Food safety is everyone’s business

From pallet to palate, your refrigerated display case plays a pivotal role

by Dan Cassier, VP of Customer Experience, JSI

The other day, I helped my son purchase his first new car. He made a pretty compelling argument about the value of purchasing the shiny black sports coupe, but my fatherly instincts (and offer of down payment) prevailed, so we drove off the lot in a handsome, super-safe sedan.

When it comes to protecting our families, safety comes first. Our car shopping experience got me thinking about how profoundly safety concerns affect my line of business – refrigerated display cases in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience marts.

As a colleague in this industry, you probably know better than anyone how brilliantly the spotlight is shining on health and safety in supermarkets today – just look at the 624% increase in hand sanitizer sales from 2019 to 2020. Obviously, people are concerned, and the COVID-19 pandemic has furthered illuminated the importance of food safety. Food safety issues can be devastating, particularly at a time when consumers are hyper-aware of germs and cleanliness. Six out of 10 consumers, for example, said they would not return to an establishment after contracting a foodborne illness there.

food safetyIn your store, you do all the right things – keep aisles clear and accessible for social distancing, display arrows for one-way travel, and shift equipment around to facilitate “in and out” experiences. These are all very visible ways you support healthier, safer shopping. Other things you do – like ensuring refrigerated display cases maintain critical temperatures – are largely taken for granted.

But what if food safety could be another arrow in your merchandising quiver? It all starts with having confidence in the safety standards you – and your refrigeration display case partners – are committed to.

How it’s built: food safety starts before a display case hits the pallet to ship to your store

They may not be exciting but safety certifications in manufacturing can make or break a refrigerated display case – and the food it holds. Three areas that directly affect safety start with how display cases are manufactured:

1. Are they built with the highest quality components that are resistant to failure? It’s easy enough to check with your display case manufacturers to ensure they are using reliable suppliers.

2. Is testing validated by a reputable 3rd party company like Intertek?

3. Does a signed testing tracker that clearly displays NSF safety compliance accompany every unit?

At your store, maintaining critical temp is essential for safety at the palate

Once the refrigerated display case gets to your store, equipment continuity is essential in ensuring food safety. Any temperature between 40 F (4.4 C) and 140 F (60 C) is considered the “danger zone” for food. If food stays in this danger zone for too long, harmful bacteria can grow to levels that could cause illness.

A few key things to look for can help maintain equipment continuity:

  • Designs that simplify and accelerate service and maintenance. This includes self-contained compressors with raised air flow vents to help maintain critical temperatures, and display cases with slide out compressors for fast and easy service.

Preventative maintenance to avoid costly downtime and spoiled food. Read our earlier blog that discusses how important preventative maintenance is to mitigate many equipment failures.

Food safety is everyone’s business. While there is little we can do to anticipate global pandemics or other disease outbreaks, JSI can (and does) accept our responsibility to provide only the best-built, well-designed, and most reliable refrigerated display cases to help protect consumers.

Learn more about the entire JSI Refrigeration portfolio.