Wiregrass Cafeteria Workers Work to Make School Food Safer

By: Rayne McKenzie
By: Rayne McKenzie

A new 2010 state requirement is pushing cafeteria workers to hone up on their food safety skills.

With recent salmonella outbreaks causing concern throughout the country, Wiregrass schools are working to make food safety a top priority.

Cafeteria workers have been involved in a three-day workshop, learning food preparation and serving techniques to ensure that only safe food makes it onto your child's tray.

The concern for food safety increases when you are preparing to serve hundreds of students. The cafeteria workers have studied and were tested to make sure they're ready to offer children the safest meals possible.

Salmonella and E.coli are just a few illnesses school cafeteria workers are studying up on to make sure they prepare safe food for students to eat.

Food Safety Extension Agent Bridgette Griffin said, "The only way for food to get to you safely is if workers cooking the food have knowledge of food safety."

Children under the age of five are most susceptible to food borne illnesses, but everyone is at risk.

“There are a few symptoms you should look for if you think your children may be affected by unsafe food.” Griffin says children suffering from a food borne illness will exhibit a gamut of symptoms. "You have flu symptoms, diarrhea, vomiting and headache," she explained.

When workers prepare large amounts of food the chance of contamination increases. Workers understand the importance of taking the time to know the proper way to prepare food safely.

Houston County Schools Cafeteria Employee Priscilla Wilson said, "It's important each employee can know about food and ensure we have no food borne illnesses."

Griffin says the most effective step you can take to keep your food safe is simply washing your hands.

One of the most contaminated foods you'll run into at restaurants are lemons. Bridgette says many of them contain traces of fecal matter and that can lead to serious sickness in customers.

Some restaurants have already stopped offering lemons, to protect their customers from this food-borne illness.

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