Food Safety

March 9, 2011


On Monday I took an all day manager’s food safety seminar, sponsored by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and The Golden Gate Restaurant Association. Each restaurant in the city must have a least one manager that has taken the class and we pay to attend.

While we have several managers at Waterbar and Farallon with certification, it had been a while since I had taken a class. Continually reading up on food safety and being inspected on an ongoing basis, I felt I knew a lot but I that it would be a good idea to have a refresher.

We reviewed the different kinds of food borne illnesses, how to handle food safely and proper storage of foods. Much of the information was technical- minimum temperatures required for hot water and refrigeration, internal temperatures for cooking and for holding both hot and cold food.

Two things impressed me about the class. One, the participants asked interesting and technical questions. Chefs really want to do the right thing when it comes to preparing food. No one is trying to take short cuts.

Second, Mohanned, our teacher who is a health inspector, was a nice guy who taught dry material in an engaging and entertaining way. Most restaurant people cringe when the health inspector shows up unannounced. It’s as though he is out to bust us. In actuality we are all after the same goal. It doesn’t mean we aren’t relieved when he leaves and we get the passing certificate but his visits aren’t something we should dread like going to the dentist. He works with us to keep our restaurants clean.

At the end of the day we took an 85-question exam. It was a state certified test where you filled in the circles with a number 2 pencil. Not having taken a test besides my DMV license renewal in years I had a bit of test phobia, but all turned out ok.

When the class was over we gave Mohanned a round of applause. We all had a good laugh as he doesn’t get much appreciation. More often he gets dirty looks behind his back.

FYI California passed law SB602 that takes effect in July and requires all who handle food to have a food handler’s certificate. The State, however, is still working out details on how the classes will be administered.

P.S. For better or worse I have joined the ranks of twitter. Follow me @emilyluchetti.

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