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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ServSafe Certification: What I learned

Lots of people seemed surprised that school cafeteria managers have to be ServeSafe Certified.

Granted, the school cafeteria isn't a five star restaurant and a National Restaurant Association Certification seems a bit extreme. That being said, I'm actually glad my county requires it.

It was extremely educational. Of course, the likelihood that I will ever eat a a buffet or a pot luck again are extremely slim.

Here's what I learned:

I am even more thankful that I don't eat much meat. Other than Bacillus Cereus and Botulism, most of the food-borne illnesses have one common factor--improperly handled meat. Listeria (deli-meats, hot dogs and soft cheeses), E-Coli (improperly cooked beef), salmonella (poultry and eggs) all like to travel on the meat highway.

Potlucks and picnics are now a problem. Staph is everywhere and can only be prevented by practicing good hygiene. Basically, if the person who made the food didn't wash their hands they may be serving you a big helping of nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.

Flies = food-borne illness. Once you read the accompanying ServSafe booklet you will NEVER look at a fly quite the same. He might be carrying Shigellosis and must be eliminated.

Refrigerator placement is important. I never really thought about where things should be placed in the walkin. However, it is extremely important to keep foods with lower internal cooking temperature requirements higher than foods with high internal temp requirements. That means chicken is always on the bottom. No one wants raw chicken juice on their ready to eat veggies.

10-15 seconds under 100 degree water or hotter. That's how you should be washing your hands and trust me, I am a little obsessed! This should happen at the start of work, after you use the bathroom, after eating, handling raw food, touching your hair, your face or any part of your body, sneezing, coughing, taking out the trash, busing dishes, handling chemicals, smoking.....

I guess you get the picture.

Taking this course makes eating anything you didn't physical prepare and temperature difficult, but it also makes you aware of the importance of washing your cantaloupes, wrapping clean apples for service and recognizing the signs of an allergic reaction.

Here's hoping my results reflect how much I learned because I actually feel a little smarter.

Thanks for all your encouragement and support.

3 random thoughts:

Jenners said...

You may have just saved us a ton of money because now I don't want to eat out again. Actually, it sounds amazing that we don't get sick more often.

Kristie Maynard said...

Holy Stromboli! Sure is a lot to take in and I'm sure there is tons more. Who knew eating was so dangerous?!?!

Wendy said...

Ummmm...thanks for ruining my desire to ever eat again! I have to tell you I was reading this while I was eating breakfast this morning. My breakfast came from the buffet line in my hotel...I quickly lost my appetite! What am I going to do for breakfast tomorrow...guess I'll just have to eat M&M's!
<3 ya!

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I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some meant some comments.
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