Occasionally, local and national businesses that sell food to or process it for the public are in the news when consumers fall ill to tainted food. With proper training in food safety, food service managers or those who aspire to a managerial position can reduce the number of these incidents.
Food safety is important to a business because if health officials fail an establishment, it may be closed until violations are corrected. A no-pass on an inspection also gives the business a black eye in the eyes of the public. But more importantly, a failing grade on a health inspection means that the public’s health has been put at risk.
Managers certified in food safety have the task of monitoring daily food preparation so that their staff and workplace will be ready for that inevitable health inspection by the officials who regulate food handling. As a trained manager, your education will have taught why and how to compile a food safety inspection checklist.
That list makes it easier to maintain standards in the food preparation area. Your other responsibilities include taking steps to correct any potentially hazardous situation and periodically performing your own health inspection to ensure that employees are following safe practices.
The Food Safety Checklist
Among the many advisories on a customary food safety inspection checklist are:
- Clean hands in a separate sink that is clean and working properly.
- Wash hands in the hand washing sink that has soap, warm water and disposable towels.
- Wash fresh produce thoroughly under cold running water.
- Clean produce, alternatively, using chemicals designated in the 2001 FDA Food Code.
- Ensure that stored or prepared food is from approved sources.
- Prepare food in small quantities to minimize the time it is in the temperature danger zone.
- Label, date and refrigerate food that has been fresh cut.
What a Certification Class Teaches
In food safety certification classes, if you are an aspiring manager or a manager seeking re-certification, you will learn how to prevent foodborne illnesses in many environments. These may include restaurants, schools, child-care centers and assisted-living facilities.
Building on research by the FDA, the National Food Service Management Institute has formulated extensive guidelines for food handling. NFSMI also used input from the USDA to hammer out these standard operating procedures. By taking a certified food safety course, you will not only learn about these practices, but also about the requirements for the state in which you work.
Food safety classes cover personal hygiene and food preparation in the areas of food temperature control, preventing cross contamination, cleaning and sanitizing and how to cool foods to a safe temperature.
Some courses will also cover emerging trends. A new thing in foods is Reduced Oxygen Packaging. This packaging extends shelf life, makes food look more attractive and allows for the storage and reheating of food in the same package. In the ROP process, oxygen is removed from the packaging mechanically and replaced with another gas or combination of gases.
Many courses in emerging trends equip you as a manager to identify the physical, biological or chemical hazards that impact food safety. In noting them, you will know critical control points or when you should step in to prevent or eliminate a hazard.
As new hazards are identified, managers have to keep on top of current trends as well as remain knowledgeable about the older methods of safe food handling. A food safety certification course is the ticket to doing this. Sign up today for a course today that may make you a more valuable employee.
Food Safety: Standard Operating Procedures. Kathy Brandt. University of Minnesota Extension.