As the pandemic coronavirus crisis unfolds, Active Food Safety has moved quickly to update EmergiProtect, its flagship food safety mobile application used by restaurant owners and managers. As we all know, the food service industry has been hit hard recently. As take-out and delivery service continues and as restaurants look to reopen their doors to the public in the future, proper food safety best practices are more important than ever to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Through a sponsorship agreement with GOJO Inc., the makers of Purell, Active Food Safety with Tyrannosaurus Tech’s expertise has added valuable content that restaurant owners and managers can use; to perform regular employee wellness checks for pandemic coronavirus signs and symptoms and to ensure proper disinfection for virus mitigation to protect customers and employees. In addition, in light of the pandemic, Active Food Safety has decided to make the app free on both Apple and Google Play app stores for any foodservice business to download.
Originally built and launched in 2017 by Active Food Safety using Tyrannosaurus Tech technology and designed by Joshua King, EmergiProtect is updated in real-time (i.e. users see the most up to date content without having to manually update the app) according to the most current guidelines from the CDC and FDA. The content was written to help the foodservice business by Dr. Hal King, Ph.D, CEO of Public Health Innovations (PHI); which together with Paul Hineman and other restaurant industry experts started Active Food Safety to help the industry with low cost food safety management systems. Hal is also a former USPHS officer at the CDC, a former officer in the Army Reserves Consequence Management unit (pandemic preparedness) and former Director of Food Safety at Chick-fil-A. Currently, Hal is a member of the CDC private sector partners. So, let’s just say, he knows his stuff when it comes to public health If you haven’t figured it out yet, Active Food Safety’s Product Designer, Josh King, is a relation to this proud father.
We sat down (remotely, of course) with Hal to get the scoop on their goals with EmergiProtect and how they plan to help stem the spread of pandemic coronavirus.
Hal, can you tell us more about how and why you’re updating the EmergiProtect app in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Many of the restaurant chains have public health professionals or food safety experts that work for them, but many franchisees and independent restaurant owners in the U.S. do not (about 500,000 locations). The two most critical interventions to prevent pandemic coronavirus are ensuring employees do not work when sick (by performing a wellness check for signs and symptoms), and when they do (e.g., when asymptomatic and feel well which is a huge risk with pandemic coronavirus unlike the flu) how to perform virus mitigation in the facility. Many retail foodservice and sales businesses don’t know this nor how to do it properly
Is it correct that you’ve decided to offer this app for free temporarily? Please tell us more about your thought process behind the decision.
Yes, because of the need to protect the public health while also helping these businesses continue to operate safely for their employees and customers – as restaurants are considered a critical asset to homeland security.
It’s great that Purell will be sponsoring the app. What is their role in all of this?
Purell has been a partner of PHI for many years (and many before then when I was at Chick-fil-A via co-branding products to keep customers safe – you might have seen the wipeoff germs dispensers of Purell wipes at a Chick-fil-A restaurant playground) as they produce products that benefit the public health. PHI and Purell have been working on a project to help the food industry reduce the risk of norovirus, which is spread when sick employees continue to work (see: Norovirus Hot Spot Program for Restaurants Launched by Purell and Public Health Innovations) so it was only natural to work together on this coronavirus update via Active Food Safety now. GOJO (Purell) has generously provided the funds to help us cover the cost of the update.
Do you plan to make future updates to the app if another virus or particular foodborne illness pops up and calls for a quick response?
We hope another one doesn’t come, but I believe this is the new normal (see this article on how we need to prepare nationally now) and we will be prepared to offer this and other mobile systems and resources wherever we see an opportunity to help.
Thanks for your time, Hal, and keep up the good work. Tyrannosaurus Tech is proud to work with you on these initiatives.