Serving Spencer with food safety
Tuesday, the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Office in Spencer will be conducting a food safety training course for food service managers. The class will be based off of the ServSafe curriculum and will conclude with a certification test.
Sarah Dirks, office assistant with the ISU Extension in Spencer, explained that the office tries to offer the course three times each year. Dirks went on to indicate that restaurants are required to have at least one ServSafe certified staff member on duty while serving food.
Tuesday’s course will be led by Renee Sweers, ISU Extension nutrition and wellness specialist.
“We live in a time when food safety hazards and risks are prevalent. Serving safe food is mandatory. This eight-hour program aims to train food service professionals about food safety requirements and the best practices to meet them,” Sweers said in a press release.
Sweers serves several Iowa counties and often collaborates with other Extension Office staff members when teaching the classes. Carol Larvick, University of Nebraska Extension Educator, has helped Sweers instruct classes in Sioux City on several occasions.
Larvick said that Sweers utilizes both lecture segments and hands-on learning.
“She will highlight a lot of important facts from the book, but she will also have several activities from the book for the class that will reinforce what she is teaching,” Larvick said.
Larvick indicated that this learning model not only teaches the students the facts of food safety but shows them how to practically apply what they learn in the kitchen.
“There will be a certification test at the end,” Larvick said, “That test has 90 questions. That actually goes back to the National Restaurant Association for them to score.”
Once a passing score is received, the student is officially certified.
“We get to brag because our passing test rate has been great for Spencer,” Dirks said.
Dirks said that interest in the course is fairly steady and estimated the course draws 10 students each session.
“We are here to serve our community. So, it would be a great service for your restaurants to have the latest food safety and precautionary procedures,” Dirks said.
Larvick agreed, noting that more than 50 percent of food related illness can be prevented by following proper food handling procedures.
“With the extension, our goal is to help people eat healthier and to not be sick from the foods they eat. When we teach restaurants, schools, child care providers, nursing homes or hospitals how to serve safer food, then we definitely help everybody do better because there’s a lot of people that get sick from eating food,” Larvick said.
Though the deadline to register for Tuesday’s session has passed, Dirks said the Spencer office plans to offer the course again on April 12. The course fee of $150 will cover all course materials, such as manuals, food and a practice test. Those interested in signing up for the course may contact the Clay County ISU Extension Office at 262-2264.