National School Lunch Week 2017: Communication

Part 3 of the Food-Safe Schools Action Guide encourages communication, which is important in all areas of food service. Communication with local partners, such as, school nutrition managers, school administrators, school nurses, emergency planners, and even students, is very important in cultivating an environment of food safety. Please see the food safe schools link for further information within the action guide on how school nutrition professionals are encouraged to communicate with various partners:

http://foodsafeschools.org/index.php/communicate/

– Submitted by Danielle Pierre, MPH Intern

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National School Lunch Week 2017: Action Sheets

To continue our discussion for National School Lunch Week 2017 (October 9th-13th), we will dive into the other two parts of the Food-Safe Schools Action Guide: ACT and COMMUNICATE.  The USDA Food and Nutrition Services’ Office of Food Safety suggests that after school nutrition professionals assess their current food safety efforts, they use action sheets to help build a framework for each area of focus. Action sheets may include, but are not limited to the following areas: training and education, employee health, produce safety, and managing food allergens. Please see the following link for a complete list of action sheets suggested by the Office of Food Safety:

http://foodsafeschools.org/index.php/assemble-a-team/

– Submitted by Danielle Pierre, MPH Intern

National School Lunch Week 2017

Did you know that The National School Lunch Program serves more than 30 million children every school day?  In 1962, President John F. Kennedy created National School Lunch Week to celebrate the benefits of the National School Lunch Program.  As a reminder to all school nutrition professionals, we want to emphasize the importance of your efforts to provide food safe schools—and say Thank you!

The USDA Food and Nutrition Services’ Office of Food Safety suggests that school nutrition professionals follow the three parts of the Food-Safe Schools Action Guide to create a culture of food safety within schools.  These guidelines can be applied to other food service establishments as well.  This week, we highlight the first part of the action guide, Assess your food safety effort: a review of the current safety policies, procedures, and programs and development of actions to improve current efforts.  [We will look at the other 2 parts next week.]

Please see the following link for the Action-Guide Review Checklist:

http://foodsafeschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/action-guide-checklist-fillable.pdf

Additional Links:

USDA Food and Nutrition Services: https://www.fns.usda.gov/ofs/food-safety

National School Lunch Week: http://schoolnutrition.org/Meetings/Events/NSLW/2017/About/

– Submitted by Danielle Pierre, MPH Intern

HELPING TO KEEP OUR CHILDREN SAFE VIA THE SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM

This week is National School Lunch Week.  As we recognize the school lunch program, we say farewell to Cynthia Downs who was the Executive Director of Cobb County Public School’s Nutrition program.  Ms. Downs retired last month after providing great leadership to the Nutrition Program staff since joining them in 1997. Emily Hanlin has, in turn, moved from the Douglas County Schools System back to Cobb where she first got her start to become the new Executive Director of the Cobb Program. With that change, Danielle Freeman has been promoted to the position of Nutrition Program Director for Douglas County.

S-A-L-U-T-E to all involved in the preparation and service of safe food to the thousands of children across our district!

FOOD ALLERGEN AWARENESS – FOOD SAFETY EDUCATION MONTH (WEEK 4)

We now turn our attention to the importance of food allergen awareness during this final week of National Food Safety Education Month.  Although some reactions to allergens in food are mild, many are severe and can be life-threatening.  Whether you are a consumer or worker in a food service establishment, please check out the facts, posters, and other tools provided by FoodSafety.gov to assist you with food allergen awareness and response.

Direct link:

https://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/allergens/

FIGHT BAC! HOME FOOD SAFETY MYTH BUSTERS – FOOD SAFETY EDUCATION MONTH (WEEK 3)

MYTH: Putting chicken in a colander and rinsing it with water will remove bacteria like Salmonella.

FACT: Rinsing chicken in a colander will not remove bacteria. In fact, it can spread raw chicken juices around your sink, onto your counter tops, and onto ready-to-eat foods. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry can only be killed when cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature, which for poultry is 165 °F, as measured by a food thermometer. Save yourself the messiness of rinsing raw poultry.  It is not a safety step and can cause cross-contamination! Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your food.

MYTH: I don’t need to clean the refrigerator produce bin because I only put fruit and vegetables in there. 

FACT: Naturally occurring bacteria in fresh fruits and vegetables can cause cross-contamination in your refrigerator. A recent NSF International study found that the refrigerator produce compartment was one of the “germiest” area in consumers’ kitchens. To prevent the buildup of bacteria that can cause food poisoning, it is essential to clean your produce bin and other bins in your refrigerator often with hot water and liquid soap, rinse thoroughly, and dry with a clean cloth towel or allow to air dry outside of the refrigerator.

MYTH: Once a hamburger turns brown in the middle, it is cooked to a safe internal temperature. 

FACT: You cannot use visual cues to determine whether food has been cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature. The ONLY way to know that food has been cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature is to use a food thermometer. Ground meat should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 °F, as measured by a food thermometer.

For more FIGHT BAC myth busters regarding home food safety, go to http://www.fightbac.org/food-safety-education/home-food-safety-mythbusters/top-10-myths/

A Safe Cooking Temperatures Reminder from the National Restaurant Association

During this 3rd week of National Food Safety Education Month, food service operators and consumers are reminded of the safe cooking temperatures required for foods that need to be time and temperature controlled in order to help protect against food borne illness.  Take a look at this short video from the National Restaurant Association as a reminder of the various categories of food and their respective cooking temperatures: 

Direct link to video: https://youtu.be/x7ujUPbMkNw