Festival Network Online

May 2012
Sanitation codes and practices are major factors in your food vendor business. This month's article takes a blunt and realistic look at sanitation concerns from Chicago's Food Vendor Sanitation Seminar.

As always, if you have any particular topics you'd like to see covered here, or if you'd like to contribute an article to the FNO newsletters - drop me a line!

Happy cooking!
Jackie
FNO Newsletter Editor


Sanitation Tips: Cautionary tales at Chicago's Summer Festival Food Vendor Sanitation Seminar
by Jake Malooley, Reprinted with permission of Time Out Chicago magazine, timeoutchicago.com

Becoming a city-certified festival food vendor is enough to turn anyone off the idea of eating giant turkey legs.

"Has anyone ever eaten something and shortly after you feel a gurgling in your stomach?" Daria Kulczycky asks her Summer Festival Food Vendor Sanitation Seminar one afternoon last week at Harold Washington College. The stern, middle-aged woman in a blue turtleneck is attempting to stir some gastrointestinal empathy in her students-myself included.

We will soon join the ranks of 2,200 vendors certified annually by the city to serve fried dough and meats on a stick to the masses at music festivals, neighborhood street fetes, farmers' markets and church fund-raisers. The workshop quickly feels like an episode of MTV's Scared Straight for summer food vendors.

"Suddenly, you make a mad dash to the bathroom," Kulczycky continues. "No sooner than you sit on the almighty throne, there's explosive diarrhea. Whatever you consumed was contaminated with a pathogen!" A wave of ewww! sweeps through the sixth-floor classroom.

My ten classmates include a vegan Indian food vendor setting up shop at the Pitchfork Music Festival, a soft-spoken coffee entrepreneur from Portage Park hoping to start pouring cups at the 'hood's farmers' market, a veteran purveyor of cevapcici who recently began serving the pita-wrapped sausages at U.S. Cellular Field, and a brassy Italian-ice peddler whose sister operates a stand on Navy Pier.

The class, offered April through September, is admittedly a breeze. If your $35 registration check clears and your butt is in the chair for all three hours, you're gonna pass. In lieu of a diploma, a graduate walks away with a little blue card that fits nicely at the end of a lanyard.

The class's true test is one of endurance: swallowing all of Kulczycky's stomach-turning food-service cautionary tales. "I've been teaching these classes since 1987," the former senior-center meal service manager tells us. "I've seen and heard everything." Many of the horror stories come to Kulczycky from the sanitarians, the city inspectors who bust food vendors for health-code violations.

Handing out the class textbook, bearing the catchy title Guidelines for Food Handling at Neighborhood Festivals, Kulczycky first points us to page six, a chart of the fest food inspectors discarded annually. Last year, they tossed out 3,827 pounds, mostly due to improper holding temps.

"One year," she says, "a vendor was caught washing pots and pans in an open fire hydrant." During the annual American Indian Center of Chicago Powwow a couple of years back, the instructor recalls, members of a tribe were caught washing dishes in a hotel-room bathtub. Last year, Logan Square's Home Bakery and Festivals had its vendor permit temporarily rescinded for violations that included letting eggs sit out in the heat.

Soon, it's on to dress code. "I don't care how much hair spray you put on," Kulczycky says. "It does not take the place of a hairnet!" We're told jewelry is verboten, except for a plain wedding band; piercings too easily fall into food. The ban on wifebeater shirts was added a few years ago, after a sanitarian strolled by a fest hamburger booth. "She hears this psss-psss-psss sound and realizes that it's sweat pouring off the grill master and onto the grill."

It's shocking that some of the class tips have to be mentioned: "Once you have rubber gloves on, you don't then go to the sink and wash"; "Whole tomatoes should be free of obvious signs of filth." But Kulczycky reports the program has been a success. "In all the festivals," she says, "we've only had one outbreak of food-borne illness." At the Taste of Chicago in 2007, 790 people were sickened after eating Pars Cove's hummus, which was found to be contaminated with salmonella, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Of all Kulczycky's food-service credos, this one really sticks: "You can shoo away the fly, but you can't shoo away the germs it brought." The sanitation class is behind me, but I won't be eating the Taste hummus anytime soon.


Get a Link to Your Page in Our Members Link!

Pro Members! If you have a website or blog and link to Festivalnet.com, we will link to your site on our Member's Links page!

The Member's Links page is a great way to get more traffic and exposure to your site. It's a total win-win.

Before getting in touch to swap links, visit your 'My Account' area and click 'Affiliate Tools' on the right to get your code for linking to FNO. Once the link to FNO is live on your site or blog, let Julie know to get added. Be sure your website is listed in your 'modify profile' area. Also, if you do not see 'affiliate tools' in your account area, that means you are not a Pro Member or an affiliate, just get in touch to get started.

Featured Food Vendor:


FNO Marketplace:


Don't let deadlines fly by - Check our deadline reminders page!




FNO Advertising


Looking for Suppliers? Check here

Visit our newsletter archive for more helpful articles



Follow festivalnet on Twitter


Let Us Pay You!

We have a brand new Affiliate Widget page! Our new widget page gives you options with your specialized FNO Affiliate Number already in the code. We have tons of widgets to choose from, and have made it easier than ever to use. You can also access this page in your account by clicking on My Account, then click on your listed affiliate number.

Word of mouth is the best form of advertising, and we'd like to thank you for spreading the word about FNO. You could be earning extra cash just by referring fellow vendors or festival participants to FNO

Quick info about our affiliate program:

  • We pay $5 for each new pro member you send our way.
  • We pay quarterly via Paypal.
  • You may apply your affiliate credit towards next year's renewal.
  • Referrals can come in via word of mouth or through special tracking links you use in emails or online.
Be sure to hand people your business card or a custom FNO Affiliate Flyer when you refer them to be sure you get credit when they join as a Pro Member. If you want to learn more, go here - where you can print your own flyers to hand out (to do this, you must have an affiliate number, all Pro Members automatically have one, if you are a free member, you must request one).

We're always looking for articles about working in the festival biz: tips, ideas, techniques, & resources. Send to: news@festivalnet.com and put "FNO Newsletter" in subject line.

Unsubscribe from this list.

Tell your friends about FNO

If you need your user name and password, email info@festivalnet.com for assistance. To ensure delivery of this newsletter, please add news@festivalnet.com to your email address book. Thank you!

Copyright (C) 2012 FESTIVAL NETWORK ONLINE All rights reserved.
Join our Free e-lists! FestivalNetCom
our terms: site - marketplace |  privacy policy |  contact us
© FestivalNet 2017
P.O. Box 18839 Asheville, NC 28814