Practicing Food Safety in a practical, applicable, scriptural way?! A wonderful challenge! The longer I live the more I realize that everything is in the Word of God. If it isn't apparently there, our Father will reveal to you through His Word the answer/solution to your problem, situation or inquiry.
"I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope." -Psalm 130:5 (KJV)
Hope is a real and living thing to us. It is what we walk in every day. In my effort to keep things simple and to keep things scriptural, I am amazed that it all comes together beautifully. Our Father is amazing that way.
There is a word that is at the heart of the most important and basic aspect of food safety - "wash". It's mentioned in scripture (depending on the version) up to 150 times. In the Books of Moses alone, it's listed almost 50 times. The saying "Cleanliness is next to godliness" comes to mind. Literally, it stood in between the people (even the priests) and the tabernacle. A priest could not enter into The Presence unless they had washed. (As an interesting side note, the bowl or pot for washing is defined as "properly something round, that is, a chafing dish for coals or a caldron for cooking". You could not get next to God unless you washed. As we walk in His presence in our job -- we wash. As the priests did -- we wash properly. (To read more discussion on this topic, see http://www.christianchefs.org/ubb/Forum9/HTML/000006.html) Let's agree that it is of basic importance in all we do. I instruct and reinforce on a daily basis the importance of the proper way of hand washing. I help that along by putting a "how to" poster on the paper towel dispenser. I encourage you all, if you haven't already done so, to go to a double-washing using a brush for washing the fingertips. We require this when first arriving for your shift and after returning from the restroom. When switching tasks, a regular 20-second washing is sufficient.
OK...hands are clean. Now what? Get to work! We all know that there is a multitude of things to do -- so how do we do it? First, work with an attitude of love. The bottom line in all we do is just that. We love what we do, we love who we serve, and we love our paychecks. Amen? Our attitude towards our job is resolved in how we show that love. How do we show how much we care about all those things we care about? By awareness, knowledge, and walking in it -- going with the flow.
As we are fed by the spring from within, satisfied by the water from the Rock, it becomes a river into which we plunge and go with its flow. We are told that our bodies are made up of mostly water, so it seems to me to be a natural extension of who we are...the ritual washing and the water that makes us grow. This is the flow that we can use daily in our quest for excellence and to show love by how we approach the issue of Food Safety. It is known as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, or HACCP (pronounced hassip). Many of you are intimately aware of this and incorporate it into your GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice Regulations) plan in your workplace. Now, some people still wince at the concepts and raise their hackles at the government trying to interfere with a person's creativity or sense of business as they want it. Okay, let's go to the Word. These concepts are:
1. Wise. In the world, the words wisdom, knowledge, insight, and power are used a lot interchangeably. In the Word, we know that wisdom is something that comes from our Father. Joshua was filled with the Spirit of Wisdom at Moses' laying on of hands in Deuteronomy 34:9. In Job12:13 "But true wisdom and power are with God; counsel and understanding are His." (NLT) All this to say, in wisdom realize that the other concept is...
2. From our government. Both the GMP and HACCP are based on law -- regulations defining and determining how we are to go about our jobs. As they relate to food, it's the U. S. Food and Drug Administration Food Code which is the basis for all the local and state health department regulations. As they relate to safety in the workplace, it's OSHA (and our local OSHA agencies)... and the list goes on.
To simplify, let's go to the Word. Read Romans 13:1-5. Read in Verse 4 "The authorities are sent by God to help you." (NLT) Check out the FDA Website and see that this is so. Why? Because we care. Hear also the words of Jesus our Master and their meaning when he said in Matthew, Mark, and Luke "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (KJV) In Mark, he adds "And they marveled at him."
Keep it simple. Let us marvel at Him and "Go With The Flow".