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Summary

In 2020, four (4) ServSafe® Manager Certification and two (2) ServSafe® Food Handler trainings were conducted by Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agents in Athens-Clarke, Morgan and Oconee counties. Participants must complete an exam at the end of each session and score a minimum of 75 to receive certification or a certificate.

Situation

More than 250 foodborne diseases present a significant public health challenge. In the U.S., per year, foodborne disease results in an estimated 48 million persons with gastrointestinal foodborne illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths (2010). Estimates for Georgia are 2.5 million cases per year at a cost of $4.7 billion (2010). Transfer of viral and bacterial infections through foodservice operations is of high concern. FDA’s periodic retail food safety risk factor studies document the need for improved food safety practices by workers; compliance with personal hygiene controls, temperature control and practices to prevent contamination and cross-contamination should be higher in most foodservice settings (FDA 2014). The American public continues to eat away from home in large numbers. In Georgia, there are more than 18,500 food service establishments (2016) having sales of $19.6 billion and employing more 476,500 people (NRA, 2018). In Georgia, 65% of children under the age of six are in the care of someone other than their parents while the parents work (2014). The staff in these facilities could benefit from food safety training. Georgia DCH regulates 2,024 personal care homes, 815 Community Living Arrangements, and 368 nursing home facilities (2016); the staff in these need food safety education. In Athens-Clarke, Morgan and Oconee Counties, there are 704 inspected food establishments, 15 personal care facilities, and 51 childcare facilities. The FDA Food Code requires that the person in charge of a foodservice operation become a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM). That person must be on site at all times during operating hours. A CFPM must show that he or she has the required knowledge by passing a test from an accredited program. Both the Georgia Departments of Health and Agriculture require food safety-certified managers for foodservice and retail food stores. A Center for Disease Control and Prevention study suggests that the presence of a CFPM reduces the risk of a foodborne illness outbreak for an establishment. The study also suggests it was a distinguishing factor between restaurants that experienced a foodborne illness outbreak and those that had not. In addition, the FDA’s Retail Food Risk Factor Studies suggest that the presence of a certified manager has a positive correlation with more effective control of certain risk factors, such as poor personal hygiene, in different facility types.

Response

The ServSafe® Food Safety Program is developed by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) to address the growing food safety concerns of consumers for the food service staff that serve them. This program provides foodservice managers and employees of schools, nursing homes, senior centers, deli’s, private clubs, and restaurants information on food microbiology, sanitary food handling and storage, HACCP food safety program, pest control, and safety procedures. The NRA’s ServSafe program leads the way in providing comprehensive educational materials to the restaurant industry. The training and certification program is recognized by more federal, state and local jurisdictions than any other food safety certification. Athens-Clarke County and Morgan/Oconee Counties Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agents collaborated to offer six (6) ServSafe® training opportunities. Fifty-eight (58) participants attended the trainings. 43% of participants currently work in a foodservice establishment and 57% are high school students enrolled in a Culinary Arts educational pathway. Furthermore, 79% of participants manage 15 or more workers and 89% serve 300 or more customers.

Impact

After the training, participants completed either the ServSafe® Manager certification exam or the Food Handler test to assess their knowledge of food safety and recommended food handling practices. Of the 58 participants among the ServSafe® trainings, 100% of attendees earned their Manager certification and the Food Handler certificate. As a result of the trainings, participants indicated they are very likely to improve these food safety practices: •100% train employees on personal hygiene and safe food handling •100% monitor cleaning and sanitizing practices for food-contact surfaces •100% perform continuous self-inspections •98% monitor employee use of food thermometers and temperature logs •67% monitor employee handwashing •56% use written standards for receiving foods from suppliers Foodservice personnel indicated in the post evaluations that “Instructors made the class interesting” and “Great new information”. As a result of these classes, participants can put into practice the new knowledge and keep food safe for Georgia.

State Issue

Food Safety and Quality

Details

  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: Multi-County
  • County: Morgan
  • Location: College Station, Athens
  • Program Areas:
    • Family and Consumer Sciences

Author

  • Aaron, Leigh Anne

Collaborator(s)

CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Dallas, Jacqueline H
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Extension Impact