Food safety when keeping chocolate or compound melted
Posted in: Chocolate Education
I would like to thank each of you for your thorough and candid responses. You confirmed the information I already knew to be the case -- but given that I am not a chemist or food scientist by nature, I don't speak to something as fact unless (like the health dept) I have indisputable documented evidence. You have given me all of the information I need to speak to this with my inspector in complete confidence.
I should note that thus far I have not received a written violation but a concern raised. She is coming back to review her findings with me and want to be sure I am covered since the concern was expressed. I am disappointed that I find myself in the position of educating my heath dept resourcesmore often than being educated by them in this aspect; however, confectioner's are very very few and far between in my area. I am certain to be the only candy production she's ever been responsible for. I just wish it were more of a joint effort to investigate and educate together as opposed to the"guity until proven innocent" I've been receiving. Sadly, this appears to be the common nature of the beast.
It is my strong opinion that there is a great deal of "nit picking" occuring. I am in my chamber of commerce and someother FSO operators have made the same mention of my individualinspector. Others have said she is a breeze and very easy to deal with. The differences seem to be mom & pop shops versus corporate owned places. Most inspections take 10-15 minutes, while mine and the others who have complained have her company for an hour or more per inspection. I watch the restaurant shows, I know what's out there. Believe me, I am quite certain there are more than a few FSO owners that are very lax in their food safety. My team is NOT one of them. It is run by myself, my husband, and 2 employees who have all been certified in safe food handling. Our life savings is in this place; our livelihoods are on the line. We are well aware of the consequences to just one single food safety incident -- we would lose everything!! We show remarkable diligence, above and beyond what most other places have done according to my conversations with other owners. And yet there is still the constant "picking" of things that do not affect actual safety of food or product, and infrastructure that was in place as-is for YEARS before we took occupancy (years of which SHE was the very inspector that passed those items previously -- like hot and cold water taps being on opposite sides of 1 hand sink, yet still clearly labeled in text and color).
I find myself constantly searching google for validation on items of concern such as the chocolate and having to prove that I am following the rules. My state refuses to publish clearcommercial kitchen requirements and rules as well, so each inspector is given the authority to interpret the code as they see fit. The "code" is never enforced in the same manner from one location to another. In my opinion this gives a distinct competetive advantage of one business over another and should be illegal, but my expression of concern over that went unaddressed.
Anyway, I greatly appreciate each of you for your information and insight. The forum has been a godsend for us as we started up and continue our journey of growth!