Media Contact: Todd McLeish 874-7892
URI offers food safety training to non-profits planning
May breakfasts, church suppers, summer festivals
KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 21, 2003 -- One of the largest outbreaks of salmonella in the United States occurred after a church supper in Maryland where 741 people became ill. Similar outbreaks of food-borne illnesses have occurred at festivals, community dinners, fund-raising events, and other programs sponsored by non-profit agencies around the country.
To ensure that Rhode Islands non-profit organizations know how to prepare food safely and understand how food-borne illnesses are transmitted, the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension is offering three food safety training sessions around the state in April.
"Non-profit organizations have an obligation under the law to prepare and serve safe food to the public," said Martha Smith Patnoad, URI Cooperative Extension food safety educator who will lead the training sessions. "Most groups do a great job, but there is always room for improvement, especially since the consequences of an outbreak of food-borne illness could be devastating to the organization."
Two-hour training sessions will be held on April 23 at 7 p.m. at St. Elizabeths Church, 63 Canonchet Rd., Hope Valley; April 24 at 7 p.m. at North Scituate Baptist Church, 619 West Greenville Rd., North Scituate; and April 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Clements Market Community Room, 2675 East Main Rd., Portsmouth. The cost of the workshop is $25 per organization for up to three people. The registration deadline is April 19. Each participating organization will receive a 10-minute video, a set of food safety lesson plans, a log book for record keeping, and 25 copies of a food safety brochure designed specifically for volunteer food service workers.
According to Patnoad, the most common food safety concerns for non-profit groups that prepare food for the public are personal hygiene, maintaining proper temperatures for hot and cold foods, the cross-contamination of foods, and issues relating to preparing and serving food at off-site locations.
In addition to these topics, Patnoads training sessions will cover menu planning, sanitation, state regulations and record keeping.
For more information or to register for the workshops, call the URI Gardening and Food Safety Hotline at 1-800-448-1011.