Free Webinar to Improve Your Food Safety Management System

A free live webinar entitled “How to Take Active Control of Your Food Safety Management System” will be presented Tuesday, January 28, 2020 from 2-3 pm EST.  Captain Charles Otto, who is renowned for his contributions to the development of the FDA Model Food Code– along with a number of other advances in Public Health—will be presenting the webinar.  He can fit a lot into an hour!  If interested, be sure to register today!

Holiday Food Safety Tips!

We join the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in extending  a quick reminder of four important principles that need to be followed to keep food safe during your holiday celebrations. This Holiday Food Safety video is available in both English and Spanish.

In addition, the Georgia Poison Center has summarized those principles in a one-page handout that you can post or just keep handy entitled Holiday Food Safety Tips.

Enjoy your celebrations—while thinking Food Safety!

Need Food Safety Posters? Free Downloads Are Now Available!

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced additions to its resource bank of Food Safety posters and materials that are now available for download.  Proper Date Marking of Time-Temperature Control for Safety Foods and Proper Cooking posters are among the additions. These posters are available in nine different languages to help broaden the availability of important food safety guidance.

Visit the FDA’s Retail Food Industry/Regulatory Assistance & Training site for additional materials and ideas for training.

Food Safety Education Month Is Here!

A message from Food Program Manager Karen Gulley

Greetings during Food Safety Education Month!

During the month of September, we will be sharing information regarding new regulatory requirements and expectations in Georgia, along with reminders of basic food safety principles. A new resource entitled Food Safety Ninja will help with compliance in these areas. We give shout-outs to the Lake County General Health District (Ohio) for helping to make current food safety principles understandable in a fun and informative way.

Available in English, Spanish and Chinese, this project– which was funded by an FDA grant–uses short videos, narratives and quizzes, to explore proper date-marking (even when you’re freezing ready-to-eat foods), hand washing, chemicals, employee illness, cold and hot holding, reheating, and cooling. The site houses a wealth of information for anyone interested in food safety, especially food safety operators seeking tools for staff training.

Remember to always think food safety–and Happy Food Safety Education Month!

Can I Eat It?: Edible vs. Non-Edible Cake Decorations

Cake decorations with their attractive colors–and often shiny appearances– help make celebrations even more fun; especially during the holidays.  However, not all decorations are safe to eat.   The Food and Drug Administration has prepared a publication entitled To Eat or Not to Eat: Decorative Products on Foods Can Be Unsafe which provides guidance to consumers to help determine if cake decorations are edible or not.  In addition, this publication provides important reminders to commercial bakers that need to be adhered to in order to help keep consumers safe. 

A good rule of thumb to remember is that if you can’t determine for sure if a decoration is safe to eat, then, please don’t.

Best wishes for safe and happy holidays for you and yours!

Foodborne Illness Testimonials

by Casey Saenz, Environmental Health Specialist 3

Recently, at a monthly staff meeting, our Food Program Manager Karen Gulley played for us a video testimonial regarding a case of food poisoning that led to a fatality.  After the video, she said something that was very important for all of us to hear.  She mentioned that sometimes, we, as inspectors, forget the importance of the risk factors for foodborne illness that are assessed during inspections.  Since we check various food service facilities on a daily basis, it is important that we don’t minimize the importance of what we do to help prevent foodborne illness by allowing what we do to become too routine.  This is as important—if not more important– for operators of food service facilities to keep in mind.

Since September is Food Safety Education Month, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share a few foodborne illness testimonial videos to help remind all of us about those that count on us to keep their food safe and the importance of food safety.

Foodborne Illness Testimonial Videos Link:

https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/ucm608193.htm 

More testimonials can be viewed here:

https://goo.gl/XVm6AX

Happy Food Safety Month!

Cobb-Douglas Risk Factor Study Results

From March 2017 to April 2018, the Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) Center for Environmental Health conducted a Risk Factor Study of its food service facilities to help measure the success of the CDPH Food Program in reducing the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors.  For this study, about 290 food service establishments were randomly selected in the health district for assessment regarding the factors determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to contribute to the majority of foodborne illnesses:  food from unsafe sources, inadequate cooking, improper holding/time and temperature, contaminated equipment/cross contamination, poor personal hygiene.   In addition to a need to improve upon Employee Health Policy compliance being identified, the following were observed to have the highest percentage of non-compliance during the course of the study:  proper cold holding, cleaned & sanitized equipment, and personal hygienic practices.

Over the next few weeks, information regarding intervention strategies that will be implemented by CDPH to help improve compliance regarding these risk factors and public health interventions will be introduced.  The strategies are considered to be practical ways to enhance food safety.  There will be an opportunity for individual and facility recognition as well.  Stay tuned!