Perhaps you read the heartbreaking story of a father who ate nacho cheese from a gas station and died from botulism.
Clostridium botulinum is the technical name for the bacteria that releases a toxin causing botulism. It is an uncommon, almost rare form of food poisoning. But is often universally deadly indeed.
Most of us have done it. We have grabbed a quick hot dog from a convenience store or gas station. We’ve picked up a quick salad from a grocery store deli. Perhaps we’ve grabbed some fruit from the grocery store and eaten it on the way home before washing it. All of these scenarios carry a risk of food borne illness.
Part of the reason there is food borne risk is that gas station attendants, convenience store attendants, deli attendants in small grocery stores are food handlers that are often under-trained. It’s not a great surprise. These hard-working people are often paid minimum-wage and work part time. The employer is operating a budget on a slim margin and is often more focused on a quick in and out sale. Serving food is only a minor part of their job description. Yet it is critical they know the fundamentals of food safety.
Clearly food handler training for this subgroup is important. But is the training convenient? Is it cost-effective? And is it mandated by any organization?
I was in a local branch of a national Grocer and “caught” an employee appropriately decked out with head, beard and glove protection. I was impressed. Not all facilities that serve food have the resources for such training.
DiningsafetyAlliance.org, through a strategic partnership with DiningGrades.com, is offering free online food server and food preparer courses in English, Spanish and Chinese. These courses have competency quizzes associated with them.
You can support this effort by visiting DiningSafetyAlliance.org and DONATE to this great cause.