By Michelle Diminich, Servsafe Faculty
In 2014, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) updated its regulations to require at least one employee with the authority to direct and control food preparation and service to be a food protection manager who has been certified by an accredited program. Only Conference for Food Protection ANSI certified Food Protection Manager courses meet these requirements. The Conference for Food Protection is a non-profit organization which originated in 1971 which meets every two years. It was created to provide a formal process whereby members of industry, regulatory, academia, consumer and professional organizations are afforded equal input in the development and/or modification of Food Safety Guidance. Such guidance is then incorporated into food safety laws and regulations as it was in South Carolina. (1) To view the full text of SC DHEC Regulation 61-25, click here: SC DHEC Regulation 61-25.
If you examine this regulation further, the certified protection manager MUST to be able to respond correctly to the inspector’s questions as they relate to the specific food operation in many areas of food safety including knowledge of safe cooking and holding times and temperatures and being able to describe symptoms associated with specific diseases that are transmissible through food. In order to do this, it is essential that one choose a food safety training program that focuses on learning, not just reciting facts for a test to be immediately forgotten. Code One’s Servsafe training class uses a combination of Servsafe supplied videos and classroom instruction in a small, personalized environment that facilitates learning.
According to the 2015 CDC Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks US Annual Report, foodborne diseases due to known pathogens are estimated to cause 9.4 million illnesses each year in the United States. Although relatively few of these illnesses occur in the setting of a recognized outbreak, data collected during outbreak investigations provide insight into the pathogens and foods that cause illness. Public health officials, regulatory agencies, and the food industry can use these data to create control strategies along the farm-to-table continuum that target specific pathogens and foods. An outbreak of foodborne disease is defined as the occurrence of two or more cases of a similar illness resulting from ingestion of a common food. In 2015, there were 902 foodborne disease outbreaks reported, resulting in 15,202 illnesses, 950 hospitalizations, 15 deaths, and 20 food product recalls. The most common cause of these outbreaks was norovirus, accounting for 37% of outbreaks and 39% of illnesses. Salmonella was the next most common cause, accounting for 34% of outbreaks and 39% of illnesses, followed by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, which caused 6% of confirmed outbreaks and 3% of illnesses. Furthermore, restaurants (60% of outbreaks reporting a single location of preparation), specifically restaurants with sit-down dining (48%), were the most commonly reported locations of food preparation associated with outbreaks. In a majority of cases, these outbreaks were entirely preventable by food preparation staff.
The five key risk factors have been repeatedly associated with these foodborne illness outbreaks are:
All 5 of these risk factors can be reduced by having a certified food protection manager on premise.
Learn more by attending a Servsafe Manager training program at Code One Training Solutions in Charleston, SC.