Special to the Reporter

Statistics indicate that foodborne illness continues to be a health issue in the United States.  Each year, one in four Americans will become sick, one in 1,000 will become hospitalized, and 5,000 will die due to a foodborne illness. 

If under the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) jurisdiction each food establishment is required to have one certified food manager on site.  

Many of you have already received a letter from the Texas Department of State Health Services regarding this.  Under these new rules, each food establishment permitted by the Texas Department of State Health Services must have one certified food manager.  New food manager certificates will be valid for five years. 

Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Somervell County, is offering a food manager certification training course.  This program will be offered for $100 on Tuesday, July 21, at the EXPO, 202 Bo Gibbs Dr., Glen Rose, Texas.  Cost includes training, materials, and the State food manager certification examination.  You must pre-register so that adequate course books and tests are available.  To pre-register, go to http://foodsafety.tamu.edu or call 254-897-2289 or 817-579-3280 to request a registration form or go by my offices at 1405 Texas Drive, Glen Rose and 1410 W. Pearl St., Granbury.

This program is designed to not only prepare foodservice managers to pass the certification examination; it will provide valuable education regarding the safe handling of food.  Almost 50 cents of every dollar Americans spend on food is spent on meals prepared away from home.  Therefore, careful attention to food safety will help keep customers safe and satisfied.

Foodborne illnesses are estimated to cost thousands of dollars in lost wages, insurance, and medical bills.  With these statistics, knowledge of how to prevent foodborne illness is essential.  The benefits of improved food safety include:

• Increased customer satisfaction

• Improved relationships with health officials

• Prevention of bad publicity and law suits due to foodborne illness

By attending the course, foodservice managers will learn about:

• identifying potentially hazardous foods and common errors in food handling

• preventing contamination and cross-contamination of food

• teaching and encouraging personal hygiene for employees

• complying with government regulations

• maintaining clean utensils, equipment and surroundings

• controlling pests

Foodborne illnesses can be prevented by following simple food safety practices.  For more information about the Food Manager Certification Training course of Texas AgriLife Extension Service, called “Food Safety: It’s Our Business,” call Beverly Greenhill at 254-897-2289 or 817-579-3280.