How to Manage Food Safety Complaints

How to Manage Food Safety Complaints

One of the most feared scenarios for any restaurant must be an outbreak of food poisoning associated with its food. What do you do if there’s a case of food poisoning or contamination?

You need to act fast and that’s best done by having a comprehensive product trace and recall programme planned beforehand. We’ve provided a step-by-step overview of the process, which you can expand and customise to the needs of your restaurant and your country’s food safety rules.

  1. Upon receiving a food contamination complaint, secure the product or food in question and gather details about the customer and the meal transaction.
  2. Request for information from the customer, tracking all food eaten in 24 hours. Remember to be polite and concerned as you make the request.
  3. Provide assistance to your customer and if needed, bring him to a hospital.
  4. Recall the food from storage, the kitchen and even from the table, and freeze all operations in the kitchen until you trace the root of the problem, working backwards from serving to storage to solve the complaint.
  5. Form a crisis management team and assign a spokesperson to handle any query from the public or media.
  6. Focus on the problem, not minimising the damage. Many companies try to deflect the public relations problem and instead find it becoming worse the longer they hide from it.
  7. Once the problem is identified, correct it and find a way to prevent it from re-occurring.
  8. Have your media spokesperson inform the public and media of the problem and assure them that preventive measures have been taken to avoid future occurrences.
  9. Perform an audit of your processes and consider if there are any stages where food safety improvements can be implemented.

There are more than 3.2 billion cases of food poisoning in Southeast Asia*. The humidity and climate of our region makes it easy for pathogens to grow. Thus, we need to be on guard and have a plan of action to handle such accidents.

Fortunately, the majority of these accidents are easily avoidable as long as your employees handling, preparing and cooking food understand how to prevent good food from going bad.

Learn how contaminations occur and run through our checklist of preventive steps.

*Jones – Counting the global burden of foodborne disease, 2009

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