Archive for January 17, 2013
Food handlers are required by law to take a food safety course in many jurisdictions, and a food safety course is often a job requirement to have completed one. Restaurant work and jobs in commercial food preparation settings have strict sanitary standards. While cleanliness in the home is important, food is handled by many different parties and undergoes various trades in hands when in a commercial environment. You might not need a food and hygiene course for cooking at home. After all, even bagged greens have been cleaned and you do not have to wash them. In a commercial kitchen, there is much more to it. Most people feel they can identify undercooked meat when handling food. Bacon, for example, might stay pink because there are curing agents in it, even after it has been cooked at an adequate temperature. With a food safety course, you could learn the right temperature to cook it at.
Many food handlers and restaurants have a food handling certificate. In fact they are usually required by law to have one. This guarantees to the local authorities that they know how to properly handle food and pose a minimal risk to the general population. Food borne bacteria are dangerous. An estimate by the ERS put the annual economic cost of E. coli based infections and illnesses at about $478 million. People become ill and cannot work, putting a dent in the economy that can be prevented with the right food and sanitation procedures. Yet, many establishments do not adhere to practices taught in a food safety course and people sometimes get ill. Temperature is important to killing the bacteria. The challenge is that there is only one effective method of checking that food is safely cooked. That is using a food grade thermometer to check its internal temperature.
A food handling course should be the first course of action when deciding to work in the food business. It cannot hurt to take one even outside the business. There are many facets of food safety. These include avoiding botulism, present in many food environments. As there is a risk of botulism from honey, you should not feed it to infants under one year old. At the very least, a food safety course gives you knowledge and a certifiable skill. Knowing how to safely handle food and ensure the well being of others can come in handy down the road, especially when you might come across a job in the field.