Why Food Safety Training is Important
Time and inadequate training are cited as reasons why food service workers do not follow safe food handling practices. In the commercial kitchen, there should be no excuse for handling food in an unsafe manner. Workers need to know why food safety is important and the only way to do that is through training. Here are several reasons why it is important to train staff in safe food handling practices:
- The workers are the ones actually handling food. Since restaurant staff are the ones actually handling and preparing the food, it is important that they do so in a safe manner. This protects both employees and customers from harmful bacteria.
- It is a health code requirement. Currently, the only restaurant workers who need to be food safety certified are managers, but the FDA Food Code does stipulate that all restaurant staff need to have a working knowledge of food safety. What constitutes “working knowledge” is left up to the local health departments to decide. Chances are the health inspector will ask employees what safety measures they are using and maybe why those measures are important.
- Reduce the risk of food poisoning. Person-to-person contact is the number 1 method for transfer of harmful bacteria. Workers who are properly trained in safe food handling practices will be less likely to be the source of bacterial contamination.
- Training helps with quality control. Food safety is a huge part of quality control and less food will be wasted due to spoilage or contamination when staff are properly trained.
- Behavior will change. The best way to ingrain proper procedures into people is to change their behavior. Training and regularly applying those food safety training principles will eventually change the way staff handle and look at food to the extent that safe food handling just becomes second nature.
- Employees can gain a better appreciation for their jobs. After so long, preparing food in a commercial kitchen can become monotonous, and employees may begin to question why they have to do things a certain way. Food safety training teaches workers why safe food handling is important. Once they realize that they are directly responsible for the health and safety of the customers, their jobs may feel a little less monotonous.
Where to Get Food Safety Training
Restaurant mangers could send staff to the health department or a local culinary school to get food safety training, but the best place to go is Servsafe.com. ServSafe is becoming synonymous with food safety training, and they even have the ServSafe Starters Program, which is a special area of their site dedicated to training restaurant staff.