Food Safety, Sanitation and Environmental Compliance
R&DE Stanford Dining prides itself on creating a culture of excellence, which requires a high standard of food safety and sanitation. We are continually developing and enhancing our food safety culture through executing our food safety Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs) and conducting trainings/certifications, along with internal and external required audits.
Our Food Safety Program is led by Daniel Archer, MPH, REHS, Senior Manager of Food Safety, Workplace Safety, and Environmental Compliance. Daniel, who has a master’s degree in Public Health, is a former Los Angeles County health inspector with over 15 years of experience developing and managing food safety programs. In his critical role within R&DE, Daniel prepares and recommends new and revised policies and procedures, audits and enforces policies and programs related to food safety and workplace safety, oversees quarterly training, audits our suppliers, and is the primary contact with vendors on food safety.
In his role, Daniel created our food safety Standard Operating Procedures manual, which embodies our food safety policies and guides all dining locations. This comprehensive manual outlines every step we take to prevent contamination and foodborne illness. The manual outlines food safety procedures in over 40 different categories, such as hand washing and the use of disposable gloves, the receiving/storing of food, preventing cross-contamination during food preparation and cooking, washing fruits and vegetables, date-marking food, serving food, the use and storage of chemicals, cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, transporting food from the Central Production Kitchen, and labeling for allergens. The manual is a step-by-step for employees on how to handle food in order to prevent foodborne illness.
Food Safety Training
All staff members are required to practice safe food handling procedures when working in R&DE. To ensure this, we offer continuous food safety training and education programs. This consists of mandatory monthly and quarterly training sessions. The training sessions cover physical, chemical and biological food safety hazards, pathogens that cause foodborne illness, reportable foodborne illnesses, factors that contribute to foodborne illness, prevention of foodborne illness, active managerial control to prevent foodborne illness, temperature control, preventing cross-contamination, equipment cleanliness, and health alert protocols. During the quarterly sessions, we bring in county health inspectors to judge our Food Safety Challenge. Daniel and the health inspectors use the challenge as an opportunity for on-the-spot training, and coach the employees on food safety practices and procedures while they are prepping food and cooking.
Our dining hall staff also works closely with county health officials, undergoing rigorous and continuous training on the latest food safety principles and regulations.
Additionally, all managers and chefs are ServSafe certified and all employees have Food Handler’s cards.
In-House & Third Party Audits
Another way we ensure food safety compliance is through routine inspections and audits. On a daily basis, Daniel visits the dining units doing spot audits and looking at things like temperature control, food contamination prevention methods, equipment cleanliness, and code compliance. During these daily visits, he trains staff, reviewing with them food safety policies and procedures as he goes.
Our facilities are also audited by an independent third-party audit company to continue to ensure compliance. The auditing company conducts unannounced assessments of all Stanford dining locations four times a year that include on-site teaching and coaching. The audits focus on critical practices and procedures to prevent foodborne illness. When onsite, auditors look at the knowledge and certification of staff, employees’ health and hygienic practices, cleanliness of the equipment, as well as make sure food is sourced from a safe source, food is cooked to an approved temperature as stated in the FDA Food Code, food is being held and cooled at the right temperature, and that there is no type of chemical contamination..
Currently, all dining halls and retail units have Green Placards awarded by the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health that denote the absence of critical violations or just one critical violation that was immediately corrected at the time of the health inspection.
When it comes to food purchasing, we have a strict set of safety and quality guidelines that our suppliers must adhere to when it comes to agriculture, harvesting and food processing. Daniel, along with our vendor management team, visits potential vendors’ facilities before purchasing anything to ensure that they meet our guidelines. These guidelines ensure that our vendors are compliant with all applicable federal, state, county or municipal health and/or good manufacturing practices.
The guidelines also include growing region and sourcing guidelines, lot traceability, requirements for composted manure/animal products, and supplier verification of good agricultural/harvesting practices.
We also require the companies that supply us with produce to do pathogen testing and apply the test & hold method, meaning we don’t accept any produce until the pathogen tests have come back negative. We encourage produce processors to have laser sorters that look for chlorophyll and prevent the presence of foreign objects in leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach that we purchase.
Additionally, food is checked as it is received in the dining halls for quality, temperature and general conditions before being accepted for use. We take every precaution necessary to ensure the health and safety of all of our dinners.
In March 2012, the California Department of Public Health approved Stanford’s Residential & Dining Enterprise’s Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan making Stanford the first university in California to attain a state-approved HACCP plan.
A HACCP plan is a written plan that outlines a systematic preventative approach to food safety from biological, chemical and physical hazards in the food production process that can cause the finished product to be unsafe and designs measurements to reduce these risks to a safe level.
R&DE Stanford Dining’s Central Production Kitchen (CPK) uses the cook/chill process to produce soups, sauces and other foods in bulk for distribution to other dining units on campus. All kitchens that use this method must have an approved HACCP plan in place in accordance to the FDA Food Code. Stanford’s HACCP approved plan is for the CPK and this process. However, we practice HACCP principles in all dining halls.
The CPK uses an independent certified microbiological laboratory to test for pathogens such as Clostridium Botulinium, Salmonella, Listeria and E. Coli 0157.H7 in foods produce by the cook/chill methodology to safeguard the health of our students and guests.
Food Safety is a core value of R&DE, and as a result, adequate preventative systems have been put in place to ensure that food prepared and served at our dining and retail establishments are wholesome and void of pathogens that cause foodborne illness.
Daniel Archer, MPH, REHS, is Stanford Dining's Senior Manager of Food Safety, Workplace Safety, and Environmental Compliance. He manages and develops food safety programs, is the primary contact with vendors on food safety and manages the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Plan.