Ever felt like someone was ripping you apart from the inside out? Did it feel like your intestines would come out if you got any more sick? Ever gotten that sharp pain on your side that made you feel like you were being stabbed? Well if any of these sensations sound familiar to you, you may have been afflicted with food poisoning at some point. Let me tell you, it is no fun! Food safety is a crucial component to our society functioning the way that it does. Without food safety, there could be many people harmed and possibly killed from tainted food. A course in food safety is absolutely necessary to prevent the spread of food borne diseases and learn how to properly handle food. For more on food safety, check out our course HACCP Food Handlers.
We’ve all heard of the CDC, the Center for Disease Control, but what exactly is it that they do? Who are they? The CDC partners with the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, to monitor food borne illnesses and trace them back to the source to prevent further outbreak. They also administer preventative training and impose safety precautions.
According to California state law, all California restaurants, bars, bakeries, hot trucks, markets and commissaries serving unpackaged food must have employees who passed a test in food safety. Senate bill 602 requires that every food handler who is part of the preparation, storage, or service of food has to take a food handler course and pass a test regarding food safety.
According to the CDC, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick and over 3000 die of foodborne illnesses. To reduce these foodborne diseases by just 10% would save 5 million Americans from getting sick and preventing one fatal case of E. coli would save about 7 million dollars. Not only will a food safety course help prevent illness and death, but it will also save tons of money. Knowing what you now know about sickness and death rates in regards to foodborne illnesses, aren’t you glad that food safety courses are required.
Where and how do you find these courses? Many are available online and each state has different requirements, so it is important to take the appropriate course. If you’re in Canada, be sure to take a look at our food safety course HACCPCanada Food Safety Training.
Food Safety Training
Foodsafetytrainingcourses.com is a site that offers a course and exam for managers that is approved by the American National Standards Institute and Conference for Food Protection for a cost of $85 – $125, depending on whether you want to take the certification test along with the food safety course. The course covers the fundamentals in about 8 hours, including food safety problems, regulations, and techniques to keep a safe food environment. The certification is valid for 5 years.
National Registry of Food Safety Professionals
The NRFSP, or National Registry of Food Safety Professionals, offers an online food safety course for employees through their website, nrfsp.com, called “First Principles.” First principles is also based on the FDA’s food code and is highly recommended for food handlers, preparers or servers in the industry. This course teaches regulations and requirements in food safety as deemed crucial by the FDA food code, literature in the field, and the practices of the industry.
This course is vastly different from the previous one in that it is for the employee, not the manager, it takes approximately 1-2 hours to complete and costs a whopping 12.95 online! There is also a 40 question assessment that must be completed within 30 days, scoring at least a 70%. This organization also offers an in-class course if that appeals to you more. Some of the major topics include contamination and cross-contamination, personal hygiene, cleaning and sanitizing, time and temperature control, potentially hazardous foods and conditions, and pests.
California Food Handlers
According to California Food Handlers, cafoodhandlers.com, they offer Basic Food Safety Training to food servers, preparers and handlers to keep the customer and the food safe. The 2009 version course they offer is in line with the FDA. The good news is that the training and testing are free, however, the certificate of completion, card, and badge will set you back $10! This course gives you a variety of options: video instruction, flash based course, instructional manuals, web-based tutorials, games & activities, and web links to outside resources. Upon completion of the course, there is a quiz to test comprehension of the materials. Once a student passes, they can then get their certificate upon payment.
The primary topics include food borne illnesses in regards to highly susceptible populations, food hazards, physical hazards, chemical and biological contamination, and potentially hazardous foods. In addition, there is a module on the three food safety defenses personal hygiene, temperature control and prevention of cross contamination. This course is a basic course for employees, not an in-depth, advanced one for professionals. It is not a manager’s course. This site offers a California course and also offers courses for other states in the United States.
According to ServSafe, on servsafe.com, they offer a course in food safety and handling. This course is approximately 60 to 90 minutes and consists of five sections. Food Safety, personal hygiene, cross-contamination and allergens, time and temperature, and cleaning and sanitation. Upon completion, you will then do an assessment. You must score a 75% or higher to receive a pass and a certificate of completion. The cost of this course is only $15.
State Food Safety
If you look at statefoodsafety.com, they offer a food safety course for both employees, or food handlers, and food manager training, for a supervisory role in food safety. In addition, there are courses that are state specific that you can choose from. One of the downsides of this program is that you only get two attempts to pass the certification test, whereas the other classes allow unlimited attempts. The course is ANSI accredited and will set you back $12.25. It takes approximately 90 minutes and the passage rate is around 70% so do not be discouraged. Further, not only is this course offered in English and Spanish, but it is also offered in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and American Sign Language.
Here are some things you want to remember. I have listed 5 food hygiene tips to keep in mind:
Avoid contaminating food with diseases and pathogens from people, animals, and pests.
Separate raw and cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination.
Cook foods for the correct length of time and at the correct temperature.
Store food at the appropriate temperature.
Use safe water and cooked materials in food preparation.
Food safety is a critical part of a successful and functioning society. For example, they have are now implementing food quality and safety standards in Brazil, in anticipation of the World Cup this summer. Additionally, they have just begun to rebuild the food safety industry in Qatar for the World Cup that will be hosted there in 2022. We now know that food safety is something to be taken seriously abroad and in your very own kitchen.
If you’re not interested in being an employee for someone else and want to be your own boss, check out our courses on how to Start Your Own Food Truck or Start A Home-Based Food Business. Either way, a food safety course will be highly beneficial and absolutely necessary to your business’ success.