By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
Local and area restaurant managers can learn ways to further ensure food safety in their establishments through an upcoming class in Dodge City.
The ServSafe program provides food safety training, exams and educational materials to food service managers. Students can earn the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification, accredited by the American National Standards Institute and Conference for Food Protection.
The program blends the latest FDA Food Code, food safety research and years of food sanitation training experience. Managers learn to implement essential food safety practices and create a culture of food safety. All content and materials are based on actual job tasks identified by food service industry experts.
“We give information on food safety, and they always incorporate the FDA food code guidelines and food safety information,” said Ethel Schneweis, who will be teaching the class on June 17 at the Ford County Fairgrounds in Dodge City. “We want to include the principles and practices of food safety, and they have to know what the new codes are for that.”
Schneweis said food safety codes are updated on a regular basis and are incorporated as part of the ServSafe class.
“They try to include them within the ServSafe information,” she said. “We want to be sure that information is passed on to the food service personnel.”
Schneweis said ServSafe is not a requirement for restaurant managers, but rather an extra benefit.
“If they are inspected by the food inspectors that are in those areas, they may be asked if they have they attended or gone through any kind of food safety training,” she said. “They do recognize the National Restaurant and Hospitality ServSafe program as an accredited food safety program.”
A class schedule provided by Seward County Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Kathy Bloom showed many of the classes being offered throughout this year, including some offered at the same time as the one in Dodge City.
“This year, it just so happens that the date we chose for the Dodge City site, there’s a couple of other ones given at approximately the same time across the state,” Schneweis said. “Some locations have several that they offer, and Wichita is one of those.”
The June 17 class in Dodge will begin at 8:30 a.m., with sessions and information presentations taking place until around 4:30 p.m.
“They will actually take a test that is produced by the National Restaurant and Hospitality ServSafe program after they’ve gone through the material and through the book,” Schneweis said. “I send that into the National Restaurant Association, and they will grade it and let me know who has passed and who hasn’t passed. If they pass, eventually, they’ll get a certificate from the ServSafe program. The certificate is good for five years.”
Schneweis added in the past several years, an attempt has been made to offer ServSafe at least once a year in Southwest Kansas, normally rotating between Dodge City and Garden City.
“We tried to incorporate Liberal several years back, she said. “You have to be a certified instructor for the ServSafe program to actually present the information and to proctor the test. There’s only a few of us out here that can do that.”
Schneweis said the class basically covers different principles and practices of food safety, including food safety hazards.
“We talk about how to ensure safe food,” she said. “We talk about how the handler is one of the ways we incorporate food safety by the food handler themselves washing their hands, wearing gloves when appropriate, how to watch for temperature and time control for your foods, making sure you purchase from a reliable supplier, how to maintain cleanliness in your facility.”
To register, send a registration form along with a payment to Ford County Extension, 100 Gunsmoke, Dodge City, KS 67801, or call the Extension at 620-227-4542. Registration fees are listed on the form.
“This is just one way food establishments can show that they’re trying to maintain food safety within their establishment,” Schneweis said. “We welcome anyone to attend and sign up for the class.”