Free seminar teaches food safety and defense

The Food Safety course, hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, teaches food preparation techniques and defense.

From food stands to bake sales, there are regulations and risks of food contamination for any food served outside the home.

A free seminar put on by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach at Indian Hills Community College Monday gave a crash course on how to avoid contamination, bacteria and foodborne illnesses. The half day course hit topics like managerial control, changes to the food code, produce safety, defense and control measures and hand hygiene. These topics were identified as some of the most important by a food safety task force.

The seminar is designed so that anyone and everyone can learn the basics, but especially targets those who work at a concession stand, hospital, child care center or anywhere where food is provided on a regular basis. The key is teaching you how to be the last line of defense against intentional or unintentional contamination.

"So the food defense focuses on intentional contamination and how to limit access and so forth, whereas unintentional contamination would just be those practices they don't think about - the importance of washing their hands before putting on a pair of gloves or wearing gloves," said Catherine Strohbehn, Adjunct Professor and Extension Specialist with Iowa State University Extension.

This is the second year the seminar has been held during the summer across the state of Iowa and there will be one more seminar offered this year. It will be held Wednesday, June 26 in Ames at the Iowa Beef Industry Council Building from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

A similar course, ServSafe, offers an eight-hour training session for $135. This workshop is designed toward teaching food service managers and employees how to meet industry standards. The class will be held July 16 at the Monroe County Extension office in Albia, August 13 at Evans Middle School in Ottumwa and August 15 at the Davis County High School Library in Bloomfield.

To learn more and to register, call the Wapello County Extension Office at 641-682-5148.