How to be Savvy with Food Safety at Events

Eating at a Meeting Podcast Episode 111

How to be Savvy with Food Safety at Events

Smiling woman in a black top leaning against a wall. She is owner of Savvy Food Safety

Did you know that in the U.S. alone, 48 million people get and 3,000 people die from a food borne illness each year. Some of these illnesses cause lifelong ramifications or potentially death. The problem is, no one cares until it affects them personally.

To help spread awareness on the importance of compliance and ethics related to food safety, Tracy chats with food safety expert Francine Shaw, Founder/CEO of Savvy Food Safety.

Join Tracy and Francine as they discuss why basic food safety should be important to everyone and what are the most typic food safety violations.

Guest Introduction

Francine Shaw is founder/CEO of Savvy Food Safety and TracSavvy, and Partner of My Food Source. She is a well-respected international speaker on various food safety topics and has been featured as a food safety expert in multiple media outlets, including BBC World Radio, The Dr. Oz Show, the Huffington Post, iHeartRadio, Food Safety News, and is currently writing her first book. She lives on a farm with her husband and their cat.

What do safe, inclusive & sustainable food and beverage experiences look like to you?

The experience would be one where individuals/families with any type (or multiple types) of food allergy or intolerance could go to and enjoy a meal. The staff would be well trained in food safety/food allergy systems for customers to feel confident in their safety. And they would not be “called out” when ordering. Their orders would be accommodated as easily as someone ordering a burger with no ketchup.

Do you have an example of a situation that negatively effected you and/or other individuals or groups’ food and beverage experience?

A few years ago, we were at a popular NYC restaurant and my daughter’s friend asked for gluten-free spaghetti. Before we were finished with our meal, she was sick. My thought is they boiled the gluten-free pasta in the regular pasta water and there was a cross-contact. Many people just don’t take this seriously, fortunately, it wasn’t a situation that was going to kill her but she was very ill. I was so angry. Training on food allergies and food intolerances has gotten much better but it is still nowhere near where it needs to be.

What is a best practice you use/or have seen to create safe, sustainable, and inclusive F&B experiences?

When an individual placed their order, it was read back to them. The order went to the kitchen, then the chef came to the table to speak with the food allergic individual, and actually prepared the meal himself. He then brought the meal to the table! All of this was done while making the individual totally comfortable and having a random conversation with the rest of the table.

What do you wish people knew about what you do?

That it’s important, people on average, don’t take food safety seriously enough. Forty-eight million people get a foodborne illness every year, and three thousand people die. That is just in the United States. Some of these illnesses cause lifelong ramifications or potentially death. The problem is, no one cares until it affects them personally. We need to find a way to make people care. I saw a tic-toc video the other day, and this woman was so proud of a buffet-style table she had prepared for a wedding reception. All I could see was a recipe for disaster. Nothing was covered or on ice, and there were cross-contamination and cross-contact issues everywhere I looked. If a person had food allergies, they didn’t stand a chance eating at this event.

Just for fun…What is your favorite food and your favorite drink?

Oh wow, I don’t know. I got a recipe from a friend years ago, it is a real comfort food kind of dish. It’s a chicken casserole made with chicken breasts, cream of chicken soup, swiss cheese, and stuffing. I love it, let’s go with that. My favorite drink is homemade sweet tea. Geesh, I’m so basic…lol


Connect with Francine —   LinkedIn  |  Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter

Check out other featured guests on the Eating at a Meeting podcast.

Eating at a Meeting is part of the Nitty Grits Podcasts network