Foodservice Prosperity Linked to Food Safety

Is Your Operation’s Water Quality What It Should Be?

Foodservice operations that compete successfully in today’s constantly changing marketplace know what their customers want and implement a plan of quality products and services to achieve it. 

Consumer demand for safe, quality drinking water, both at home and when dining out, has risen dramatically in the last few years.  So have levels of water-borne contaminants in our nation’s water supply, yet a great many foodservice operations are still taking water quality for granted.

Making Water Quality a Priority - Big-ticket items such as convection ovens, reach-in refrigerators and ranges are usually top of mind when foodservice operators review budgets and make long-term planning decisions.  Although considerably less expensive than other essential equipment, selecting high-performance water filtration equipment and supplies is often an afterthought.

The fact that properly filtered water has been proven to extend equipment life and significantly reduce maintenance calls doesn’t always convince an operator to buy the best system and filters available. 

Eliminating the possibility of serving contaminated water and food to your customers should be an operator’s Number One priority – the lost sales and negative public relations resulting from water – or food – borne parasite outbreak could put you out of business.

USA Today featured a Special Report on national water quality, which took an in-depth look at factors affecting water quality (new strains of microorganisms, frequent flooding, agricultural pesticides, industrial waste) and the problems and cost associated with replacing aging treatment facilities and residential water lines.  A close examination of federal & state records revealed that a number of municipalities are not adequately regulated, with infrequent enforcement of violations.

Later that month, an NBC-TV movie, “Thirst,” focused on a life and death race against time to control a deadly parasite that contaminated a southern California community’s municipal water supply.  In this case, art imitated life.  Milwaukee’s Crypto outbreak in April 1993 remains the worst in modern U.S. history, killing 111 people and leaving 403,000 other residents with life-threatening stomach distress, diarrhea and dehydration.

Promote Water & Food Safety

Now that consumers are convinced of the importance of safe drinking water and are purchasing point-of -use filtration systems for their homes, foodservice operators who want to build consumer loyalty and repeat business have no choice but to maintain the highest water quality standards.

For the past five years, Marriott Corp. has exclusively used Everpure water filtration systems and filters.  “We insist on doing a job correctly the first time, using products that are built well and guaranteed to perform,” says Don Grim, Executive Vice President, Corporate Quality Assurance. 

“The water filtration products we select must have NSF International certification for cyst removal.  Not only do our guests avoid exposure to contaminants, our maintenance engineers know that using the best filter and system means they’ll have fewer equipment breakdowns and easier cleanup.”

NSF certification for contaminant removal reduction is an independent standard of excellence that can be achieved by any water filtration system manufacturer.  However, a number of companies are currently manufacturing water filters to fit heads produced by competitors, which automatically voids NSF certification. Not only do you lose the quality of water that you have come to depend on, you also lose the manufacturer’s warranty and you are putting your customers at risk.

Try explaining to your customers that they were served contaminated beverages and food because of an internal decision to put profit over safety!

People whose immune systems have been weakened by AIDS/HIV, the elderly and small children may be a small portion of your customer base right now, but all of your customers, especially those who are vulnerable to certain microorganisms, are depending upon your operation’s equipment and sanitation practices to protect them from unsafe food & water.

Although some Crypto and E coli outbreaks can be traced directly to employee hygiene and food preparation/sanitation procedures, being vigilant in enforcing these regulations is only half of the safe water/food equation.

Water is Food

Coffee and tea are close to 100 percent water, Ice is 100 percent water.  Soups, sauces and most liquids have water as its main ingredient.  Ice is used in beverages and to cool foods.  Make no mistake, water is food.

Any water – ice, steam, coffee, post-mix – or food that customers come in contact with should be filtered by a process that has achieved NSF certification for removal of cysts (Standard 53).

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