DPH's food service program conducts interactive training for restaurant inspections

September 28, 2018

One of the goals of public health is to minimize or prevent foodborne outbreaks. For Georgians that means making sure restaurants are inspected and monitored for food safety. 

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is helping newly-hired environmental health specialists learn how to protect the public’s health from environmental factors. In a recent training, they honed their food service inspection skills to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks. 

The Food Service Training Module covered the basics: why food service establishments are inspected, how to focus on the risk factors, what to do when violations are found, who is responsible for ensuring active managerial control in the establishment, where they can find resources needed to complete the inspections, and when to enforce an immediate closure. 

The DPH food program staff members made the training both informative and hands-on. Food Program Consultants Shaun Bryant, Corey Millwood and Priya Nair created an interactive mock kitchen scenario which gave attendees an opportunity to put the food service training module information to practice.  

“The team of instructors exuded enthusiasm about the subject matter, which made the lectures more interesting and easier to comprehend,” said Wesley Black, environmental health specialist with the East Central Health District. “With the interactive scenarios throughout the week, the food service training enriched my knowledge, my skill set and allowed me to perform my duties to the best of my ability.”

Having a good understanding of the five major risk factors linked to foodborne illness outbreaks identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was a vital part of the training. The risk factors include ensuring that food is from an approved source, cooked, cooled and held at the proper temperature, ensuring equipment and utensils are cleaned and properly sanitized, and ensuring that employees follow hygiene requirements and are not working with food when ill. These risk factors help to keep patrons safe and reduce the chance for a foodborne outbreak. 

The environmental health specialists learned how to prioritize the food inspection to make the best use of time, get corrective action for any violations, and educate the employees on food safety. Additionally, the environmental health training and hands-on mock kitchen provided a good balance of practical and informative material needed for the job. 

For more information about DPH’s Food Service Program and to check the inspection score of your favorite restaurant, go to https://dph.georgia.gov/food-service.  

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