Why Certify?



Overview

The Food Service and hospitality Industry exists to provide our guests with products and services that fill from the basic human to eat to the creation of lifelong memories.

We grace family tables in the home and in our establishments with food that nourishes the body and the soul.

We are there for people on the run, we share holidays and special occasions and are a daily part of individuals, friends, family and business lives. We care about the total experience.

We work hard to insure that all members of the public’s family, friend and business circle will have the same quality of service and experience whether they are in a wheel chair, have food allergies, intolerances, sensitivities or any other special considerations.

We as an industry demonstrate our care by providing access for individuals with special needs. Yet in the case of food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities we have done little to let the public know we understand their issues and have well trained staffs that follow established policies and procedures designed to protect them.

Spot Check’s Food Allergy Certification Program demonstrates to the public that we “WALK OUR TALK” when we say we care.


Laws & Regulations

FEDERAL PUBLIC LAW 108-282 August 2, 2004. Known as the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, passed by the U.S. Senate March 8, 2004 and passed by the House July 20, 2004

This Act studied the issue of food labeling and consumer protection as it pertains to all aspect of food handling. This included manufacturing through food establishments, restaurants, grocery store delicatessens, delicatessens, bakeries elementary school and secondary school cafeterias.

The Public Law provided a period (18 months were spent) to investigate food labeling and found that in 25% of their review sample food labels had food allergens that were either not “clearly labeled” or were not disclosed at all!

As a result, January 1, 2006 compliance to the Federal Law went from voluntary compliance to mandatory for manufactures. The Federal guidelines must be met by all manufactures by December 31, 2008.

Section 209 Food Allergens in the Food Code of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act deals with the food service industry.

This section states: “The Secretary (Secretary of Health and Human Services) shall consider guidelines and recommendations developed by the public and private entities for public and private food establishments for preparing allergen free foods in pursuing this revision.” This language has been interpreted by the “experts” to mean that if we as an industry do not demonstrate ”voluntary” compliance we will go the way of the manufacturing industry and be required to comply.

We must ask ourselves as an industry, if we want Washington D.C. and non-industry entities designing our programs!

Spot Check’s Food Allergy Safe Certification Program is designed, written and trained by industry professionals. The program includes all guidelines and recommendations made to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

We as an industry must show legislators that we can and will voluntarily comply or go by way of manufacturing and be required.

Either we show them we will or they will tell us we must!


Self Regulation & Compliance

The food industry has in relatively recent history been subject to strict Federal and State regulation. Few would disagree that these regulations have gone a long way to improve overall food safety.

No one from growers, food processors, manufactures, packagers, wholesale and retail grocers and the food and beverage industries want to experience unsafe and inconsistent food conditions of old.

Our understanding of food handling has greatly improved with the knowledge gained through medicine and science. We have continuously amended and implemented new policies and procedures accordingly. Many of us made these changes on our own as soon as we became aware of the need.

Food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities are the latest areas that the medical and scientific communities have made great strides in the recognition and understanding of the impact they have on the health and well being of humans. They have identified the causes of food reactions and have gone a long way to help us understand how we can make our environments as safe as possible for our guests.

The Federal Government recognizes these issues though the passage of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. An act that was once voluntary for the food manufacturing industry and through lack of compliance became mandatory.

Our part of the food industry is included in language within the act. Right now compliance and self regulation is voluntary but if we fail to act effectively it won’t be for long.

Spot Check’s National Allergy Safe Certification Program shows Federal and State authorities that not only do we have the ability to self regulate and comply but that we will!


Standardize Knowledge Base

When your staff is Food Allergy Safe Certified you know the depth of their knowledge of Food Allergy handling protocols, policies and procedures.

When your entire team is Food Allergy Safe Certified, you make each responsible and can hold each accountable for the proper handling of Food Allergy issues which ensures a standard knowledge base for all employees.

You are assured that every staff member who comes in contact with a guest or their food knows exactly what to do and how handle that guests Food Allergy issues and needs.

The more trained and certified staff you have the safer your guests and your business.

With all staff members trained and certified, you create an individual and team approach to food allergy safety. What one person may miss another trained individual will catch.

Food Allergy Safe Certification removes the excuses of old, such as: "No one ever told me", "I was unaware", "I thought that was so was so’s job or responsibility", "I didn’t know what to do" and the ever popular "How was I supposed to know that?"

When your staff is Food Allergy Safe Certified, you know they have been trained. You know the content of that training. You know they passed a test on that training to attain their certification. You know they " have been told", "they are aware", both you and they know "that it is their job and responsibility", you know "what they were taught and that they know what to do".

Food Allergy Safe Certified establishments insures those 45million food allergic, food sensitive and food intolerant individuals, along with their friends, families and business associates that you and your staff have a high understanding of their issues and the knowledge to prove to these guests we have been trained and can be trusted to safely handle their food issues.


Public Safety Commitment

As food providers we spend millions each year to insure public safety. Yet for more than 1 in 10 of our guests we can be an extremely dangerous environment.

Individuals with food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities are completely dependent on our ability to understand and accurately communicate their food issues. They are made vulnerable by how we prepare, store, purchase, transfer, package, handle, clean, order and deliver their food.

When we make mistakes due to lack of knowledge, policies, procedures or indifference they are either sick or dead.

For the over 30,000 reported individuals sickened and the over 200 people who die in a year and for all those who were sickened or killed that went unreported we have to do better! (Trauma and Emergency centers contacted indicate these cases are woefully under reported and as a result these numbers are in their estimation extremely low.)

Our industry is seeing increased law suits, insurance claims and public complaints. Our liability becomes greater as law makers, courts and the public demand we educate our staff and implement policies and procedures to safeguard our guests.

Every time the public learns of someone made sick or killed by our lack of knowledge and/or policies and procedures, we as an industry loose public trust. Along with the individuals and families that are damaged some irreparably, our reputations as owners, as business people, as corporate citizens, employees and as an industry are severely tarnished.

Spot Check’s Food Allergy Safe Certification program educates and helps you establish the policies and procedures necessary to insure public safety. We have the tools all you have to do is use them!

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