Its Amazing What They Learn At Food Safety School!

Decorating By indydebi Updated 23 Feb 2011 , 7:49pm by Maria925

indydebi Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 10:57am
post #1 of 24

My hotel manager just returned from taking his first Food Safety Course. He grabbed me when I came in and started talking about all of the amazing stuff he learned .... and how he will never eat at these buffet restaurants again! icon_lol.gif

I said, "Do you now have a new standard of what "clean" is?"

Oh yeah! Definitely!

I'm always thrilled at the surprise people get when they learn what health-dept-clean really means! thumbs_up.gif

23 replies
Karen421 Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 1:13pm
post #2 of 24

What surprises me is that he is a hotel manager, and is now just taking his first Food Safety Course. You would think that it would be one of those "need to know" things on the experience or the education side of the your resume'. icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 1:18pm
post #3 of 24

Let me clarify .... we are not a full-service hotel. No on-site restaurants, no room service, etc. We serve a free breakfast for a couple of hours, then clean-up-and-close-down the kitchen. We serve a free dinner (hot dogs, hot wings, baked potatoes, salad, chips/pretzels .... simple stuff) for a couple of hours then shut it down. Trust me .... its a very simple operation and nothing like what I'm pretty sure you're envisioning! icon_biggrin.gif

A hotel manager doesn't have to be food certified. (A food manager does.) I think its awesome that he went out and got his certification when he really didn't have to (he has me and two other people on staff who are food certified at the manager level), but I was still having fun watching his reaction to the little details that is taught in the class! thumbs_up.gif

I personally think everyone should be required to take the class before they are allowed to graduate high school! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Kitagrl Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 1:26pm
post #4 of 24

I don't like eating at buffets anyway. YUCK.

Occther Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 2:13pm
post #5 of 24

I agree, Deb. At least everyone who plans to work in or manage a food service business should be required to take a food safety class. It is optional in Ohio - and I didn't take it until after I closed my coffee shop and started catering. Although, my coffee shop/cafe was very clean and passed inspections, I learned a lot.

Yesterday, I ate at the cafe owned by the people who purchase a lot of my equipment and used a lot of my recipes. Their kitchen area is open so you can see what is being done. I was appalled to see employees without gloves and hairnets. One teenager was standing by the food prep area eating soup with a spoon while she was prepping food!!! Amazing what they can get by with - that I was never allowed when I had my shop.

gscout73 Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 10:24pm
post #6 of 24

We have requirements here in FL. But what is amazingly emberrassing is we here in the US have this delusion that we have high standards... when in reality we really don't. icon_sad.gif

Occther Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 11:06pm
post #7 of 24

I agree gscout!! Has anyone watched either "Kitchen Nightmares" or "Kitchen Impossible?" I really hope the food in their coolers is just for drama and not real!! It is rather frightening how poorly regulated the restaurant industry is - and then they have the audacity go after home bakers!! I would be willing to bet, the majority of home baker's kitchens are cleaner than a lot of restaurants!! I know mine is - even if I have two little dogs!!

indydebi Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 11:08pm
post #8 of 24
Originally Posted by gscout73

We have requirements here in FL. But what is amazingly emberrassing is we here in the US have this delusion that we have high standards... when in reality we really don't. icon_sad.gif

That's my "concern" when I hear statements such as "My kitchen is as clean as any restaurant." Each person has their own standard of clean. At least with these classes and HD inspections, the "personal standard" is removed and there's one "standard" standard.

Plus home refrigerators are not designed to meet health dept standards (something that really ticks me off!). Eggs are stored above foods in the door; meat drawers are at the top of the 'frig; veggie drawers are at the bottom of the frig. I mean do the people at GE and Frigidaire know anything about food safety???? icon_eek.gif

zespri Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 11:39pm
post #9 of 24

indydebi, have you stopped being a full time caker? That's such a shame!

Evoir Posted 20 Feb 2011 , 11:44pm
post #10 of 24

Debi - I am so glad you posted this topic today. I am currently on a mission to help cake decorators in home-based businesses in Australia increase their skills and knowledge base about food safety standards.

I urge everyone here on CC to take an hour or so of their time to simply access free seminars on YouTube about HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and USE these principles to both set up their workspaces and also OPERATE their business in a food safe manner. No, your state may not require you to be HACCP-certified. But if you are baking cakes using eggs and decorating using eggs and dairy products, then you should be familiar with what is expected of you. Because these things are high-risk food products.

HACCP is s system of identifying risks DURING the production process, to ensure a safe end product and to minimise the likelihood of food poisoning and (thereby post-hoc lawsuits etc.). It is in your best interests to know this stuff as a decorator, even if it is a voluntary code of practice where you live.

I am currently refitting my cake room and enacting all the food safe shop design principles, and will operate as I do with correct record-keeping and scheduled cleaning. Quite simply, it is a way to ensure the products you sell are safe, and thereby ensure the success and longevity of your business!!

If anyone would like to read more about this sort of stuff I would be happy to point you in the right direction, as it is somethig I feel passionate about. Probably because I am also a health care professional, and I have a compromised immune system.

CreativeCakesbyMichelle Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 12:06am
post #11 of 24

I can attest to some of the poor conditions in restaurant kitchens. I work as a server in a nationally franchised restaurant and I won't eat in our restaurant. I even called and anonymously reported our restaurant for violations. Health inspections are a joke. I have worked in two different locations of the same restaurant franchise and seen numerous violations in both that the health inspectors never seem to catch. And when the inspectors do go out and make thier rounds for inspections, the first restaurant they hit calls all the other restaurants in the area to warn them. It completely defeats the purpose of doing the inspections because then the managers just run around and fix the violations before the inspector gets there.

indydebi Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 12:17am
post #12 of 24

Oh marilyn that is so sad! My experience with our HD inspectors are that they are pretty top notch. I always loved seeing my HD inspector come around! And I've met the one that handles the hotel ..... she's pretty top notch, too.

LindaF144a Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 12:29am
post #13 of 24

I just finished taking probably the same 2 day course also. The one I took is at the manager level and when you pass the test, you are certified for 5 years and it is good nationwide.

I learned a lot. But also unfortunately there was a lot on the test that was not covered in class. There were an inordinate high amount of questions on how to handle employee's medication and that was not even discussed in our training.

And there were a few questions I knew the answers to only because I have been doing my own independent research on what is needed in a kitchen before I sign a lease on one already built. Otherwise I would not have known the answers because that too was not discussed in class. Not everybody who takes that class is opening their own restaurant/cafe/bakery. I was the only one in my class doing that. Everybody else were corporate clients - Tim Horton's, McDonald's, etc.

I sure hope I passed. The book from the FDA is about 5x8 and 2" thick. They have to touch on all of that in 2 4-hour training sessions. Things are bound to not be discussed. But by far the one that asked how many "foot candles" are the minimum lighting needed to prep food was the weirdest one. I bet you the two girls behind me from Tim Horton's have absolutely no say in making sure that was built into the building before they worked there. At least the gal teaching the class took 5 minutes to talk about it, and even then she said the only reason why she was is because she had seen it on past tests. I mean seriously, can't we be tested on what is important?

lilmissbakesalot Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 12:45am
post #14 of 24

I think they need to make an abridged version of the ServSafe class for bakers. Don't get me wrong, as one who is fascinated with microbiology, learning about it all was interesting and all, but I am never going to need to know about the dangers of handling raw shellfish as a baker. icon_wink.gif

indydebi Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 12:47am
post #15 of 24
Originally Posted by lilmissbakesalot

I think they need to make an abridged version of the ServSafe class for bakers. Don't get me wrong, as one who is fascinated with microbiology, learning about it all was interesting and all, but I am never going to need to know about the dangers of handling raw shellfish as a baker. icon_wink.gif

I agree with that. The shellfish portion was the hardest part for me to absorb because it didnt' apply to me. Even tho' I am/was also a caterer, I didn't have any fresh seafood on the menu. But it WAS interesting to learn about all of the bookeeeping that was required for fresh fish handlers!

jennicita Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 10:52am
post #16 of 24
Originally Posted by gscout73

We have requirements here in FL. But what is amazingly emberrassing is we here in the US have this delusion that we have high standards... when in reality we really don't. icon_sad.gif

I grew up in the States and left when I was 21. I remember getting food poisoning from restaurants as a kid or my parents telling us no, we're not going there, we got food poisoning last time. And we really didn't go out to eat very much.

I've been living in Germany for quite a few years now and I think I remember a friend once mentioning that they got food poisoning at a restaurant. But that's it. No personal experiences - no horror stories. Standards are really much higher here and food poisoning is a very rare occurence. Here you also have far fewer large chains and many more individually-owned and operated restaurants where the owner takes pride in the reputation of the restaurant. You also find far fewer students working to earn a few euros - the majority are professionals who have gone through extended training and plan to do this the rest of their lives - whether it be serving or cooking. The system seems to work well.

I really don't think twice about eating out here and am glad I don't have to.


lilmissbakesalot Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 4:58pm
post #17 of 24

I can see hoe as a caterer they would want you to take the full class... some caterers I'm sure do deal with shelfish on a regular basis.

As a baker... and especially a homebaker... a solid 75% of the ServSafe class had no practical application.

wyovol Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 5:33pm
post #18 of 24

We stopped eating at buffets when DH defended a couple of them in lawsuits (he was the attorney for the insurance company). Once he got a behind the scenes look at how food was handled....well....we haven't been to a buffet since....

I think that it would be good for everyone to take a serv safe class at some point. One of my good friends is a former health inspector and I've picked up some good pointers from her over the years.

Loucinda Posted 21 Feb 2011 , 9:32pm
post #19 of 24

The inspector that came to certify my kitchen asked me those types of questions, and looked in my refrigerator too - (yes, my thermometer was in there), and he even commented on how I had things stored in there properly. I have always been around a restaurant (MIL managed one of the top ones in our town for 30 years) so I know a lot about the food safety issues. I know of several storefront bakeries that I have been in, and I do NOT see how they pass inspection. I agree, I think a version for "just bakers" would be very beneficial.

dchockeyguy Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 3:05pm
post #20 of 24

While I've never liked buffets or salad bars, I have been known to eat at them in the past. However, after getting food safety certified, I will NOT eat at those places anymore. Also, I stopped eating certain things even from sandwich shops too.

LindaF144a Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 3:12pm
post #21 of 24

Not to mention the fact that there is too much food in a buffet. My in-laws feel they have to go back several times to get their money's worth. I stopped eating at buffets when I went on a diet and have not gone back. Now on top of that, there is all this other stuff we have learned. It makes me glad I stopped going a long time ago.

bakingpw Posted 22 Feb 2011 , 9:14pm
post #22 of 24

I learned so much form the food safety course! I do remember a time the health Dept. inspector came to my bakery and asked me to explain the steps to proper cooling/storage of cooked shrimp. I told her something more applicable to a bakery would make more sense (though I knew the answer). She asked me for an example to ask bakeries! I suggested maybe asking about the proper cooling and storage of pastry cream or some scratch filling. She left excited to have a new question for bakers - geeze.

cakelady2266 Posted 23 Feb 2011 , 6:49pm
post #23 of 24

I am strictly a cake and desserts not food-food business but I had to take the Servesafe course and test back in the fall. It was very interesting and informative to say the least. We spent a lot of time on the foodborne illness names, symptoms and whatnot. But the test covered very little of that and there was more on things we barely covered. But anyway I passed.

Sometimes I have to deliver cakes through the kitchen entrance and people I tell you what's the truth I wouldn't eat at some of these places if someone was holding a gun to my head. It seems like some of the "high class" establishments are often the nastiest.

After taking the course I didn't think any food was safe anymore. We got to talking about e-coli in lettuce and spinach and the instructor told us it was caused from cattle pasture run off getting into the vegetable fields. And since produce is often consumed raw it doesn't seem like anything is safe anymore.

Maria925 Posted 23 Feb 2011 , 7:49pm
post #24 of 24

I have worked at about a dozen restaurants in Florida & Arizona. Some were national chains you would recognize and some were locally owned. At every restaurant we ALWAYS knew when the Health Inspector was coming. I cannot recall a single time when we were "surprised". It was always a joke among the employees because we would do things we wouldn't normally do. Like I would see someone putting lemon slices on ice and I would know "oh the health inspector must be coming today". Seriously...this was not a one time was a regular thing (and again this was every restaurant I worked at). Granted these probably weren't major violations or anything, but the point is that just because there is a health dept doing inspections doesn't mean safety standards are being observed.

Oh and cakelady...I watched "Food Inc" and was pretty much horrified over food production. It is a great documentary!

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