Each year, December is observed as Worldwide Food Service Safety Month. Created in 1994 by the National Restaurant Association, it is a month designed to revisit standards in the food service industry and their impact on health and well-being.
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supports Extension program efforts nationwide that offer food safety certification through the ServSafe program.
ServSafe is a nationally recognized food safety certification, and many states require at least one person to be certified in each licensed commercial operation. The ServSafe Food Safety Training program is a leader in providing current and comprehensive educational materials to the restaurant industry. With certification trainings offered through Extension programs, thousands of people each year receive ServSafe certification. Recent impacts from ServSafe trainings conducted by Land-grant Universities include the following.
- As a result of recent ServSafe classes conducted by Extension educators at Auburn University in Alabama, 768 food service workers completed the certified food safety training. After completion of the rigorous exam, 591 individuals passed, resulting in a 77% passage rate, receiving certification good for five years.
- The University of Florida is conducting Extension programs with federal inmates that are designed not only to provide credentials useful or required for employment, but also skills and assistance that improve an inmate’s likelihood of being hired after release reducing their chances of being reincarcerated. Among the programs offered is ServSafe training. Recently, 80 participants went through the certification training program.
- Purdue University’s ServSafe training efforts, including Spanish and English and exam proctor-only activities, are contributing to the knowledge and certification needed for adults working in Indiana’s restaurant and food service industry. Last year, over 200 participants passed the certification exam.
- Southern University in Louisiana recently offered 12 ServSafe trainings and certifications across the state for 73 restaurant owners, mobile food truck owners, school personnel and new food business owners. A participant survey indicated that 100% of the participants gained new knowledge and skills and are putting knowledge gained into practice.
Top image: A gloved chef cuts salmon fillets on a large white cutting board. Courtesy of Adobe Stock.