Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tip #250: The Best of 2017: Top 5 Tips of the Week

As we prepare to bid farewell to 2017, we’ve pulled the topics most important to candy makers with the top five most-read tips from the year.

A little hazy on what’s causing the buildup of a film on the surface of your chocolate moulds? You’re not alone. Learn what causes this common problem and get preventative tips on how to avoid it.

Save money by finding new uses for old items to create eye-popping displays with “wow factor!” Old ladders, tables, or wooden crates can make for unexpected and memorable ways to display your confections.

Consider this alternative method to making stable, smooth-textured meltaways with untempered chocolate.

Did you know chocolate moulds that aren’t cleaned properly can cause chocolates to lose their desired smooth and glossy shine? Follow these five easy steps to ensure your plastic moulds are cleaned properly and produce perfectly glossy chocolate masterpieces every time.

This simple tip is about to turn your world upside down, literally. Long-time RCI member, Fascia’s Chocolates started using this unconventional approach to caramel apples after practicing the traditional method for 53 years.

We look forward to bringing you more great tips to help you build your business in 2018! Wishing you a safe and happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Tip #249: How To Make The Inspector’s Nice List (Part 3 of 3): Equip Your Staff

This week marks part three and the final addition to our series on how to make the health inspector’s “nice list” this holiday season, inspired by a past article published in RCI’s Kettle Talk magazine by Pat Huffman of Blommer Chocolate Co. Keep reading for five tips on how to best prepare your staff for a visit from your friendly, local health inspector.

With today’s increased emphasis on food safety, the simple act of reading the new federal and local regulations and keeping your staff updated on new requirements is critical. Consider conducting brief meetings to cover a specific topic or provide updates on a regular basis.

Get ahead of the inspector by designating a manager to perform weekly inspections. Contact your local health department to request the form they use to during inspections as a reference.

Every time we have to search for the right tool to do a job, we lose time and money. By keeping tools clean and stored properly, they are ready for use and keep us productive. More important, a neat manufacturing area immediately tells inspectors that we know what we are doing.

Getting the buy-in from your employees can be a constant struggle. It’s important to recognize that a commitment to food safety begins with an organization’s managers and owners. Every time we walk by a dripping faucet or step over a scrap of paper or a chocolate spill, we fail to teach our employees. By witnessing management who are as dedicated to keeping equipment clean as they are making quality candy, they teach their team by example.

Signs, reminders, and brief, yet, oft-repeated videos, keep the message in the forefront of every employee’s mind, but nothing works better than setting an example personally.

One of the best ways to ensure your business makes it on the inspector’s coveted “nice list” is to assemble a team of trained and confident staff, who understand the big picture of why maintaining clean stores and manufacturing facilities is so important. After gaining this understanding, it is critical that your team be given proper guidance and tools to efficiently and effectively manage your business’s food safety initiatives.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tip #248: How To Make The Inspector’s Nice List (Part 2 of 3): Take Control of Pests

In continuation of a three-part series on how to make the health inspector’s “nice list” this holiday season, we’re sharing tips on how to take control of potential pest infestations.

Food manufacturing and retail facilities are a haven for certain unwanted guests. Can you blame them? Who wouldn’t want to live in a candy factory? However, when pest control can account for up to 20% of your score during a health inspection, a poorly managed pest control program could land your business on the inspector’s naughty list, or even worse, the recall list!

According to foodqualityandsafety.com, “Up-to-date pest control documentation is one of the first signs to an auditor that your facility takes pest control seriously.” They recommend making the following important documents readily available should an inspector come a-knocking:
  • Scope of service
  • Pest activity reports
  • Service reports
  • Corrective action reports
  • Trap layout maps
  • List of approved pesticides
  • Pesticide usage reports
  • Applicator licenses

RCI member, Pat Huffman of Blommer Chocolate Co, offered the following advice in a past article published in Kettle Talk magazine:

In today’s world of ever-changing regulations, hiring a pest control service may be your best option. When looking to outsource this service, look for a reputable company with food processing experience. A residential pest control service may not have the necessary experience or training to handle food establishments.

 At a very close second, the next most important element of pest control is regularity. Whether you perform this task yourself or hire a service, checking traps and applying pesticides in a safe and proper manner and on a regular basis is critical to success. Making sure that pesticides are stored away from food preparation areas and keeping good records of how they are handled are elements of an effective program.

These simple preparations can be your best defense against pests. Showing your inspector that you are in control of your pest control program will certainly help your business earn its spot on the nice list.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tip #247: How To Make The Inspector’s Nice List (Part 1 of 3): Don’t Forget that Spot!

Food safety never takes a holiday. In fact, the holidays are an especially important time to ensure food manufacturers and retailers are taking necessary precautions to ensure their products are not only delicious, but safe for consumption.

Whether a confectionery supplier or candy maker, your company should be prepared for an inspection from your perspective regulations agency at anytime of the year. In a past article published in Kettle Talk magazine, Pat Huffman of Blommer Chocolate Co., shared the following tips that could mean the difference from your candy business making it on the inspector’s naughty or nice list.

Areas over, under and behind equipment can be missed and will always attract the inspector’s attention. Simple installations that can be easily cleaned are always better than equipment with lots of hoses and wires that can get built up with chocolate.

The inside of a cooling tunnel is another area you can expect an inspector to look, in addition to air filters and any area with tape on it. These areas can collect dirt, insects (and their offspring) and cause problems if not checked and cleaned regularly.

Regarding your retail stores, nothing sells better than a well-lit and spotlessly clean display. Fingerprints can be a normal problem every time a customer points to a product in a glass case. Keeping floors, air vents, and the entire store neat may be the best way to convince customers that they are in the right place. Cleaning behind fixtures is just as important as cleaning the front of fixtures.

Keep your business on the nice list this holiday season, by checking your list twice to ensure you don’t forget that spot!

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.