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Top 10 Food Safety Excuses

Today I watched some shocking hand hygiene and glove use in a local café. When I discussed it with the business owner, I was amazed at how many of the standard food safety excuses came up.  I could almost number them off.

And that’s what I am now doing. Here is the list of top 10 food safety excuses:

"No one has ever had
food poisoning here before"

Food safety is a bit like playing Russian roulette. When you do it poorly, you are putting more bullets in the gun, and when you do it well you are removing bullets.

Just because you didn’t shoot yourself last time doesn’t mean you won’t next time, and adding extra bullets just increases the chance.  

"No one has ever
complained before"

Customers have a habit of avoiding conflict and just changing where they eat. It’s not until you have a major problem that you will find out about it, and it’s most likely to be in the public forum, not a private complaint.

 

"Everyone else
is doing it this way"

As my father used to say “if they jumped off a cliff, would you follow?”

We are talking about “standards” which means “minimum acceptable standard”, not “best practice” so why would you want to mimic someone who is below the acceptable standard?

"No-one's
perfect"

As my father used to say “if they jumped off a cliff, would you follow?”

We are talking about “standards” which means “minimum acceptable standard”, not “best practice” so why would you want to mimic someone who is below the acceptable standard?

"That's impossible."

What they really mean is “that’s inconvenient” or “that’s time consuming” or “not with my staff”. 

It’s possible. It’s just a question of how committed you are to the safety of your customers.

"I would have to go through
hundreds of gloves."

I hate gloves and will leave that for another rant. The simple solution is to go through no gloves.

But, yes, if you do use gloves then chances are you will need to go through hundreds of gloves. 

It’s a bit like saying “but if I wash my plates I will have to wash hundreds of plates”

"No one has ever had
food poisoning here before"

And then we loop back to this one. 

It seems like the only way some people will take food safety seriously is once they have killed a customer or two. 

"The food inspector never
complained about it."

Food inspectors have there own priorities and just because this aspect of food safety wasn’t part of it, doesn’t mean it should not be a priority for you.

And saying “you never complained about this before” is no defence when they slap you with a fine next time.

"I've never heard of that before."

This excuse doesn’t stand up in a court of law, and it shouldn’t stand up in a commercial kitchen. What I actually think it means is “unless you are a food inspector, I will choose to ignore you”.

"No one has ever had
food poisoning here before"

This may as well be the first and last in our top 10 because it pretty much is the first and last word on food safety for many restaurants and cafes.

So which one is your favourite excuse?

Did I miss one?

Have you had a conversation where they rattled off excuse after excuse?

Am I right about “no one has ever had food poisoning here before”?

We would love to hear your thoughts and comments. 

Next: "why haven't people been sick before?"

Since this is the really big excuse, I want to spend a bit of time looking at why we aren’t all dead yet. 

So click on the link below to read my theory on:

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