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Are so called ‘grocerants’ safe?

Grocerants, a US term for restaurants in supermarkets, are a godsend for many people who need to eat long before they can get their newly-bought food home, prepared and cooked.

Are so called 'grocerants' safe

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The restaurant sector has faced some tough times in recent years; however, NPD Group industry analyst Darren Seifer says that grocerants are bucking this trend. With this added business come increased safety responsibilities, which could mean anything from having grease traps under sink systems installed to adhere to current legislation to ensuring the safety of customers.

Booming industry

In the US, the number of people getting dinner or lunch from a grocery store has gone up by almost 30 per cent in the last eight years as people enjoy the good value and food choices on offer; however, as grocerant numbers grow to meet demand, some experts in food safety are concerned that there may be an accompanied rise in foodborne illnesses.

These worries may seem well-founded, given that figures show that the number of outbreaks of foodborne illnesses resulting from grocery store food doubled between 2013 and 2015 and there was a sextupling of people who became ill. An incident is classed as an outbreak if at least two people fall ill.

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A lack of experience?

Food Safety News website founder and attorney Bill Marler warns that some grocery stores may not have the same level of food safety experience as chain restaurants. This could include anything from knowing what equipment is needed from companies such as http://www.ukgreasetrapsdirect.co.uk/ to knowing the temperature at which prepared foods should be stored.

There are indications that many grocers are taking health and safety very seriously, however. A Wall Street Journal report revealed that the number of people working in grocery stores who took an online International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) food safety course went up by around 3,000 in a year, reaching about 6,400 in 2016.

Marler still suggests that customers employ their own technique to minimise their risk of succumbing to food poisoning after eating at a grocerant – only eating cooked food. He points out that food is much less likely to be carrying toxic bacteria if its temperature has been raised, meaning shunning the salad bar in the grocery store in favour of eating items that are, in the attorney’s words, ‘cooked beyond belief’.


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