear up a lot of misconceptions out there what is allowed and what is not here are some links strait from the source. Remember you can always call MHRA or your local Health Dept. to find out if the company offering you your ServSafe class is Accredited or not. Below are Links that will help you know what is allowed and what is not. Your Health Inspector will always override anything you find here. Local Regulatory requirements can change State to State, City to City and Town to Town. So always check your local Regulatory requirements. One thing I always tell my class is Food Safety is more than just getting your ServSafe Certification, It is also Practicing Food Safety.

    Here is the link for the rules for food establishments for food safety for Mississippi. Remember your local Regulatory requirements supersede. It is considered conflict of interest for a supervision to administer exam to employee in Mississippi.

    Remember your Local Regulatory Authority overrides everything else. They are the ones who set the laws in place to protect you and your costumers. The one thing I will never stop emphasizing is WASH HANDS. That is one of our biggest defenses we have ageists food borne illness. If you ever have any questions please ask and we will be happy to respond to help you keep your name brand safe and your customers. If you need anyone certified in Manager or food handler let us know and we will be happy to get you set up for a class. We also will run Personal classes no extra charge in your home town all we ask is a min of 12 students enrolled. We do ask you to get your people enrolled preferably 1 month in advance to give them time to study. We do also take late enrollees as long as we have the spots in the class(if you have a late enrollee please call 601-325-1044).

    Michael Bauer
    ServSafe Instructor and Proctor
    Mike’s Food Safety Class, LLC

  2. Happy 4th of July,

    Today I will be discussing a few Food Safety Tips That can also help you out with your ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Examination.

    One of the most important things to remember is (this will answer so many possible questions that can come up during your ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Examination) the Temp. Danger zone is between 41 and 135. Lets look at that number a bit closer.

    First off 41 is safe and 135 is safe and the Temps in between are not safe. Keep in mind this is the bare minimum that is allowed to keep food safe. Also this is the information needed to know to pass the exam.

    Bacteria Will Grow when FATTOM conditions are meet. (I will cover FATTOM another day) The 2 conditions we have the most control over is Time and Temp.

    I have heard in my classes over and over. “I been cooking food this way for a long time for me and my family. My grandmother has been cooking this way as well she has been ok.” That is great your family has been eating food that way for a long time so have built up certain immunities( Remember not all pathogens you will have an immunity to. I ask “What about your customers that have not had a family line that has eaten food that way? Do they have the same immunities you have? The answer to that is NO they do not.”

    Ask yourself this have you ever eaten some where at a friends house and ever felt under the weather and they where just fine? The answer normally is yes, almost everyone has at one point and time. Remember we are handling food for everyone and we will never know what there immune system can handle. If you use food safety you not only protect your Customers you also protect your Name Brand. Food Safety is one of the major keys to running a successful food establishment. I use an analogy with my class it goes like this. Lets all of us get our deeds to our businesses. Lets then all go to the casino and find the roulette wheel. Now lets all pick one number only one number and put our deeds on that one number and SPIN THE WHEEL. How many people here are willing to do that. Remember this is everything you own if you lose you lose everything. The Answer to that is always 0 No one is ever willing to do that because it is just crazy.

    It only took one cook in a restaurant min wage cook to put this chain of 14 stores out of business. All the cook did was not WASH THERE HANDS after using the restroom. The cook spread a food born illness several people got sick and one small child died. Reputation is everything. If you think this can never happen to you and you believe you have nothing more to learn then know this.


    Know how to keep food safe and practice what you learn. First tip is knowing the temp danger zone. This will make your job easier to keep food outside that zone as much as possible or moving thru that zone as fast as possible.

    Temp danger zone between 41 and 135 keep food outside that zone as much as possible. Pathogens grow fast in that range. another good temp to remember is between 70-125 that is the zone pathogens grow the fastest. That zone is highly dangerous.

    Remember a lot of contaminated food that gets out is from food that was once considered safe. Once safe does not mean always safe. So take care with the food you handle. Reputation in this industry is everything. Everything I discuss about food safety can also be found in the 6th Ed. Manager ServSafe book.

    I teach this because I believe 100% in this and hope I can educate everyone to practice safe food.

    Michael Bauer
    ServSafe Instructor and Proctor
    Mike’s Food Safety Class, LLC

  3. Today we will cover some Management tips instead of food safety. My experience is to take stores that have been ran down to the ground by poor management and turn them around. The very first think I look at is Food safety and Quality of the food before doing any promoting. The reason for this is simple you do not want to promote and have people come in to bad food. You have just lost them from ever coming back. Remember this fact every customer is worth about $3000.00 a year in fast food if you are in a nicer Restaurant style that value is a lot higher.
    Once you get your food safety and Quality under control. I will then look at my Customer service. I find it amazing that we live in the south (home of southern hospitality) yet I have to say I have experienced the worst customer service here that any of the other states I have visited. I have visited all 48 states (Yes I know there are more than 48 states but those are the ones that you can drive to without leaving the USA.). My point is that leaves golden opportunities for any business to grow by just giving outstanding customer service.
    Once I have my food safety, Quality of food, and my Customer Service in line I have one more thing to finish before I will promote my store. My training of my staff (normally mostly new due to cleaning house) so they know how to run a clean well ran store. Bear in mind there a lot more little things that you have to do to get the store running smoothly this all can be done in the first month. Now I will start promoting the store. Starting with the local Business around my location. Coupons given to the local stores is a great way to promote (not freebees, you want to use BOGO Buy one get one free.). This is a great tool if used the correct way. Only give one BOGO item for that a month.
    What I have given you here is more of a generic outline there is a lot of fill in the blanks that have to be filled in during this process. You should start to see results in the first 3 months. The overall process will take 1 year. Remember this is not an overnight type of process but it works. As long as you do not throw it away if you don’t see the results you expect in one year. But after that you will see great results. To keep it going you have to stay on top of it all the time or have a good General Manager in place to keep it going.
    I hope some of these tips can help you out. Remember also to have a good crew means you have to give the same respect you expect to get. I will Discuss employee another day. Have a wonderful day. Bear in mind the info I give I give out of Personal experience.

    Michael Bauer
    ServSafe Instructor and Proctor
    Mike’s Food Safety Class, LLC

  4. Hello,
    Today I will talk a little about Employees. Employees are our foundation in any business. They are critical for food safety as well. Without employees we are stuck doing all the work ourselves. Have you ever Taken the order then Made the order and then Delivered the order all by yourself? Try only getting 5 customers at one time and doing that I promise it is imposable to give great customer service in the situation and keeping food safe. Yes you may have the customers understanding but that still is not the service people want. My point is everyone in a company has an important part to play. NO ONE JOB IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE OTHER. A manager that understands that can do great things for a company.

    Now there does have to be respect for the chain of command. If you are a manager out there that does not have the respect of your employees you have to ask yourself why? Do you need them to like you as a friend? NO you don’t. You do need to have their respect.

    This is how I do just that. When I first go into a store for the first time I don’t do a thing but control food safety and observe for one week. The reason why is simple. The first few days everyone will be on their best behavior to gage you to see what is allowed and what is not so as not to lose their jobs. I do not listen to gossip. I judge by actions. Watch the CCTV. Pop up at odd times. Give tasks and see if they are done. This tells you who the good employees are and who the ones that are riding the system. After the first week I have a good understanding of what I need to do next. Bye the way expect to put in 60-90 hours a week for the first month or 2 depending on how much work is needed. Now is when I have my first employee meeting all employees under me mandatory meeting. I let them know what I expect. Now here is where the respect comes in. I stand behind what I expect I also stand behind my management team that carries out what I expect. I weed out the ones making it miserable for the rest of the crew that is working hard. I treat my employees with respect that way they want to give respect in turn. I do what I can to make it a comfortable work environment as long as it does not interfere with the work. What I mean by this I may spend a little extra time on the schedule to help an employee out as long as I have coverage and it is fair across the board. We respect our employees but we don’t let them run over on us it is a fine line. A great manager will be able to balance that line. The more respect we have from our employees the more they respect what we need them to do. So if food safety is important to you it will be to them.

    Michael Bauer
    ServSafe Instructor and Proctor
    Mike’s food Safety Class, LLC

  5. Today I am going to talk about food safety. Today’s lesion is taken from the Manager ServSafe 6th Edu. Book. The topic will be FATTOM.

    There are 6 conditions bacteria needs to grow. This is where the acronym FATTOM comes from.
    F= Food, A=Acidity, T=Temperature, T=Time, O=Oxygen, M=Moisture.

    First we will go over Food. Most bacteria need nutrients to survive. TCS food supports the growth of bacteria better than other types of food. That is out of the book. Now we cannot stop eating right so that makes it hard for us to control that part. Now we do need to know that so we know what we need to protect our Food.

    Second is Acidity. Bacteria grows best in food that contains little or no acid. To best understand this I will explain the pH scale it ranges from 0 to 14. 0 is highly acidic and 13 is highly alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral. Again not one of the factors we have a lot of control over. Knowing about it can help us.

    Third is Temperature. The Temperature danger zone you need to remember between 41 deg. f-135 deg. F (Bacteria grows rapidly between this zone). You limit the growth of bacteria when you keep food at 41 or below and 135 and higher. It is also good to know that bacteria grows even more rapidly in the temperature between 70deg f and 125deg f. We do have control over this.

    Fourth is Time. Bacteria need time to grow. The more time bacteria spends in the temperature between 41 to 135 the more bacteria has a chance to grow to unsafe levels to make food unsafe. We do have control over this.

    Fifth is Oxygen. Oxygen is in the air we breathe. This limits us on the control we have over it. We may use ROP (Reduced Oxygen Packaging) methods to control this. Not all bacteria needs oxygen to grow. Some bacteria needs oxygen to grow, and some bacteria grow where there is no oxygen.

    Sixth and last condition is Moisture. The amount of moisture available in food is called water activity (aw). The aw scale ranges from 0 to 1. The higher the value, the more available moisture is in the food. Pure water is a value of 1.

    So the two conditions you have the most control over is Temperature and Time. Food Safety is the responsibility of everyone working in the store. Train your people even if they are not ServSafe Certified in food safety. And knowing this and practicing food safety can keep you off the news channel as the store that had the food borne illness outbreak. It only takes 2 people eating the same food with the same symptoms to be considered as an outbreak.

    Michael Bauer
    ServSafe Instructor and Proctor
    Mike’s Food Safety Class, LLC

  6. Let’s talk more about food safety. First I would love if anyone has any questions at all about anything I am discussing to post in the reply your questions, comments, or concerns.

    Let talk about Personal Hygiene.

    Personal Hygiene is a great tool in food safety. It is more than taking a shower every day. Washing your hand is part of it. Mississippi is a glove state meaning we are required to wear gloves when handling Ready to Eat foods.

    So I have gloves on, now I am safe and my food is safe because I have gloves on right? Wrong

    We take for granted we have gloves on so should we use gloves? Yes most defiantly we should.

    What we need to do is learn how to use them correctly. You may be thinking “Really, like I don’t know how to put a pair of gloves on”. To be honest a lot of people who think they do, do not know how to do it correctly. Then the ones who do know don’t care or are too lazy to do it correctly.

    Always Wash your hands before putting on gloves. Gloves do not replace hand washing. Grab the gloves buy the rim and pull them one. Make Shure your hands are dry. Do not touch anything with your gloved hands other than the ready to eat food. If you do take them off throw them away (single use gloves), and wash your hands and put a new pair on.

    Now washing your hands is simple it should talk over all to wash your hands 20 seconds. First you have to wet your hands and arms. Second you have to apply the soap. Third you have to scrub your hands and arms vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds. Fourth you have to Rinse your hands and arms. And fifth you need to dry your hands and arms with a single-use paper towel. Five simple steps.

    So Simple right? Ask yourself this how many times do you actually see it happen in your store? Be honest with yourself. If you are not doing this again you are Spinning The Wheel. Is that 20 seconds really to much time to protect your food? Your customer’s? You’re Business? Food Safety is important and Personal Hygiene is our main defense ageist Virus’s. Remember, Virus cannot be killed thru normal cooking temps.

    Michael Bauer
    ServSafe Instructor and Proctor
    Mike’s Food Safety Class, LLC

  7. Food Safety should always be on your mind. We have talked about a lot of things now let’s talk about the ways food can become contaminated.

    There are 3 main ways 1st Biological 2nd is Chemical and 3rd is Physical

    Let’s talk about the first Biological: Biological breaks down even more to four types of pathogens that can contaminate food and cause food-borne illness: Bacteria, Viruses, Parasites, and Fungi.

    Let’s start with Bacteria. It can be found almost everywhere. Bacteria cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. We already talked about FAT TOM are the six conditions bacteria needs to grow. Time and Temperature are what we have the most control to prevent them from growing.

    Next is Viruses. They are carried by Humans and animals. They also require a living host to grow. They do not grow in food so time and temp has no control over viruses. Remember they can be transferred through food and food can stay contaminated with viruses. You cannot destroyed by normal cooking temperatures. One of our best defenses is practicing good personal hygiene when handling food or any food contact surfaces.

    Next is Parasites. They require a host to live and reproduce. They are found in contaminated water. Knowing that should make it easy to figure out where else they are found. So Seafood could be a source, wild game, any food or produce that has had contaminated water used. Cooking food to the correct internal temperatures can kill them. So what do we do about fish served raw like sushi? Make sure the fish has been correctly frozen by the manufacturer. If they cannot give you the paperwork showing that reject the fish.

    Last is Fungi. Yeasts, Molds, and mushrooms. More can be found in the ServSafe Manager 6th Edition Book or in my class.

    Now the second is Chemical: this one is very simple think of any food service chemical (cleaners, sanitizers, polishes, machine lubricants, pesticides, deodorizers, hand lotions, hairsprays, etc.) that can get in any food or on any food contact surface. Including certain types of kitchenware and equipment for example: Items made from pewter, copper, zinc, and types of painted pottery.

    Now third is Physical: The easiest of all think of any solid item that can get into your food ( metal shavings from cans, wood, fingernails, staples, bandages, glass, jewelry, and dirt to name a few) Also any naturally occurring objects like pits in fruit and bones in food.

    Michael Bauer
    ServSafe Instructor and Proctor
    Mike’s Food Safety Class, LLC