Lowndes County residents learn food safety

Published 8:34 pm Thursday, February 15, 2024

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By Tana Shealey 

ACES Lowndes County Coordinator

The food safety team of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) teaches ServSafe classes throughout the year in locations statewide. On Feb. 6, Regional Extension Agent Janet Johnson trained a class at the Lowndes County Board of Education building in Hayneville.

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ServSafe is a certification that meets the food service safety standards required by the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“I first started teaching ServSafe classes in 2006,” Johnson said while beginning the second day of instruction. 

The class listened intently as Johnson reviewed safety points that all employees must learn if they serve food to the public in restaurants and cafeterias. The subject is taught in two-day sessions with required testing occurring on the final day of instruction. 

Johnson said teaching the subject allows her to do something she enjoys. 

“Helping the participants understand the importance of food safety and why they are required to do what they do is something I really enjoy,” Johnson observed. “Sometimes, being safe with food preparation becomes routine, and we forget the ‘why.’ I want them to realize that not being careful with food preparation could very well mean life or death depending on the clients being served.”

Johnson said one of the things she hopes each participant takes from the class is an understanding of how important it is to be safe when handling food.

“I want them to remember that the seemingly simple things they do are very important. Preparing safe food for their clients impacts people’s health and wellbeing,” Johnson added. “What each ServSafe student learns in this class helps them do their jobs better plus apply what they learn when cooking in their homes as well.” 

“Janet and her team are extraordinarily skilled at making scientific explanations of preventing food-borne illnesses understandable and relatable to everyone,” said Tana Shealey, ACES Lowndes County Coordinator.

“We are excited to offer this class in Lowndes County so that residents don’t have to drive to Montgomery to take it. We hope to schedule another ServSafe class in Lowndes County by summer,” Shealey said.

Anyone seeking information about the class, including registering online, may visit www.aces.edu and type ServSafe in the search bar.