Indiana Restaurant in Hot Water Over Kitchen Haircut
If you are around people who are old enough, do you ever get into one of those "well, back before we had the Internet and social media" discussions?
I do all the time, and it's fun. One of the reasons that type of conversation arose very recently involves all the folklore we used to hear about restaurants or just purchased food in general. I remember old (and untrue) stories about needles being found in cookies. That was from when I was in high school.
We've also ALL heard tales about what used to go on in restaurant kitchens. But without proof, there was no real reason to believe such outlandish nonsense. Today, however, the outlandish can come into sharp focus if someone with a fast enough finger and a mobile device is standing by.
Indiana Taco Bell Employee Caught Giving Another Employee a Haircut in the Kitchen
That's part of the predicament a Kokomo IN Taco Bell has found itself in after an employee--a shift manager--was photographed giving the general manager a haircut...in the kitchen.
The Kokomo Taco Bell was given 10 days to respond to the Howard County Health Department following its visit last Friday morning.
So what ARE the big no-nos in restaurant kitchens as far as health departments are concerned? I mean, we can all guess at the obvious, but what's official in the eyes of these state and local agencies? I felt it was a good question for ToastTab.com, an "all-in-one restaurant technology platform." And while admitting that every state and country have differing criteria, Toast Tab does highlight some general health code violations that are universally common.
Time and Temperature
Here, Toast Tab defers to the experts at the USDA who tell us the following:
Avoid the Danger Zone (temperatures between 40 F and 140 F) by refrigerating perishable food within two hours — one hour if it’s a hot day (above 90 F). Keep cold foods at an internal temperature of 40 F or below by nestling food in ice or keeping food in a cooler.
Toast Tab also recommends keeping temperature logs and checking thermometers two or three times a day.
Clearly, all foods should have their own storage containers, and Toast Tab even has a suggested order when stacking said containers. (You start at the top with raw veggies followed by cooked veggies, cooked meats, cooked seafood, raw seafood, raw beef, raw pork, and raw chicken.)
Toast Tab feels fairly confident about how restaurant kitchens handle this issue saying:
Most cooks and back-of-house staff are trained on tactics to avoid cross-contamination, such as switching out cutting boards, washing hands when going from handling meat to handling vegetables, and so on. But it’s the less obvious situations you have to keep an eye out for.
But the website DOES provide an example about handling raw hamburger you're about to grill and then grabbing the bun without thinking. You guessed it; the bun is now contaminated and must be discarded.
In sum, constantly and THOROUGHLY wash your hands and all the way up to the wrist. I'm not in food service, but this point was driven home when the COVID pandemic hit.
Chemical Usage & Storage
This is also pretty simple: Sanitize your surfaces to the nth degree, then keep those cleaning products away from the food.
Other Issues One Can Confront in the Kitchen
Toast Tab also makes mention of some less common but still important issues--mainly in reference to equipment--about which restaurant kitchens need to be diligent. They include maintenance of service ware, glassware, flatware, buckets, and gloves, to name a few.
But a haircut in the kitchen? That likely falls under "personal hygiene," and it just might make you wonder the next time you find a hair in your salad.
10 Things You Should Never Do in a Restaurant Kitchen
Gallery Credit: Dave Spencer