How to Test & Train for Food Safety

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Learning food safety provides a good base of knowledge for people who wish to work in any type of food service, but it is also a good thing to learn for at-home use, especially if you have any persons with health issues in your care. Culinary training often requires food safety as a prerequisite. Trade schools often have food safety courses; the courses can take place all in one day for a basic course, or can be longer for more extensive training and certification. You can take a course online as well.

  • Contact your local technical college or culinary school about courses they offer on food safety. Make sure you discuss what prerequisites it might require. The school may require a minimum high school level before you can take the course, and specialized training for food production and processing may require you to have college-level science credits Also, ask the school about the courses it offers in conjunction with, or as supplements to, the basic food safety courses. You can also find out through the school what your state and local laws are for food service and food safety certification.

  • Take the courses you require for the certification you need. The courses will cover personal hygiene, food preparation, sanitation and sterilization, food storage, stock rotation, and food-borne pathogens and their symptoms. For a basic food safety course, often the instruction and testing happen on the same day. Online courses may offer more flexibility about when you can take your tests, but classroom instruction provides opportunities to ask specific questions and have more discussion about food safety.

  • Practice your new food safety knowledge at work and at home regularly, to develop good food safety protocols. Keep a food safety guide handy for easy reference. Doing so will help you with any further food safety training you take later.

  • Discuss your plan to take food safety training with your current employer if you already work in food service. Most states require that any business that handles or produces food have employees trained in food safety. If getting your food safety certificate provides a benefit to your employer, the employer may pay for all or part of your training, or offer other incentives for you to take the training.

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