Let’s face it, here in the Caribbean we do things a bit different than the rest of the world. We are not so concerned about being on time, neither at the beginning of the workday nor at the conclusion of the fete. We do things the old fashion way, we learned from our elders, deep-rooted in traditions.
However, if we want to continue to compete with the world for tourism we have no choice other than to adapt and implement safety and sanitation standards. Sun and sand have long ben our draw, but lately the world has discovered our great food and the talents producing it. With that, we are adapting some of the cooking techniques and catering to the eating habits of our guests. One of these is eating undercooked meats and fish. Sushi is no longer tabu, and neither is pink pork.
With all these new cooking methods and the increasing importation of food items from other countries it becomes just as important to pay attention to safety and sanitation as it is to transform the food into masterpieces. We know that our employees must be properly trained in food handling beyond the simple handwashing rules.
We have done it our way for so long, accepting the island life, and we have been relatively safe. But what if? What if the fish has been out too long? What is ‘too long?’ Are eggs safe to eat? What is ‘safe?’ In past days, adopting our heritage and cooking food dry has saved the day. But now, what is safe cooking?
Additionally, food allergies are on the rise. If your staff is tasked with the preparation of guests’ meals and one should have a gluten allergy would they know how to react? Are you as an operator liable if something goes wrong?
chart from PBS
Investing in safety and sanitation courses, therefore, makes much sense. One lawsuit, one day of closure can not only financially ruin your business but also destroy your reputation. Just think of the mele that would follow.
An excellent way to mitigate something like this from happening is to adopt the ServSafe food managers certification offered through trained and certified instructors/proctors. Training classes are designed for the intermediate student and for the more advanced, with classes ranging from 4 hours for a refresher to the full 30 hours course. This certification is rapidly replacing the outdated HACCP training and accepted as the standard of food safety and sanitation.
It is vital that the Caribbean region keep up with global trends, standards, and regulations, both in front of house and back!