Perspectives on food safety by Christine Testa While I was a public health sanitarian in Michigan, as soon as I walked into a kitchen I could tell if the crew was well trained or not. One clear sign of a poorly trained staff is when they scatter away like cockroaches in a bright light, as I walked in the door.

Poorly trained employees are not confident. Food safety training is not as simple as telling the pantry employee to put gloves on or threatening to fire the cook because he continues to place the raw hamburger above the lettuce. In most cases, food safety training is conducted once as an employee orientation for a new hire.

Most often, employees are not informed of changes in food code regulations, new corrective action plans created to correct previous issues, and lower level food employees will never see the last inspection report from a health department official.

Before food safety training can be conducted, written standard operation procedures (SOPs) specific to the needs of the operation must first be developed. When writing standard operation procedures. It is best to focus on the Center of Disease control’s (CDC’s) five main causes of food borne illness.

The CDC’s five main causes of food borne illness are:

1. Unapproved food source

2. Inadequate cooking temperatures

3. Improper cold and hot holding temperatures

4. Inadequate cleaning and sanitizing

5. Poor personal hygiene Food safety training must be conducted throughout the entire operation and all hours of operation. It encompasses four major steps.

The first step is to assess the needs of the trainee. The second step is to provide the training. The third step is to monitor the trainee and the work area. The final and most important step in training is to get their feedback and provide corrective action when the trainee is not following standard operation procedures.