Extension system helping to keep food safe in Marengo County

Published 1:24 pm Monday, June 30, 2014

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 3,000 deaths and 48 million illnesses are caused by food borne illnesses in the United States each year, and the majority are caused by the mishandling of food in a restaurant or at home.

One case of food borne illness in an establishment can significantly damage an establishment’s reputation, causing a loss of customers and sales.

One way in which the Extension System aims to help keep food safer in Alabama is by offering the ServSafe certification program in each county across the state.

Email newsletter signup

ServSafe(r) is a program accredited by the National Restaurant Association and is the industry standard in food safety.

The certification course offered through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System teaches restaurant owners and managers about how to prevent food borne illness, safely store food, safely prepare food, maintain sanitary facilities and follow food safety regulations and standards.

The program is designed specifically for the managers of restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, schools and daycares. The intensive 14-hour course is spread over two consecutive sessions, ending with the certification exam.

Once certified, managers are issued a ServSafe certificate which can be displayed at their dining establishment.

This certification demonstrates concern for consumer food safety, and also fulfills state requirements. Because of changes to the Alabama food code, it is important to make sure that your foodservice establishment is in compliance with the current laws.

In 2010, the Alabama Department of Public Health began requiring foodservice establishments to have at least one person with ServSafe certification.

Regional Extension Agent Kristin Woods will be offering the ServSafe certification course July 23 and 24 at the Marengo County Extension Office in Linden.

The cost is $125 and includes the two-day class, ServSafe course book and certification exam. Woods is a part of a nine-member team of food safety regional extension agents who are certified to teach the course.

For more information about food safety certification, call or email Woods at (251) 753-1164 or WOODSKL@auburn.edu, or visit www.aces.edu/foodsafety. Interested participants should register for class at least two weeks prior to the class date.

Anyone who wants to rent the kitchen at the Marengo County Business Center (old National Guard Armory) will need ServSafe training.