Food Safety is Top Priority at Culinard
May 2, 2014
Culinard Students Get Intensive Training in Food Safety
Food safety is serious business. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1 in 6 Americans suffered from a food-borne illness in 2011, resulting in billions in lost productivity and healthcare costs.
Fortunately, most food-borne illnesses are preventable. That's why the ServSafe® certification program was developed and implemented by the National Restaurant Association. Its goal is to educate food service employees on the best practices for food safety. Students at Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College, are immersed in the intensive program during their first week of classes so they have a firm foundation of sanitation and safety as they begin their culinary studies.
Through the ServSafe® curriculum, Culinard students learn about cleaning and safety procedures, personal and kitchen hygiene, proper operation and maintenance of kitchen equipment, times and temperatures for storing and preparing meat and seafood, and a host of other topics essential to a clean, safe kitchen.
"Our students are at different levels of their careers," says Chef Robert Henry, Program Director of Culinard in Jacksonville. "Not all of them are well-versed at working in a kitchen. We don't want anybody to get hurt or for them to hurt anybody."
After 15 hours of ServSafe® training, Culinard students take a certification test that is required of all graduates. Certification expires after three years and must be renewed.
Chef Henry says ServSafe certification helps give Culinard graduates an advantage with potential employers. "The test isn't cheap," he says. "When [a graduate] shows up already certified, that's a big bonus for hiring."
In addition to the ServSafe® food handler training, Culinard also offers food safety manager training. This program contains the same concepts as the food handler training, plus it teaches managers how to train employees in food safety and implement safety and sanitation programs.
At Culinard, food safety is a critical part of the professionalism that's at the core of the program. "What we produce in the kitchen, people consume," Chef Henry says. "They trust us with what they're putting in their bodies. We really need to be sure we're doing everything correctly."