Campaign to Focus on Food Safety Practices

September 30, 2003
The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is participating in the Focus! On Food Safety campaign sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education.

The yearlong program has been designed by school food service experts and school food and nutrition service supervisors from across the state to heighten awareness of basic food safety skills and behaviors by focusing on the following seven "best practices":

§ Frequent hand washing
§ Avoiding bare-hand contact of ready-to-eat foods
§ Following temperature requirements
§ Separating raw and ready-to-eat foods
§ Frequent cleaning and sanitizing
§ Focusing on food safety in every phase of the food service operation
§ Actively monitoring food safety.

More than 750 Division of Food and Nutrition Services employees assigned to the school system's 191 schools, the central production facility, the food service warehouse, and the central office are pledging to provide safe food to the students and staff in Montgomery County. Each month, a different food safety best practice will be featured. Each week of that month, at a regularly scheduled meeting, staff will discuss the month's topic. A substantial increase in food safety awareness, skills, and behaviors is anticipated as a result of the program.

Focus! On Food Safety is intended to complement the division's existing food safety training, which helps employees achieve food safety certification through the National Restaurant Association's ServSafe program. MCPS is joining Baltimore and seven other Maryland counties -- Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Kent, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester -- in the project.

For more information, contact Kathleen Lazor, director, Division of Food and Nutrition Services, at 301-840-8170.

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