Salsa Verde and Our Pals at the Health Department

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by modchef, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. modchef

    modchef

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    Hey friends

    I'm working for a small fast casual chain, and every 5 inspections or so (across 20 units) we are getting popped for the same thing: italian salsa verde at room temp.  Some counties never care, some do. 

    It's a basic recipe:

    fresh parsley & rosemary, washed, chopped

    EVO

    lemon juice

    garlic powder & red chili flake

    S&P

    I've tried to ask the stores to hold on an ice-bath at expo, but the EVO thickens the whole thing up when cold so it inevitably ends up just sitting on the counter. Hard to blame them.  

    Hot-holding changes the dish, and just burns the flavor out in a day anyways. 

    Takes at most 2 days to go through a 32 oz bottle, usually much less, so we're turning it over pretty quick. 

    Scratching my head over here, I'm sure there's an easy answer.  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/confused.gif

    Any thoughts on operational or even recipe tweaks that would appease the health inspector?

    Thanks!
     
  2. someday

    someday

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    Could you do something like make a large "master" batch (kept in the fridge) and then pull out to room temp in smaller amounts for service? As long as you label/date the small batch with a time stamp (say 11/09 1:00-5:00pm) and time expiration and toss any left when it "expires" you should be OK. 

    As long as you are at or under the cutoff for room temp storage it should be fine. 
     
    jay lancaster likes this.
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    can you separate the recipe into parts and cold hold the product that needs to be cold  with the Evo separate and blend to order? 

    could have a ratio issues when doing things on the fly so that would have to be wached

    someday is right you have a 4 hour window for product and then its got to be trash or heated above 160, the danger zone time maximum, active time logs will save you here.  a clipboard that is marked off at least every 4 hours or every container change

    like blanc, hollandaise etc any of the danger zone held items will always get you knocked unless you have the data tracking to show that its been time marked.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2016
  4. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Ask the inspector for advice.

    Most never get a civil conversation and you would be surprised at how friendly they can be when approached.

    mimi
     
  5. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    This is your Recipe: 

    It's a basic recipe:

    fresh parsley & rosemary, washed, chopped

    EVO

    lemon juice

    garlic powder & red chili flake

    S&P

    If the Health dept were to look up recipes it would say to refrigerate over night. My question would be to ask, If all the ingredients in this mixture don't need refrigeration by themselves, do the combined ingredients need to be kept cold. The reason why your having a problem is because none of the Health inspectors really know the answer. You may have to go outside of the health dept and get this recipe evaluated to see what it requires. This way you could have a written evaluation from a quality source backing up why your doing what your doing. When it comes to Safety in food service there is no "middle ground" there is only yes or no. 

    P.S. then take the Health inspector over to Dairy Queen and ask why it's ok to leave ketchup on the tables at room temp. 
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
    flipflopgirl likes this.
  6. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    While I totally agree with @ChefBillyB, at the same time, with 20 units do you want to go through that 20 times and then again whenever a new/different inspector shows up to do the inspection.

    Cut the EVOO 50/50 with sunflower oil, end of congealing/solidifying problem.
     
  7. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm just stubborn enough and contrary enough, that if I knew that it was completely safe I would go through it again and again just to teach the health inspector something.  But that's just me, and I can be a royal PITA sometimes.
     
  8. jay lancaster

    jay lancaster

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    If you're day dotting anyway (and I'm sure you are), just label with the four hour expiration & make the inspector happy.  

    It can't be that satisfying to argue about something in which you're obviously in violation.  

    The solution is to use the "time" method to your advantage.  
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2016
  9. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Been that route with a rosemary olive oil that I put on tables. Health department couldn't show me any documented reasons why it was unsafe. Organic rosemary, washed, blanched in vinegar. Still wouldn't concede, went round and round and round. Kept going up the ladder and nobody had a concrete answer. They would check with their boss and get back to me. Never did except to tell me that I couldn't do it Finally gave up and changed to a trio of condiments; sun dried tomato pesto, a date hummus, and a honey rosemary butter to shut them up.
    What is the violation?
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    chopped ingredients have the potential for cross contamination 

    also lemon juice can spoil 

    both of these reasons are enough for the health department to give a violation for room temp storage 

    but mostly its because of the world salsa

    to the op 

    can you change the item description and describe it as an infused oil instead of a salsa? just to appease the health inspector that has probably never cooked anything in his/her life that has somewhere on his list that "salsa" is a product that must be refrigerated? 
     
  11. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Lemons are at room temperature in the grocery store, plus they are acidic...how can the juice spoil? What would be the source of contamination in chopped parsley and rosemary to have a cross over effect?
     
  12. Guest

    Guest Guest

     natural sugars and such can form mold, ive seen it happen, i have also seen a container of lemon juice spoil to the point that it generated its own carbonation  

    using pasteurized pulp free lemon juice can cut down on the likelihood of this happening 

    if the cutting board you are using is unclean anything that is cut on it will be covered in that bacteria 

    ive been through the food saftey manager course so many times now i could get a job teaching it 

    thing about health inspectors, they dont care about preparation methods or history of how things were done before refrigeration, they go by whatever the government book tells them and real world experience and knowledge of food is irrelevant to them 

    also they are not permitted to give out a perfect score, some asshat a long time ago used it as a marketing tool and from that point on nobody has ever gotten a perfect score. you can have the cleanest kitchen ever and the will nitpick something because they have to mark you for at least 1 thing 
     
  13. jay lancaster

    jay lancaster

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    Mainly the time/temp rule that most departments have ingrained into their inspectors because of their Servsafe training.  

    With that said, you could have a pH test performed (which a salsa verde would likely pass as they tend to be fairly acidic).  Then present your plan to the health department to get a variance.  
     
  14. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe in your neck of the woods, but before the health departments here went to grades (A, B,...F) I knew of a couple of places, very few, but a couple of places that actually received 100's.
     
  15. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    We are talking about the time period of a meal service.
    That has nothing to do with the inherent biological properties of the ingredients.
    I have in the past.