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Food safety is especially critical in retail food establishments because this may be the last opportunity to control or eliminate the hazards that might contaminate food and cause foodborne illnesses. Even when purchased from inspected and approved sources, ingredients may be contaminated when they arrive at the food establishment. It is important to know how to handle these ingredients safely and how to prepare food in such a manner that reduces the risk of contaminated food being served to your clients.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is one of the federal agencies that is responsible for protecting our food supply. The Agency recognizes the importance of proper food handling in retail food establishments. It recommends that retail food managers be able to demonstrate knowledge in food safety.
Food safety in retail food establishments begins with managers who are knowledgeable about food hazards and who are committed to implementing proper food handling practices in their facility. It continues with properly trained food workers who understand the essentials of food safety and sanitation and who will not take short-cuts when it comes to food safety.
The authors of thistextbook have been training retail food managers and employees for over 25 years. Many excellent resources are available for this type of training. However, the authors wanted to create a curriculum that was versatile enough to serve all segments of the retail food industry including restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, institutional facilities, and vending companies.
The Essentials materials have been proven effective for teaching food safety and sanitation to many different audiences. The authors recommend the textbook and study guide for all of the following training activities:
One of the most important tasks you face is to train and supervise food workers. Your knowledge is useless if you do not teach employees the correct way to handle food. Learn to recognize any break in standard operating procedures that might endanger food safety. Avoid the problems related to embarrassment, loss of reputation, and financial harm that accompany a foodborne disease outbreak.
Some state and local jurisdictions have passed legislation to require certification of one or more food managers in each establishment. Other jurisdictions are considering doing the same. Most certification programs require candidates to pass a written examination to demonstrate knowledge of food safety and sanitation principles and practices. Some jurisdictions require completion of a food safety course before taking the exam.
Several different examinations are available for certification. In some cases, state and county regulatory agencies have developed their own examinations that apply specifically to their jurisdictions. There is, however, growing support for a nationally recognized examination and credential for food safety. If a national test is recognized by local agencies, a local examination might not be the better choice.
The Conference for Food Protection recognizes food protection manager examinations from the following providers:
Contact information for these groups is listed in Chapter 1.
When you want or need to become certified, check with your local regulatory agency to learn what they require. If you are pursuing a degree in hospitality management, culinary arts, or a related field ask your teacher or advisor for information and recommendations.
The team of McSwane, Rue, and Linton wanted to produce a book to accompany the FDA's model Food Code. We trust that you will find this text accurate, comprehensive, and, most of all, useful.