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.
Fifteen modules, available in English and Spanish, focus on the food safety areas that are most likely to cause foodborne illness and train-the-trainer resources help managers prepare. Madison’s Safe Food Advisory Committee (SFAC), nine experienced local restaurant and grocery store owners, piloted the program and helped insure that the modules would be useful to food operators. The modules are designed to take 15 to 20 minutes per training session and include a verbal presentation, teaching activities or demonstrations (hands-on), review questions, resource information such as videos and websites, and the food code reference. Each module also provides reproducible fact sheets or educational signs.
The recognition component of Safe Food Crew provides an opportunity for Health Departments to publicly recognize establishments that are participating in the program.
Operators are using the program and liking it. Over 200 establishments have requested program materials and several have already achieved public recognition. The Safe Food Crew training materials can be downloaded for free from the website at www.safefoodcrew.org.