5-Star Food Safety Series: Star Five/Your Kitchen with Markon’s Director of Food Safety

Kate Burr cropped

Markon prides itself on requiring the most stringent food safety measures of our supplier-partners to provide the utmost confidence in every case we ship to our operator customers. Our Five-Star Food Safety Program covers the critical points from field to plate to ensure that Markon fresh produce arrives as promised.

This is the tenth in a 12-part weekly series where we break down the detailed steps Markon takes as well as meet some of the people involved in making it happen.

Here, Markon’s Director of Food Safety, Kate Burr lays out some of the measures taken to help operators maintain the cold chain to the kitchen level.

  • Traceback stickers (to field level): With the implementation of GS1-128 compliant PTI labels on all Markon brand items, we are able to quickly identify the field lot from which the product was sourced and work with our suppliers to identify the exact field where the product was grown. This type of accuracy gives operator customers the confidence that in the unfortunate occurrence of a food safety event, we can alert them to dispose of these items and prevent them from being served.
  • Regular mock recalls conducted to verify traceability: Markon routinely conducts timed, unannounced mock traceback exercises with our suppliers to ensure they can quickly trace and identify product shipped. During these exercises, suppliers are required to provide Markon with complete traceback information as well as field and shipping records. We use this data to ensure suppliers are always in compliance with Markon Food Safety recall and traceability standards. These frequent tests also keep Markon staff on point so that in the unlikely event of a food safety outbreak, we can notify our customers and prevent the spread of illness.
  • “Best If Used By” dates on all Ready-Set-Serve inner and outer packaging: Having easy-to-read “Best if Used By” dates on both the outer and inner packaging allows for kitchen staff to organize and maintain inventory to ensure the freshest, best quality product is in your cooler.
  • Storage and handling information: Maintaining the cold chain is key to ensuring that our fresh produce products’ shelf-life is maximized and food safety risks are minimized. We provide educational tools and laminated posters that remind kitchen staff of best practices such as keeping fresh produce away from raw proteins and washing hands before handling any foods to cut down on potential cross contamination.
  • Cooler icons on packaging easily identify appropriate cooler storage area (back, center, front, outside): Our easy-to-read packaging shows operators exactly where product should be placed in coolers. This helps back-of-house staff better maintain inventory and mitigate time spent putting products away.
  • Food safety educational tools available through your Markon member sales representative: Markon offers easy-to-understand posters available in multiple languages to provide at-a-glance best handling and food safety practices for employees to reference.

“As a leader in food safety, Markon ensures our products meet the rigorous standards of our 5-Star Food Safety program,” furthers Burr. “Our team maintains documentation for all suppliers and ensures that they are in compliance through unannounced traceback exercises, annual reviews, and onsite visits. Markon incorporates the latest science and research into developing our program and are continuously implementing new initiatives like GS1-128 PTI labeling and Single Source Romaine.”

Diners are increasingly hyper-focused on high-protein and plant-based foods. Alongside all of the new-fangled, lab-based, cell-cultured options out there is the humble bean. A staple food for millenia, beans are being re-examined as a healthy, versatile ingredient worthy of menu inclusion.

  • Retro and heirloom recipes—like Southern succotash, French cassoulet, and Cajun red beans and rice—fit the bill for those in search of authenticity.
  • Most world cuisines incorporate some type of bean in their classic dishes. Think feijoada in Brazil, black beans and rice with plantains in Puerto Rico, and garbanzo beans in Israel. Modern interpretations of these recipes are packed with produce and herbs.
  • The creamy texture of mung beans is proving an ideal substitute for those that are eliminating soy from their diets.