Gallins Foods Inc., based in Winston-Salem, N.C., has a supervisor ride with every driver once a month to make sure the driver is following all safety and sanitation procedures, noted John Fourqurean, president. The company follows the NAMA route driver certification guidelines, which Fourqurean has taught at state association seminars.
Gallins Foods includes a copy of the NAMA driver certificate in its sales proposals.
Cater Time Vending in Kansas City, Mo. has a person whose job it is to clean all the food machines, noted Gene Madden, route supervisor. Every food machine is thoroughly cleaned once a month in addition to the regular cleaning that the drivers do. In addition, supervisors visit food machines and check the temperatures.
First Choice Food & Beverage Solutions, a part of Viking Coca-Cola Bottling in St. Cloud, Minn., builds safe practices into its employee compensation program, noted Russ Ergen, company controller. Each month, supervisors inspect machines and fill out reports on their conditions. If a driver's reports are good, he or she can receive a monthly financial bonus.
Nor Cal Beverage Co. in N. Sacramento, Calif. removed all salads containing spinach after the outbreak, noted Tim Willbanks, vending director. The company, which gets its spinach from a foodservice distributor, did not receive any calls about the salads.
Like many vending operations, Nor Cal Beverage educates its customers about its safe practices when they first take on their business. Willbanks said this has sufficiently assured customers about food safety.
SCRUTINY REINFORCES NEED FOR TRAINING
The recent E. Coli outbreak hasn't affected the vending industry significantly in and of itself. However, the scrutiny has contributed to an atmosphere of concern that affects every sector of the food industry.
For many vending operators, the recent outbreak was a reminder of the need to brush up on safe handling practices.
Fortunately, there are a variety of education and training resources available to vending operators through trade organizations, educational institutions and public health agencies.
The scrutiny also makes operators aware of the need to maintain aggressive supervision of their employees, particularly those involved in food handling.