Thursday, July 10, 2014

Implementing the Illinois Food Handlers Law.....Part II

We are well underway with complying with this new law. We have about 80% of our staff completing their Illinois Food Handlers Certificate and 100% in the process of completing their certification. At first we were told the deadline was July 1st and were rushing to comply. It was not until later we found out we had until the end of the year before we were fined. As of right now we don't even know what that fine will be or how it will be deducted from our tri-annual inspection scores. 

We are only the second state in the country to have this inflicted upon us (California was the first in 2012). Everyone in the building, by law, must have this certification, from the office staff to the laundry person to our janitors. I am sure legislators do not realize that in any normal restaurant, everyone in the building has some contact with food. The law states that training must include monitoring food temperatures, food borne illness, personal hygiene, food contamination prevention, cleaning and sanitizing equipment and utensils, and problems and solutions associated with temperature control, cross-contamination, housekeeping and maintenance. Any new employees must be certified within 30 days of starting employment. 

In all actuality it is the employee's responsibility to become certified. In the interest of keeping all of our wonderful crew, we tried to make it as simple and painless as possible. We had a website set up for us where our employees could log in and take the course. Most of our teenagers don't have credit cards, and several employees don't have email addresses. These are both required. So they end up taking the course on our computers. We paid for all of their classes. 

So far our experience has been mixed. I would be lying if I said it was useless. However almost everything that is in the training are things that we train and supervise every single day. Will it make food safer? In our case I doubt it. In other restaurants maybe. The course gives you lots of statistics and temperatures but if you don't practice it in the real world it means nothing. We take great pride in our inspection scores. If we don't get a 100% we take it heart, as we should.

Going forward, I also kind of wonder where they are going to draw the line. Will convenience stores have to comply? Movie theaters? How much time and effort is a 16 year old going to expend for a one day a week job? How much harder will this make it for us to find staff? I wonder what they have in store for us next? What is the next hoop we are going to have to jump through?

As with any government mandate the business never really pays for it, the customer does. Costs of doing business go up and guess what, it gets passed on to the consumer. 

No comments:

Post a Comment