Throughout the years as a Public Health Inspector, I have been instructing food handler training and certification courses and I’ve noticed two things: Many clients would have to take a day off work, usually without pay. They commuted hours to attend the session. I was amazed at the demand and need for the course, what astonished me even more… this was the norm! It was common (and expected) for clients to do this in order to get their food handler certificate! As I begin the course, I provide clients with a quick overview of the day and also provide clients with an opportunity for questions. The only question without fail at this point of the course are all related to when the exam will be taking place (i.e. the conclusion of the course). “When will we be done?” “When will we start the exam?” “Can I do the exam during lunch?” “Can we skip breaks/lunch and get through all the material and leave earlier?” [...]
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So far Samira Ali has created 15 blog entries.
Most food handlers and food safety professionals can almost all agree that the in-class food safety training and certification can be long, boring, and inconvenient. This is why people have decided to search for new options of becoming certified – ONLINE. Now the question remains “How do I choose the right course?” DO NOT CONSIDER COST AS YOUR MAIN DECISION FACTOR Have you ever heard the expression “ You get what you pay for”? When choosing an online course provider it is important not to only consider the cost of the course because you will be facing the same issues that you have tried to avoid – boring, inconvenient, cheap quality, poor development! You do not want to compromise your learning experience and waste your money. It is important to remember the food handler certificate is very necessary for gaining the essential skills required to prevent food borne illness. You do not want to be buy into the “cheapest course” advertisement scheme… because you [...]
2017 has been a busy year in food safety. The principal federal agency with regards to food safety is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA is responsible for inspecting and regulating federally registered food production facilities. CFIA also issues food recalls and removal of products from shelves. The CFIA classifies recalls based on the level of health risk associated with the food product being recalled. In 2017 alone the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued 155 recalls and issued close to $400,000 in fines! In recent weeks there has been a lot of media attention on food recalls and outbreaks of food borne illnesses such as: Deadly E. coli outbreak linked to romaine Dozens of brands of ice cream bars recall for Listeria Kirkland Signature brand All Butter Croissants recalled from certain stores in Ontario due to possible presence of plastic. PC brand Sweet Chipotle Prepared Mustard may be unsafe due to possible presence of glass Food handler knowledge is the key [...]
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Why is food safety important? That is a question you might not hear often. Depending who is being asked you might get different response. A stay at home mother might tell you “because I don’t want my kids or husband to get sick”. A food manger might tell you “because not taking care of food safety in a business environment can harm the reputation of the business”. Whatever the scenario may be, one thing is for sure, knowing about food safety can protect you. Unfortunately food borne illnesses are under reported which makes it seem like it is not a big problem. Thousands of people fall ill due to lack of food handler education and training whether at home or work. The food industry and customers are challenged by this lack of education from food handlers. In addition, a food borne illness can have dire effect on children, seniors, pregnant women and individuals who have compromised immune systems.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
The final blog in this series of food handler behaviour relates to clean hands. Food handlers should constantly be aware of their hand hygiene. Food handlers can prevent bacteria and other contaminates from building up beneath their nails by keeping nails clean, trim and avoiding wearing fake nails and nail polish. Additionally, jewelry that is on the hands and wrists should also be removed to allow effective hand washing. It is important to know that nothing substitutes handwashing when handling food. If gloves are used in preparing or serving food, hands must continue to be thoroughly washed prior to wearing gloves. Gloves must also be disposed of after each task. Hands must be washed using the 6 steps of hand washing: When to Wash Hands Before commencing work. Before, during and after preparing food. After smoking. After using the washroom. After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. After touching garbage, clearing tables or handling soiled objects. After break/returning to work. After changing tasks. After [...]
The third blog in this series is about snacking while handling food. Food handlers should eat in an approved designated break room. Snacking while handling food can trigger allergic reactions. Think about it, if a food handler is snacking on almonds while preparing a garden salad. Trace amounts of the almond remains on their hands. Although the garden salad doesn’t contain nuts as an actual ingredient, it would be enough to trigger an allergic reaction to the person consuming it (if they suffer from allergies) due to the traces on the food handler hands. Snacking also includes chewing gum. Chewing gum should be avoided in areas where food is being prepared. Saliva can accidently spray from a person’s mouth and contaminate the food or food contact surface. The chewing gum can also accidently fall into the food. Additionally, employee food should be stored in a designated fridge and labeled. Personal habits of food handlers can have a direct impact on the safety of food, [...]
The second blog in this series is about bad habits. Have you ever heard the expression “bad habits, die hard”? Well, its true! Bad habits can take several days, months or years to completely rid your self from them. However, when working with food these habits can results in serious illnesses. It is important to being mindful of bad habits when working with food such as: Playing/twirling hair Biting nails Snacking while working with food Touching around the face Improper handwashing/lack of handwashing There are many ways food handlers can be mindful of their bad habits. The first thing is to recognize that your habit can result in food borne illness. How can you recognize this? By gaining essential food safety knowledge. Food handlers must learn about safe food handling to ensure they are doing everything in their power to prevent food borne illness. The Probe It online food safety course provides food handlers with valuable knowledge that is needed when working with food. [...]
When handling food it is important that we recognize that unsafe food will not always appear as unsafe. Pathogenic micro-organisms will not provide a smell, a taste or colour. They are invisible and the only way to protect ourselves from them is by taking extra precautions when handling food. By ensuring food does not stay in the temperature danger zone for over 2 hours is a great way to ensure pathogenic bacteria does not reproduce to unsafe levels. The temperature danger zone is 4⁰C-60⁰C, within this range bacteria grows easily and rapidly. Remember keep food hot above 60⁰C and cold food below 4⁰C. Whenever you are in doubt of the safety of food, throw it out. The online food safety course provides you with the essential knowledge required in preventing food-borne illnesses. The online food handler course is not only designed for people working in the food industry but is beneficial for practicing food safety at home. Click on the online training tab to [...]
Is raw cookie dough one of your guilty pleasures? Do the kids love to lick the cake batter from the bowl and mixing spoons? Well you may want to re-consider giving in to these sweet temptations because of e.coli contamination! The CFIA has issued a recall first on Robin Hood flour, however it has spread to other brands. The main concern with the recall is the consumption of the flour in its raw/uncooked state. As well as the spread of the pathogen in the flour to other surfaces and equipment in the kitchen E.coli lives in the intestines of animals and humans. It is commonly associated with under-cooked beef, specifically ground beef it can also found in contaminated water. Its transmission can occur through improper cooking temperatures, cross contamination, poor hand hygiene and ill food handlers. However in this case, it is possible for the soil to be contaminated by an infected animal or rodent that walks through a wheat field and defecates [...]
Food handler certification is a great way to guarantee your customers get the best food possible. There are many benefits for the employee and the employer. We all know that being part of a food borne illness outbreak can have multiple negative outcomes. The best and most effective way in preventing food borne illness is by getting the proper knowledge to serve safe food. Food handler certification is required in multiple provinces across the country. A few benefits of the food safety training are provided below: Job qualification: Increase your likelihood of becoming hired. Obtain a provincially recognized certificate that is valid for five years. Learn how to prevent food-borne illnesses. Increase chances of passing inspection. Increase awareness of food safety. Decrease likelihood of causing illnesses or outbreaks. Increase customer confidence in your service. It is important to know that the responsibility to serve safe food belongs to everyone in the establishment.