SafeFood©: Witness from Alaska
Just back from a land-cruise tour of our 49th state -it is beautiful there! Photos truly do not do the scenery justice. While most tourists gawk at the scenery and scout for caribou, eagles and bears (oh my) I witnessed some good safe food practices. While I never saw a bear at Denali, I did witness a glove change with a handwashing prior to donning second pair of gloves at a local restaurant! Those familiar with operations realize just how rare that is – prolly more rare than a bear sighting so I was somewhat mollified at not seeing a bear in the wild! Galleys in the rail cars were interesting too – see photo. Another good thing, at the cruise ship buffets a staff member greeted guests and politely invited all to apply hand sanitizer from the dispenser located at the entry. While we know this is not a substitute for handwashing, the sanitizer does cut down on some of the harmful bacteria and viruses (unfortunately, not Norovirus, aka the cruise ship virus). The buffet line had signs about using a clean plate when making a second sashay through the buffet (and yes, this was very common – did I mention the food available?). We were given the option of a galley tour – which was very impressive in size, scope and cleanliness. No convenience form of product is purchased. Unsurprisingly, about 200 staff work back of house. They are needed because about 18,000 dishes are washed each day with an average of 3,700 pounds of fresh fruits and close to a ton of beef, poultry and game served daily. The Cruise Line also included a note in our welcome packet about the importance of handwashing but not sure all took time to read a three paragraph letter while on vacation. I think some additional signage with visuals would help remind cruisers about the importance of this. (Note to cruise lines – there are several downloadable versions available at www.iowafoodsafety.org.) I did witness staff cleaning stair bannisters and deck chairs daily although not sure of solution used or frequency of cloth changes; I might have missed elevator push button and door handle cleanings – of course, there is always one’s sleeve. Public restrooms encouraged us to open the door with paper towel we used of drying of hands and even noted a waste dispenser was located on the outside. All in all, the trip provided excellent opportunities to witness the amazing beauty of the state of Alaska and the good sanitation practices used within the tourism industry.