Haywood Cooperative Extension Center Offers NC Safe Plates: A New Case-Based Curriculum for Retail Food Safety Managers

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North Carolina Cooperative Extension has a new option for North Carolina food service managers wishing to meet the NC Food Code requirement calling for the person in charge during operating hours to be a “Certified Food Safety Manager”. North Carolina Cooperative Extension Food Safety specialist Dr. Ben Chapman at NC State University recognized that current food safety certification programs focus on technical practice and fail to address behavioral change and the culture around food safety. Using information from a job task analysis of retail food safety managers, Dr. Chapmen and his staff at N.C. Cooperative Extension developed a curriculum centered on case-based instruction and adult learning principals. Through these case studies participants will be trained on hazards, risk reduction steps and management strategies. Managers trained in NC Safe Plates create a work environment that minimizes food safety risks in their restaurants, cafeterias, and grocery stores through best practices, open communication and thoughtful practice. Participation in the Safe Plates program will prepare food service managers to complete the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals Food Safety Manager Certification Examination.  Food service managers successfully completing the exam will meet the 2013 FDA Food Code requirement for an American National Standards Institution approved Certified Food Protection Manager. Managers will also receive a certificate to display in their operation which will verify with local environmental Health Department that they are in compliance. The Safe Plates Program was piloted in the summer of 2014 with 200 NC Public School cafeteria managers and rolled out to N.C. Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences extension agents across the state last fall. Donna Brown with the Haywood County Environmental Health staff said: “we are lucky to have the N.C. Cooperative Extension provide this educational opportunity to food service employees. NC Safe Plates is an approved program which meets the NC Food Code requirement component of the food establishment’s inspection.”                                                                          Haywood Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, Julie Sawyer previously offered the ServeSafe® program in Haywood County certifying over 140 Food Safety Managers since 2013. Sawyer, who assisted in the 2014 Safe Plates pilot and rollout will be offering a two day NC Safe Plates class on Thursday and Friday, September 29 and 30, 2016 from 8-5 p.m. each day at the Haywood County Center on Raccoon Rd. in Waynesville. For more information or to enroll in the upcoming NC Safe Plates class call 456-3575 or email Julie Sawyer at: Julie_sawyer@ncsu.edu.