September is National Food Safety Month and a great time to make sure your food is being handled properly. Safely preparing food isn’t just important in personal kitchens and at restaurants, it extends to grocery shopping as well. National Food Safety Month was created in 1994 by the National Restaurant Association and serves to educate the public as well as highlight the steps restaurants take to ensure the safety for their customers.

Food safety has always been essential; however, it has become of greater importance in the public consciousness over the last few years. Restaurants have made considerable strides to keep their dining rooms clean and that same concern has extended to the kitchen. Simplified menus and reduced operational capacity have allowed many companies to rethink their kitchen design and develop more efficient and sanitary operations.

Beyond the location itself, restauranters must also ensure that their suppliers are following safe handling procedures. This process has become more complicated as supply chain shortages and inflation have forced many companies to switch vendors or rely on more providers than they are used to. Issues like the recent E. coli outbreak at Wendy’s are an important reminder of the role manufacturers play in food safety. Any disruption in the farm to table supply chain could result in foodborne illness accounting for 3,000 deaths per year. It is of the upmost importance that restaurants use reputable partners that will uphold their safety standards.

Grocery stores also play an important role in safety and awareness. Keeping everything at its proper temperature and placing raw food separately for ready-to-use meals makes all the difference. Supermarkets face many of the same challenges as restaurants when it comes to suppliers, and they must ensure that supply chain disruptions are not poisoning their food supply.

In many ways the operation changes brought about by the pandemic have made it easier to ensure that food is being properly handled at the restaurant level. However, supply chain disruption has made it more difficult for restaurants to ensure that proper handling has occurred. National Food Safety Month is the perfect opportunity to evaluate suppliers and guarantee that they are meeting necessary safety standards. CSG’s Foodservice Distributors & Wholesale Grocers PLUS database has the data to connect both vendors and restaurants to the businesses that keep their supplies moving.