How do I Choose a Food Safety Program?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 17 March 2018
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When choosing a food safety program, look for a school that is dedicated to either the culinary arts or public health and safety. Food safety training is mandatory in most states for anyone working in the food preparation industry. This ranges from a fast-food restaurant to a five-star haute cuisine establishment. Food-borne diseases are very common and can cause a range of illnesses, from mild stomach upset to food poisoning. The ability to properly manage this process is essential to overall public health.

One-day food safety training programs are intended for people who will be heating or preparing precooked foods. Employees of sandwich shops, fast-food counters, and prepared meal services are all required to complete a minimal training program. The primary focus of the training is how to avoid spoiling the food and reducing the frequency of food poisoning. When choosing a food safety program, look at the length of the program, target audience, and certification.

All culinary arts programs have a minimum of two full courses as part of their food safety program. These courses cover a range of issues, from food storage to selection of meats, fish, cheeses, and other raw foods. Training in how to spot food that is rotten, spoiled, or on the verge of being spoiled is a critical part of any chef school.

Public health inspectors and food services inspectors both complete an intense food safety program. Included in this program are courses in microbiology and safe levels of bacteria, fungus, mold, and other food contaminants. They are also trained to conduct laboratory tests on food sales to evaluate the level of bacteria and the steps required to reduce those levels.

When looking to complete a food safety program, always check the certification status of the school and the course. The level of certification required depends on the core requirement for a food safety program. In some states, there is a specific level of certification in food safety that must be completed and maintained annually to work in the food services industry.

Many food safety certificates expire after one year. A short refresher course is all that is required to maintain the current level of certification. These courses are available through community colleges and private training schools. Take the time to ensure that your food safety training is current to help prevent outbreaks of food-borne diseases.



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