Jefferson County Public Health is now offering an online class for food handlers, both for professionals and home-based. Anyone interested in serving food safely can log onto statefoodsafety.com and sign up for the two-hour class. It is offered in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese.
Jefferson County also still offers an excellence in food safety class once a month at the Jefferson County Fair Grounds. Jefferson County Public Health Retail Food Program Manager David Hooker said education is the key to avoiding food-borne illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 48 million Americans get sick, more than 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year from food-borne illness and poor hygienic practices.
Each restaurant in the county is subjected to random inspections by the health department twice a year by a team of 10 inspectors. Common violations include improper hand washing, glove violations, not keeping foods hot (above 130 degrees) or cold foods below 41 degrees. Other infractions include raw chicken stored in a container above foods that are served uncooked or an area might not be properly sanitized with bleach. Such problems are addresses by the online class. And although the food safety classes are voluntary and not required by the county, proving their employees have the certification is an advantage for restaurant owners.
The online and classroom classes cost $10 per person and participants receive a certificate upon passing a quiz. For more information or to register for classes, go to jeffco.us/health or call 303-271-5700.