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Cross-Contact vs. Cross-Contamination: Clearing Up Confusion

There are many people who have food allergies that range from sensitivity to life-threatening, which is why hotel food safety is so important.

While it can be fairly easy for people with food allergies to make necessary adjustments when they are at home, traveling can bring a number of difficult issues to the forefront.

Hotel dining presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to ensuring the safety and well-being of guests with dietary restrictions. 

In this blog, we’ll walk you through the critical topic of food safety at hotel restaurants. We’ll explore the best practices for preventing cross-contamination and cross-contact, how you can accommodate dietary needs and provide a worry-free dining experience for travelers with food allergies and sensitivities.

Differences Between Cross-Contact and Cross-Contamination

Cross-contact and cross-contamination are both food safety concerns, but they have distinct differences:

Cross-contact is primarily a concern for individuals with food allergies or intolerances. It involves the transfer of allergenic proteins from one food to another, causing an adverse reaction in sensitive individuals. This can happen when a surface, utensil, or equipment previously in contact with an allergen is used without proper cleaning to prepare other foods.

Cross-contamination occurs when harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria, are transferred from one contaminated surface or food to another, potentially leading to foodborne illnesses. This can happen through direct contact, like using the same cutting board for raw meat and vegetables, or indirect contact, such as through contaminated utensils or hands.

Examples of Cross-Contact (Food Allergens)

  1. Peanut Allergy: Using a knife to spread peanut butter on bread and then using the same knife to spread regular butter on a different piece of bread, potentially leaving peanut residue on the butter. This could be harmful to someone with a peanut allergy.
  2. Gluten Sensitivity: Toasting regular bread in a toaster and then toasting gluten-free bread in the same toaster without cleaning the crumbs, leading to gluten cross-contact for someone with celiac disease.
  3. Shellfish Allergy: Grilling shrimp on a barbecue and then grilling vegetables on the same grill without proper cleaning, potentially transferring shellfish proteins to the vegetables.
  4. Nut Allergy: Chopping nuts on a cutting board and then using the same board and knife to cut vegetables without thorough cleaning, resulting in nut residue on the vegetables.

Examples of Cross-Contamination (Pathogens)

  1. Raw Meat and Vegetables: Chopping raw chicken on a cutting board and then cutting vegetables on the same surface without washing it, potentially transferring harmful bacteria like Salmonella to the vegetables.
  2. Hand Contamination: Touching raw eggs and then handling ready-to-eat foods, such as a sandwich, without proper handwashing can spread pathogens like E. coli.
  3. Sponge or Dishcloth: Using a sponge or dishcloth that has been in contact with raw meat juices to wipe down kitchen surfaces, which can transfer bacteria and lead to cross-contamination.
  4. Refrigerator: Storing raw meat above ready-to-eat foods in the refrigerator, causing meat juices to drip and contaminate the foods below.
  5. Inadequate Cleaning: Failing to clean and sanitize kitchen tools and equipment between uses, allowing bacteria to persist and cross-contaminate food.

Remember that both cross-contact and cross-contamination can have serious health implications. It’s essential to maintain good food safety practices in the kitchen and food service settings to prevent the unintentional transfer of allergens and pathogens.

Differences Between Food Sensitivity and Food Allergies

As a hotel operator, you want to be sure to provide food that is safe for all your guests to eat. It’s important to understand the difference between allergies that cause a person to be more sensitive to certain types of food and allergies that can cause life-threatening reactions.

Food sensitivity and food allergies are two distinct conditions. The main difference lies in the body’s immune response and the severity of the reactions.

Food allergies typically involve the immune system and can lead to immediate, severe, and potentially life-threatening reactions. Food sensitivities are generally milder and related to difficulties in digesting or processing certain foods.

Food Sensitivity:

  • Food sensitivity, also known as food intolerance, does not involve the immune system’s response but rather a difficulty in digesting or processing certain components of food.
  • Symptoms of food sensitivity are generally milder and may include digestive discomfort, headaches, or fatigue.
  • Food sensitivities are often dose-dependent, meaning that consuming a small amount of the problematic food may not trigger a reaction.
  • Food sensitivity is diagnosed through observation and dietary changes, and in some cases, medical testing.

Food Allergy:

  • A food allergy is an immune system reaction to specific proteins in a particular food.
  • It typically involves an immediate, often severe, and potentially life-threatening reaction.
  • Common symptoms can include hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.
  • Food allergies are diagnosed through medical tests, like skin prick tests and blood tests.

Examples of Food Sensitivity (Intolerances)

  1. Lactose Intolerance: People with lactose intolerance have difficulty digesting lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products. Symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  2. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: Individuals with this condition experience gastrointestinal discomfort and other symptoms after consuming gluten-containing foods, but it is not an autoimmune response like celiac disease.
  3. MSG Sensitivity: Some individuals may experience headaches, sweating, and palpitations after consuming foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), a common food additive.
  4. Sulfite Sensitivity: Sulfites are preservatives used in some foods and beverages. Sensitivity to sulfites can lead to symptoms like breathing difficulties, skin reactions, and digestive issues.
  5. Histamine Intolerance: Histamine-rich foods can trigger symptoms such as headaches, hives, and digestive discomfort in people with histamine intolerance.
  6. FODMAP Sensitivity: Some people are sensitive to specific types of carbohydrates known as FODMAPs, found in various foods. Consumption of FODMAPs can lead to digestive problems and discomfort.

Examples of Food Allergies

  1. Peanut Allergy: This is one of the most common and severe food allergies. Even a tiny amount of peanuts can trigger a severe allergic reaction, including hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.
  2. Shellfish Allergy: Shellfish allergies can involve reactions to either crustaceans (like shrimp, lobster, and crab) or mollusks (such as clams, mussels, and oysters). Symptoms can range from mild hives to severe anaphylaxis.
  3. Milk Allergy: People with a milk allergy react to proteins found in cow’s milk. Symptoms can include skin rashes, gastrointestinal distress, and in severe cases, anaphylaxis.
  4. Egg Allergy: Allergic reactions to eggs are often seen in children and can range from mild hives and digestive issues to severe reactions.
  5. Wheat Allergy: Wheat allergy involves an immune response to proteins in wheat, such as gluten. It can lead to symptoms like hives, difficulty breathing, and digestive problems.
  6. Fish Allergy: Reactions to fish can range from mild to severe, and symptoms may include hives, digestive issues, and, in some cases, anaphylaxis.
  7. Soy Allergy: Allergic reactions to soy proteins can cause a range of symptoms, including hives, digestive discomfort, and respiratory issues.
  8. Tree Nut Allergy: Tree nuts like almonds, walnuts, and cashews can trigger allergic reactions, which can vary in severity but often include hives and anaphylaxis.

What Is the Best Way to Avoid Cross Contamination?

Avoiding cross-contamination and cross-contact is of paramount importance in the world of food safety and allergen management. Preventing these forms of contamination is essential for protecting public health and accommodating dietary needs. It’s not just about preserving food quality; it’s a matter of life and death for those with severe allergies.

Effective prevention methods, such as separate preparation areas, proper cleaning, and education, can safeguard individuals from potentially life-threatening reactions and help maintain the overall safety and integrity of the food supply chain. By understanding and implementing these practices, we can provide safe and inclusive food options for everyone.

Here are some steps you and your staff could take to avoid cross-contamination and cross-contact in this setting:

  1. Train Staff: Teach your kitchen and serving staff to be aware of food allergies and the importance of preventing cross-contamination.
  2. Separate Areas: Use different areas and tools for preparing allergen-free meals to keep them separate from other foods.
  3. Label Clearly: Label food containers to show which dishes contain allergens to avoid mix-ups.
  4. Communication: Ensure good communication between staff and guests with dietary needs.
  5. Dedicated Cooking: Use separate fryers and grills for allergen-free dishes.
  6. Special Zones: Create areas in the kitchen for preparing allergen-free meals.
  7. Clean Equipment: Regularly clean and sanitize kitchen equipment to remove allergen residues.
  8. Check Ingredients: Verify that ingredients are free from allergens before using them.
  9. Prioritize Allergen-Free Orders: Prepare allergen-free dishes first to reduce the risk of cross-contact.
  10. Double-Check Orders: Confirm that allergen-free orders are correct before serving.
  11. Staff Training: Ensure all staff members know about common allergens and how to avoid cross-contact.
  12. Guest Communication: Encourage guests to tell staff about their dietary restrictions when making reservations or upon arrival.
  13. Special Menus: Consider offering menus or cards that highlight allergen-free options and ingredient details.

Top 8 Allergen Ingredient List

It would be helpful if preparing allergy-safe meals was as simple as reading the ingredient list, but unfortunately, there is more to it. In the U.S., only the top eight allergens have to be listed, which means that allergens like sesame seeds will generally not be included in the list. The top eight allergens include:

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Crustacean Shellfish
  • Tree Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Soybeans

With this in mind, it’s important to make sure you communicate clearly with your guests about their specific food allergies so you can determine if the dish being prepared contains allergens that might affect them.

Where Should Allergenic Food be Stored to Prevent Cross Contact?

Allergenic foods should be stored separately in clearly labeled containers and designated storage areas. Keep them away from non-allergenic ingredients to prevent cross-contact.

This practice ensures the safe preparation of allergen-free meals and protects guests with food allergies or sensitivities. 

Partner with Source1 Today!

Using the tips we provided today, you can greatly improve the level of safety and service you offer to all of your guests.

When you partner with Source1, we help you leverage our buying power, which enables you to procure the services and items your hotel needs, including allergy-friendly food products and kitchen equipment, at affordable prices.

Procurement Services Companies

How to Reduce Transaction Costs

As is common knowledge in business, transaction costs are expenses incurred when buying or selling goods or services. These are associated with the work required to bring goods or services to market. Irrespective of the size of business every hotel must choose between “make or buy”. This means they must decide to produce the goods and services that they offer themselves or not.

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Procurement Services Companies

Successfully Reducing Waste In Hotels – And How You Can Make A Change In Yours

The world generates a whopping 3.5 million tons of plastic and other solid wastes each day, and reducing that number is a primary part of protecting the environment. However, when it comes to heavy contributors, many hotels remain guilty of producing massive amounts of waste each year that can contribute to global warming and other environmental issues. For that reason, reducing waste within your hotel establishment is of utmost importance – whether it be related to food waste or other materials.

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Procurement Services Companies

A Purchasing Audit Can Save You Thousands of Dollars

A purchasing audit provides managers insight into the processes used to order products, highlights what products are purchased, displays the selection criteria used for each product and vendor, and outlines the procedures followed at each step. In the fast-moving hospitality industry where most produce consumed is externally sourced, such audits allow for a review of vendors, products, costs, quality and wastage.

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Procurement Services Companies

4 Tips for Lowering Food Purchasing Costs

In the catering industry, you know there are many different expenses that can quickly cut into your budget. While there are some corners you should never cut, there are a few tips we can offer that should help with lowering food costs and add some breathing room to your budget. Continue reading today’s post to learn more about restaurant food costs and getting the most from your catering budget.

At Source1 Purchasing, we can offer the tools you need to propel your catering business to the next level. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits we offer, including access, control, and visibility. We look forward to being your dedicated procurement service company.

1. Track Food Prices

In the catering industry, you know that food prices are constantly shifting. It’s important to keep an eye on any increases or decreases as these could potentially have a dramatic impact on your overall food-purchasing costs. Tracking food prices will allow you to plan ahead with any necessary menu changes so that you can include more affordable options. If you choose to continue to use the same ingredients, then be sure to adjust the cost of your services accordingly.

2. Streamline Inventory

Obviously there’s only so low you can go with inventory, but if you find that you regularly have more food on your shelves than you actually need, then it’s time to streamline your process. Reducing excess inventory is a critical step to lowering the amount of food that is wasted or spoiled. Additionally, make sure that you establish a daily inventory for key items in your catering business. It’s important to identify any gap between the actual usage and any point-of-sale usage, as this could indicate over portioning, theft, or another problem.

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3. Monitor Trash Cans

At first glance, this tip might seem a little odd, but it could be one of the most invaluable tips for your catering business. Consider your kitchen area and the placement of trash cans. From training gaps and careless individuals to accidents and more, there are a variety of reasons why perfectly good food could accidentally end up in a trash can. When this happens, you are literally throwing away usable, and sometimes expensive, products. One option is to place clear plastic food boxes near each employee’s workstation so that the contents can be inspected at the end of each shift. If usable product is found in the bin, you can use that time for on-the-spot training and avoid losses, which directly impact your budget.

4. Utilize a Procurement Service Company

A group purchasing organization (GPO) can dramatically increase your purchasing power by utilizing their contacts to access the supplies you need. At Source1 Purchasing, we are proud to be the leading GPO, with more than $9.5 billion in purchasing power and contractual relationships with more than 1,000 suppliers. If you would like to achieve your goals while maintaining alignment with your brand standards, then contact us today to learn how we can help you control quality standards and strengthen your supplier networks. Contact us today to obtain your free supply chain analysis!

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Avoid These Procurement Mistakes

A smooth procurement system is essential to the operations of your company. When your procurement system runs seamlessly, you probably don’t even notice it, but when mistakes happen, nearly every aspect of your business can come grinding to a halt. To help you avoid this situation, we’ve gathered a list of the most common procurement mistakes made in procurement services.

At Source1 Purchasing, we help you enhance your purchasing power by giving you the control you need over products, contracts, and services you need to protect your brand standard. Contact our procurement services company today for a free supply-chain analysis and propel your business to the next level with Source1 Purchasing.

1. Spending Over Your Budget

Since most businesses work diligently to ensure that they stay within their budget, this is not a mistake that you might expect your own business to make. If your organization is observing an overspend, and can’t find the immediate answer, then it’s likely that you need to more closely observe your communication and coordination protocols, as a gap in one of these two areas is probably the source of your financial leak.

2. Rushing Orders

Typically, rushing a purchase order is more common in a new business. Established businesses, however, can also make this mistake if their procurement department is newly organized. One way that you can prevent anymore rush orders from happening is to work with a procurement service company like Source1 Purchasing. We have the experience and knowledge to help you get what you need in a timely manner.

3. Reinventing the Wheel

While there are many different programs that you can use to manage your supply chain, it’s important to make sure that your system is organized, efficient, and clearly communicates with everyone involved. Source1 Purchasing can offer you the dedicated team of professionals you need to enhance your purchasing power, control your orders, and increase your visibility to track your program performance.

4. Omitting Key Parties

When you make decisions that affect multiple parties or departments, it’s critical to make sure that everyone is looped into the conversation. While omitting someone is likely an accident, it can cause some major hangups in the overall flow of your procurement system. Try to remember that over-communicating is almost always better than under-communicating. Ask for feedback, verify the items on the order are accurate, and communicate all options before submitting orders.

5. Being Inflexible

Even in the most well-oiled machines, mistakes can happen, which means that you need to have alternative plans in place. Whether the items you need aren’t ready at the time you place your order or they arrive damaged, your willingness to be flexible and find other means of obtaining these necessities can help to ensure that you meet your own production deadlines.

At Source1 Purchasing, we are proud to be a leading group purchasing organization (GPO)  with more than $7 billion in purchasing power. We can provide you with a free supply-chain analysis, and show you how we can help you provide the services your clients demand at a savings that your business will love. Contact us today.

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Procurement Services Companies

5 Steps for Managing Supply-Chain Costs

The hospitality industry is always changing as it seeks to meet the needs of its customers. In this example, change is a good thing, but it can also bring added expenses. While you are likely working on ways to balance the needs of your customers with changing finances, it’s important to find ways to continually improve supply-chain costs. In today’s post, we’ll share the five steps you should follow to effectively manage your supply-chain costs.

At Source1 Purchasing, we offer great products at great prices, which means that you can optimize your supply chain, increase your purchasing power, and boost profits. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do for you, then please call today to get a free savings analysis.

1. Maintain Quality Customer Service

As a hospitality professional, you already know that it’s important to offer customers what they want while avoiding products or services they don’t. The danger of adding items that your customers don’t want could result in increased supply-chain costs for you. Likewise, eliminating a service they expect could also have negative impacts on your business.

For example, if the restaurant in your hotel offers filet mignon year-round, then it’s important to be sure that you’re tracking the annual changes in cost for that item. By planning for the months when the cost of the meat is higher, you can make the necessary adjustments to alleviate any increase in spending. You could place a larger order while the costs are lower, adjust the pricing on your menu, or vary the size of the portion serving. By honoring your commitment to offer filet mignon year-round, you will keep your customers happy, while adjusting your procurement orders will keep your bottom line happy.

2. Utilize Proper Sourcing

Procurement is the act of purchasing goods and services at the best possible prices at the right time. At Source1 Purchasing, we offer access to our team of procurement experts, visibility to leverage purchasing data, and control over the products, contracts, and services you need. We care about your brand’s standard, which is why our services start with a free supply-chain analysis, so that we can offer you the insight you need to make the best decisions for your business. Proper sourcing is critical to the success of managing your supply-chain costs, which is why you can trust us to provide you with cost- and time-saving opportunities.

3. Evaluate Total Cost of Ownership

The total cost of ownership (TCO) refers to not only the purchase price of an item, but also the total cost of operation over the lifetime of that item. This means that you need a hotel procurement company that can carefully compare the original amount of the item with the long-term costs. To fully evaluate the TCO, it’s important to consider the following items:

  • Preparation time
  • Branding
  • Durability
  • Warranty
  • Customer expectations
  • Waste

A thorough evaluation of these categories should help you to make a decision about which product offers the lowest TCO. At Source1 Purchasing, you can trust our team to make decisions that will provide the greatest value for your supply-chain costs.

4. Minimize Product Handling

Working in the hospitality industry requires you to provide reliable services for each of your customers. The farther away that your suppliers are from your customers, however, the less reliable your supply-chain network is. Whether you need to source particular towels, soap, or bedsheets, you know that it’s crucial for you to have those products delivered as quickly as possible and in perfect condition. In order for that to happen, it is necessary to minimize product handling. The more that each order is “touched”, the greater chance there is for error and damage. When you partner with Source1 Purchasing, we can offer the ideal procurement solutions for your company. With more than 22 years in business and more than $7 billion in purchasing power, we can offer the award-winning service you deserve.

5. Outsourcing

Working with a supply-chain management company is one of the best decisions you can make to better manage your procurement services costs. At Source1 Purchasing, we can help you save money, provide access to a number of assets that you need, and increase your purchasing power. By partnering with us, you can take advantage of our contractual relationships with more than 850 food and beverage suppliers and more than 250 OS&E (operating supplies and equipment) suppliers.

Source1 Purchasing is a leading Purchasing Services Organization (PSO), that provides innovative procurement-based solutions, and we work with companies that range from single-location and multi-unit operations to major corporate facilities. If you are in the hospitality industry, then we can help you improve your offerings by leveraging our purchasing power. Contact us today for a free supply-chain analysis and discover a better way to manage your supply-chain costs.

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Why You Need a Procurement Services Company

If you are in the hospitality industry and do not currently have a procurement services company, then continue reading to learn how your business can profit from working with one. Source1 Purchasing is your Top Rated Local® procurement solution whether you are in the hospitality industry, entertainment industry, or catering industry. Contact us today to start your free supply chain analysis.

The Purpose of a Procurement Service Company

Procurement serves the function of spending the profits of an organization in order to procure the goods or services that are needed to address the requirements of the business. At Source1 Purchasing, we work to provide your business with the best possible prices for the goods and services you need so that you are able to spend wisely and save as much as possible.

What Procurement Services Are Not

Contrary to what some might think, procurement service companies do not function like bulk warehouses that allow you to purchase what you need in large quantities at low prices. Rather, our purpose at Source1 Purchasing is to provide a strategic analysis of your company’s operational spending so that we can help save money for your bottom line through more efficient purchasing.

Why You Should Use a Procurement Service Company

When you work with Source1 Purchasing, we can provide a rapid analysis of your current supply chain to see what is functioning efficiently, as well as what changes need to be implemented to help keep spending low. We will negotiate with sellers to obtain the best prices for your business while still allowing you to utilize the best practices for your industry. Source1 Purchasing is proud to offer:

  • Systems and processes that limit risk and promote transparency
  • Programs that assist you in developing the specifications you need
  • Pre-qualifying processes for suppliers
  • Negotiating your contracts to ensure fairness and profitability

How Procurement Service Companies Help You

As part of our job, Source1 Purchasing can help you vet all third-party vendors so that you can rest assured that the goods and services they sell are of the best quality and value for your industry. Sometimes there are unreliable and unverified vendors that will try to gain your business before disappearing with your money and without supplying the promised goods or services. Source1 Purchasing can help by making sure that all of your suppliers are fully validated so that you can avoid these potential pitfalls.

Choosing Procurement Services

One of the greatest services that a procurement service company can offer to your business is detailed knowledge of your particular industry as well as insights into saving your management time and money. Source1 Purchasing leverages actionable data, creates a program tailored to your needs, and offers the widest range of contracts available so that your business can get the best value for your needs.

Source1 Purchasing offers buying that you can believe in. If you work in the hospitality, lodging, or entertainment industries, then you need to contact us to see how we can help strengthen the supply networks you currently have, grow the ones you need, and provide the savings that your business deserves. Contact us today to get started!

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