Preparing and serving food is about more than making it look good and taste good. They must also be safe to eat.
There are well-defined rules for preparing and serving food safely, so to prepare and educate people, the Prairie Oasis Seniors Center held a food preparation safety course on Saturday.
Taught by retired food safety inspector Brad Kelso, the course consisted primarily of the center’s kitchen staff, as well as a few outsiders seeking food safety certification.
Anyone can teach the course, Kelso said, but he said he enjoys it because he has the education and decades of real-world experience that he can relate to the course material. This course is recognized by Manitoba Health, as well as required by Red River College and Assiniboine Community College for their Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management courses.
It also helps others keep up to date with Canadian rules and regulations. Kelso said one of his biggest clients is Westman Immigration Services, and he’s willing to give his clients extra help so they can educate themselves and pass exams for their certification.
Businesses and provincial government agencies like Prairie Mountain Health can require staff to complete training, Kelso said, but Manitoba is the only province that doesn’t require food safety training before someone can open. a food-related business.
“It’s been a sticking point for people like me. The government has said for many years that it will change the regulations, but it never has,” he said. “Winnipeg had it in their bylaws long before Manitoba. All the other provinces have in their bylaws that there has to be someone on watch with food safety training and certification.”
The course involved going through a series of chapters in an easy-to-read manual, along with videos demonstrating everything from preparation to different types of foodborne illness. Kelso also recounted many personal experiences during his long career investigating cases of food poisoning and working with everyone from government agencies to cruise lines.
The original idea was for Kelso to come and teach the center’s kitchen staff current good practices in food handling and kitchen management, center director Amanda Fast said. However, in order for the class to run, they needed a minimum of 10 people, so they opened registration to the public and places were quickly filled.
As restaurants open and look to hire staff, many will seek safety training from applicants. Fast said food industry officials also want to give themselves a refresher course as kitchens and dining rooms get busier.
This is a good course for anyone to not only get professional cooking training, but also learn about safe food handling for themselves when preparing meals for large private gatherings.
The center runs Meals on Wheels and Everyone Eats Brandon out of their kitchen, so it is in their interest to keep staff up to date with kitchen safety rules so they can direct anyone entering to use the kitchen to prepare food for his customers.
“There’s a lot of interest from people who want to cook for big functions like church potlucks, and they might not be aware of all of these specific food safety rules,” he said. Fast. “We have a number of volunteers who come in to cook, and we want all of our staff to have the knowledge to answer any questions they may have about the rules.”
Getting into the food business was a scramble for some participants like Elizabeth Morrow, who works on the operations side of the center, and she wanted more training to be safer.
She has her own food business and uses the centre’s kitchen to prepare food. So she wants to know more about safe handling practices.
“I was a bit surprised when I started doing my side gig and found out that I didn’t need to take it because it wasn’t mandatory,” she said. “But they’re now saying at least one person should have it. I’m my only employee, so I feel like I have to take it.”
Morrow added that she found the course easy to understand and follow. Most of the information was in simple terms she could relate to.
Even though some food franchise companies have their own regulations.
Jaydeepsinh Mahida said that as one of the managers of Pizza Pizza in Brandon, food safety certification is the most important aspect of their job. The company offers in-house food safety courses, but he found the course very useful, especially in terms of hygiene and food preparation.
“When we make pizza, food safety is our main concern,” he said.
Its co-manager, Kushang Patel, said they are considering offering this same training to their delivery drivers as an option for the safety of their customers and staff in general.
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