Consulting Overview

BFSC works with independent stores or chains, universities to day care centers, mobile vendor trucks to NFL Stadiums, a small catered event to the Democratic National Convention, we have done it all!  West Coast, East Coast, in the Heartland. If all or part of your business serves food to the public,  then BFSC aspires to be your food safety partner.

Inspections, 3rd Party Audits

Sample report

The food safety audit is an integral part of your quality assurance program. Its main purpose is to ensure that you comply with the most current regulations, prevent a foodborne illness outbreak, and protect your restaurants and their managers from legal action in the event of an outbreak. It serves to highlight areas in need of improvement that managers and owners often overlook because of their heavy workloads.

Our third-party audits are valuable as they give your managers a fresh view of what is going right and wrong. A regularly scheduled internal audit can identify problems before a health department inspection or before an outbreak can occur.

Each audit is detailed in our proprietary software. Our computer-generated reports (see example), are completed before we leave your facility. Our sophisticated reporting system allows us to group the violations to suit your needs: by VIOLATION; by EMPLOYEE, which is a detailed explanation of each violation by the responsible employee; or by AREA or ROOM, which is a detailed explanation of each violation grouped by areas defined by you. In addition, the reports will include a signed confidentiality statement and a list of the violations found; a summary of the top 5 issues to work on; a Temperature Summary page and a Discussion section that highlights overall strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement that would have the greatest impact on protecting your guests against foodborne illness.

HACCP Plan Development

HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) is a prevention-based system to assure food safety. It is used throughout the food industry, whether it be on the farm, in a manufacturing plant, or a retail operation. It is a system that identifies and monitors hazards to food and identifies key processes in the flow of food where these hazards can be controlled.

A HACCP plan is required for sushi restaurants that hold their rice at room temperature or establishments that conduct vacuum packaging, smoking or curing meats or fish, to mention a few.

A HACCP plan is written documentation based on seven basic principles: 1. conducting a hazard analysis; 2. determining the critical control points to reduce or eliminate the hazards; 3. establishing critical limits for each critical control point; 4. establishing monitoring procedures; 5. establishing corrective actions; 6. establishing verification procedures; and 7. keeping records.

Each HACCP plan is customized to your operation. Usually, an initial phone or face-to-face meeting is set up to determine your needs and expectations. Each plan is developed over a period of time by the HACCP "team." The "team" consists of a member from Berger Food Safety Consulting, the manager or person-in-charge from your facility and any other facility staff members who will help develop and execute the plan. 

Plan Reviews

We offer full plan reviews for new construction or remodeling of existing restaurants. A thorough plan review is essential in making sure that you are in compliance with all health department requirements and therefore avoiding costly and timely mistakes. By reviewing and making recommendations for architectural plans, food service equipment, menus, and all sanitation policies, we can identify potential problems BEFORE costly purchases, installation, and construction begin. We have often been hired as a restaurant is getting ready to open, only to find out they were supposed to submit a plan review with their health department. You have to move that sink, add another, and tear down that wall.... it is a nightmare and twice as expensive. Many towns and cities are starting to have plan reviews signed by a CP-FS or RS before they even look at them. Berger Food Safety can work with your existing plans and make sure you are in compliance with the food code and that you include everything the health department is looking for.

Not only can we review your plans for accuracy and compliance, but we can assist with health department approval by representing you during the entire process of the plan review.

Illness complaint Investigations

Did you know that of all the foodborne illness complaints to the health department, 73% of those complaints blame a restaurant as the cause of their illness? In reality, of all confirmed cases of foodborne illness, only 30% result from eating in a restaurant. By having a complaint formally investigated, you demonstrate to your customer that you take their complaint seriously and that you are committed to providing the safest, highest quality food.
The Complaint Investigation begins by interviewing the individual who made the complaint. The interview will elicit important information such as the date and time of the meal and onset of illness; type and duration of symptoms; whether or not medical care was sought; and menu items consumed. 
Based on this discussion, we will determine if this complaint warrants further investigation. If not, a summary of the investigation will be sent to you for record-keeping. If we suspect the complaint results from your establishment, we will work with you to further evaluate possible causes and, if necessary, act as the liaison between you and your health department.

Health Department Liaison Services

If you have been shut down or your permit has been suspended for food code violations, or you have "trouble" with the health department, we can help you by working with you and your health inspector to solve the problems. Often, the solutions include representing you in an official hearing at the health department, certifying additional managers in Food Protections courses, conducting "Food Safety 101" training for your staff, and providing food safety audits that are used as training tools for you and assures compliance with the food code for the health department.

Allergy Identification for Menu 

BFSC works with restaurants and other food service operations to help develop allergen control plans. From menu analysis (when you say, “It includes soy sauce; we ask, “what brand?” as some may contain wheat! Who knew?) to guidance on cross-contact prevention, we can
help ensure an allergy-free meal for your guest.
We have seen too many lawsuits that arise from incorrectly identified ingredients in restaurant menus. We can fix that for you!
The loyalty of allergy suffering people to restaurants and businesses that do the right job is well documented - they tend to limit their dining to one or two places. Let one of those be yours!

ServSafe Certification

Our Food Protection Managers Certification class and ServSafe Certification Exam are designed to teach the food service manager all aspects of food safety and sanitation, from purchasing and receiving food to serving the customer. Key issues are thoroughly discussed, such as how time and temperature abuses, cross-contamination, and poor personal hygiene can lead to foodborne illness. Most importantly, the food service manager will learn to avoid costly foodborne illness outbreaks. Other topics include biological, chemical, and physical hazards; food allergens; proper cleaning and sanitizing; waste and pest management; and the basic principles of HACCP, otherwise known as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points.
The full class format includes lectures/discussions, videos, activities, and games to enhance student learning, encourage student participation, and foster an understanding of the importance of serving safe food. As soon as you register for a class, each student is provided with a Food Safety for Managers textbook or access to our online course and a packet of materials related to topics discussed in the course. The video presentation to fulfill Massachusetts Allergy Awareness law is shown in this class, the $10 certificate fee is not included in the class

Custom Seminars and Training 

Do you need training in HACCP plan training? Are you looking for an introductory food safety seminar for new employees? Do you have a few employees in need of personal hygiene training? Any food safety and sanitation seminar can be developed depending on the needs of your facility.

Our most popular seminar is our "Food Safety 101" seminar for all new and experienced food handlers. "Food Safety 101" reviews food safety basics such as preventing cross-contamination, proper personal hygiene, safe temperatures, and proper procedures for cleaning and sanitizing.

We also have a program for non-managerial staff that would benefit from hands-on training rather than sitting in on a seminar. We will come in and “show” your staff how to set up a workstation or specific area so that they can perform their duties in a safe and sanitary manner. This can include showing new staff how to set up a three-bay sink and how to use chemicals properly. It may include hand-washing demonstrations or instructions on how to calibrate and use a thermometer. This training can be customized to your needs or can be one that covers your establishment from front to back.

Expert Witness Services

An expert witness is a person with extensive experience or knowledge in a specific field or discipline beyond that expected from a layperson. The expert witness's duty is to apply their expertise to give a professional opinion to the tribunal or court on particular matters in dispute.

Lisa Berger has participated in legal proceedings as an expert witness in the area of food safety. Ms. Berger's experience as an epidemiologist for the state of Massachusetts and 25 years on the job , give her a unique perspective for legal teams working on issues involving food safety (or lack thereof.)

Her reports, depositions and testimony are concise and to the point giving attorneys the fodder they need to further their actions. From a simple opinion to live testimony Ms. Berger will come through.

Concierge Services

Our concierge services will help you manage the myriad of tasks associated with your food safety culture that is specific to your establishment(s) and your needs. This is our highest level of service that not only provides the “basics” (ServSafe certification, employee training, plan reviews, and illness investigations) but assigns you to a dedicated consultant to assure you’re on top of your game. This person will be your “compliance monitor” who will keep track of all food safety-related compliance issues. For example, this person will keep track of your staff’s ServSafe certifications and, when certifications expire; will confirm that changes to your menus include proper advisories; and will update you and your staff on any changes to food codes. We can be available for any “research” (e.g., “Can we request a variance to allow dogs in our dining room?” or “If I want to cook my chicken to 150°F, how long must it be maintained at that temperature for safety?”). This service also allows you access to our consultants for emergencies (e.g., a foodborne illness outbreak, an Annul system that goes off during your dinner rush; a loss of hot water, etc.); provides analytics on your food safety compliance, and just about anything else that is food safety related.

Food Safety Books & Training materials

Online Exams/ Emergency Certification

General Consulting

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