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Assisted Living Food Service Managers Learn About Food Recall Procedures

ROSEMONT, Ill., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Food service managers - especially those in the assisted living and healthcare industry - must be prepared to respond to the growing number of food recalls and to prevent food-borne illnesses from affecting their clients. To respond to this critical need, the Assisted Living Association of Alabama included a briefing on food recalls by Jorge Hernandez, senior vice president, food safety and quality assurance for U.S. Foodservice, at its 2009 Fall Conference, September 16-17 in Mobile, AL. U.S. Foodservice is a major food distributor to assisted living and healthcare facilities in Alabama and throughout the United States. The company works in partnership with its customers to provide safe food and help customers to follow best practices during food storage and preparation.

"The number of Class I food recalls in 2009 has already increased nearly ten-fold compared with all of 2006," Hernandez said. He explained that the FDA defines a Class I recall as a situation in which the food in question has a reasonable probability to cause serious adverse health consequences or death.

Hernandez explained that the number of Class I recalls has increased exponentially due to a number of factors including the fact that the number of available food items has more than doubled in the past decade; improved science is able to identify micro-organisms at a much lower level; the CDC can now trace food-borne illnesses faster and more accurately; and a higher level of consumer and regulatory awareness through increased media reporting of recalls and outbreaks.

"The good news for healthcare food service managers is that leading food distributors also have increased their ability to identify suspected products and communicate recall information to their customers," Hernandez said.

"In addition, managers must quickly determine if they have received recalled products and segregate these products in their storerooms and kitchens to prevent them from being prepared and served. Most important, persons who think they may have become ill from eating the recalled products must consult their health care providers immediately," he said.

Hernandez concluded that "when it comes to food safety, food service managers must look for a partnership with a supplier that is truly dedicated to the best food storage and handling practices, equipped to fulfill its responsibility in the food recall process and committed to providing service that goes beyond the plate."

About Jorge Hernandez

Jorge Hernandez is senior vice president, food safety and quality assurance for U. S. Foodservice. He is a sanitarian, a certified food safety instructor, a past FDA standardization officer and serves as a board member of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), Global G.A.P. Board, Quality Executives Board (QEB), and the Advocate Healthcare Philanthropic Board. He is also a member of the NRA's Quality Assurance Executives Study Group, the Global Food Safety Initiative's (GFSI) Technical Committee, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accreditation Committee, the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) Environmental Health Committee and the Conference for Food Protection (CFP). Jorge also served as a scientific member of the National Egg Board's Food Safety Advisory Panel and the International HACCP Alliance Board.

About U.S. Foodservice

U.S. Foodservice is one of the country's premier foodservice distributors, offering more than 43,000 national, private label and signature brand items and an array of services to its more than 250,000 customers across the country. The company proudly employs 26,000 associates in more than 60 locations nationwide who are poised to service their customers beyond their expectations. As an industry leader, with access to resources beyond the ordinary, U.S. Foodservice provides the finest quality food and related products to neighborhood restaurants, hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, hotels, government entities and other eating establishments. To find out how U.S. Foodservice can be Your partner beyond the plate(R), visit

SOURCE U.S. Foodservice
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