What Does a Certified Dietary Manager Do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A certified dietary manager oversees a nutrition program at a facility like a school, hospital, or prison. Dieticians can meet individual nutritional needs for those with special diets and concerns, while the certified dietary manager makes sure the program as a whole runs smoothly. This requires familiarity with food service topics, regulations, and safety concerns. Certification is voluntary but can increase employment opportunities, and may be required for some job openings. Typically, this requires meeting education or experience standards as well as passing an examination.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Administration of a food service program can be a complex task. One part of a certified dietary manager’s job involves hiring, training, and firing employees to suit the needs of the program. These may involve nutrition experts, food preparation staff, cleaners, and other support crew who make a kitchen and food storage facility run smoothly. Good communication skills are critical for human resources tasks like recruiting personnel and providing them with training on the job.

Organizing the food supply is also part of the work. The certified dietary manager plans menus, working with dieticians and other nutrition experts as needed. Meal planning requires the preparation of order lists for food distributors, and may involve some flexibility. For example, if a prison facility uses a farm to provide produce selections, menus may be dependent on what is harvested on a given day. Some facilities may have goals like using organic, local, or sustainable food in their facilities, which can require additional planning.

The certified dietary manager makes sure all food preparation and storage facilities are sanitary and comply with regional regulations. This can include checking temperatures in fridges, inspecting work stations, and conducting tests for pathogens to determine if contaminants are present. Institutional populations can be vulnerable to food-borne illness, making this part of the job extremely important. Control of cross-contamination can also be an issue to address people with severe allergies or religious dietary needs.

As the head of a department, the certified dietary manager may also be involved in budget and planning discussions for the organization. This can include disclosures about expenditures in the department and specific needs that might increase expenses, such as a requirement to replace outdated equipment. Like other managers, the certified dietary manager may need to participate in organizational meetings to discuss issues of concern and interest. Administrative work like preparing records for payroll, submitting bills to accountants for payment, taking inventory, and managing supplies also falls under this job position.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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