Go ahead and order that rare steak, just don’t say your menu didn’t warn you.
As the now-familiar small print warns, consuming raw or undercooked meat increases the risk of contracting food-borne illness.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the food supply in the United States is one of the safest in the world, food-borne diseases nonetheless are responsible for 76 million Americans getting sick, more than 300,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths each year.
Professional kitchens work hard to balance flavor and food safety.
"Generally speaking, good food safety practices mean good quality," said Marion Turow, who teaches food safety at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., considered the premier culinary college in the United States. "By not holding something on a steam table for six hours, you’re going to have better quality food and better safety."
The state of Delaware, however, does not require restaurant operators or workers to pass the ServSafe test or otherwise be certified in safe food-handling practices, Delaware Online reports.
When Florida legislators passed a law requiring every food handler be trained in food safety before working with food, food handlers have had few options to gain their food handling license. Only within the last few days has that training been made available online.
“Quite frankly, many of the people who need this training don’t keep normal hours,” said Bill Vear, Vice President of Hospitality with 360training. “They’re all working while we’re getting ready for bed. Classes during the day simply don’t work for many of them.”
But through a unique partnership between Glogerm and Learn2Serve (www.learn2serve.com), Environ Health Associates’ “Food Safety First” training course can be delivered via the internet, effectively eliminating the problem of conflicting work schedules.
“This is the best way to properly train the people who touch our food,” said Vear. “Online training is cost effective, easily accessible and doesn’t put an undue burden on business owners.”
Elena Brown of Denver Business Journal reports on Jill Paradis, who runs Denver-based Culinary Translations, a food and kitchen safety training course for restaurants workers, primarily for those who speak only Spanish.
“I let the staff know their job isn’t just about prepping veggies,” Paradis said. “It’s about keeping people healthy.”
The restaurant industry is concerned about food safety, and as the Spanish-speaking work force grows, so does the need to teach them about food safety practices, said Paradis.
The Madison Department of Public Health (MDPH) has developed Safe Food Crew, an exciting new food operator training curriculum and recognition program, through funding from an FDA Innovative Food Safety Grant. Food establishment operators commonly complain that they cannot afford to send staff to outside training. The free Safe Food Crew curriculum is specifically designed for use by food operators to train their staff within their own establishment, on their own schedule. Health departments will find this tool useful when dealing with operators who are in need of training materials; establishments that can carry out effective in-house training will require fewer public health resources.