Summit County awards seven establishments for excellent food safety standards | SummitDaily.com

Summit County awards seven establishments for excellent food safety standards

Food safety is often overlooked for the critical role it plays in our lives. Without regular inspections and rigorous standards, there would be very little trust in the restaurants and establishments we frequent when eating out. There is an added level of importance to food safety in a resort community, where mass food poisoning can scare away a lot of tourist money.

To recognize establishments that have maintained the highest food safety practices, and to encourage other businesses to do the same, Summit County government awards the cleanest eateries in the county with the Excellence in Food Safety award. This year, seven establishments received the award: Sunshine Café in Silverthorne, Chimayo Mexican Grill in Dillon, the Summit County Community and Senior Center, Taco Bell in Frisco, Arby's in Silverthorne, Kikka Sushi located inside the Whole Foods in Frisco, and Noodles & Company in Dillon.

"The criteria for the award establishes a very high standard," said Summit County Environmental Health manager Dan Hendershott. "Facilities that were recognized have worked very hard to earn this award, and we are proud of them. They're knocking it out of the park for food safety."

Restaurants, school kitchens and groceries with delis are eligible for the award, but not grocery stores or establishments with limited food service. Out of the 426 food establishments in the county, the seven listed above were the only ones to meet all of the criteria for the award.

First, they must not have had a single critical violation that could cause foodborne illness during their past two inspection periods. Only 49 of Summit's 426 establishments met this standard.

The most common health violation, Hendershott said, are "cold-handling" violations, where kitchen fridges are found to not properly maintain temperatures below 45 degrees. That is especially hard to maintain for large kitchens with 5 to 10 fridges that are constantly opened and closed. Other common critical violations are associated with poor hygienic practices, such as not properly washing hands before handling food.

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Second, the establishments must have not been the probable source of a single foodborne illness over the past year.

Finally, at least one member of the management team working in the kitchen must be trained and certified by ServSafe, a food and beverage safety certification program, within the past five years.

While a food safety award might not seem like the most glamorous achievement, Hendershott said that these establishments should be proud of all the effort they put in day-in, day out to maintain consistently high standards.

"It's one of the best days of the year for me to go out and honor these guys who are working so hard for food safety," Hendershott said.

To check out the food safety inspection reports on your favorite eatery, visit the county's portal for restaurant inspection report cards at Apps.SummitCountyCO.gov/RestaurantInspection.

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