Health Department to have food safety classes

Cassie Buchman, Administration Editor

The Coles County Health Department is offering food safety classes and Food service sanitation management certification classes during September and October.

These classes are a part of Food Safety Month and are being offered to educate the community as well as fulfill the continuing education requirement for food service establishments.

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, a two-hour food handler training class will be offered from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Coles County Health Department.

Another food handler training class will be offered on Oct. 6 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

One-hour food safety classes will also be offered.

The first class, “From Purchase to Service” will be on Sept. 15, with “Foodborne Illness” on Oct. 28 and “Cross Contamination” on Oct. 29 at the Coles County Health Department.

According to a press release, similar classes will be held at the Cross County Mall on Sept. 29 for “Time and Temperature” and Oct. 8 for “Personal Hygiene.”

All one-hour training classes begin at 2:30 p.m.

Gloria Spear, the director of environmental health at the Coles County Health Department, said these classes went over the basics of how to keep food safe.

“They go over things like cross-contamination, the storage of food, personal hygiene,” she said. “Like washing hands.”

The classes will also teach participants the time and temperature food should be stored.

Hot foods should be stored above 135 degrees, while cold food should be kept at 41 degrees or below.

“It’s important to avoid the ‘danger zone’,” Spear said.

The ‘danger zone’ is any temperature between 41 and 135 degrees.

The class is free to any resident in Coles County and those who are employed by a food service facility in Coles County.

Food service sanitation management certification classes will take place on Oct. 20 and 21.

A food service sanitation management certificate is required for all food handlers.

The deadline to register for the class is Sept. 30.

The food service sanitation management classes will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Any high-risk food service facilities must have someone with an FSSMC certificate on duty during all hours.

Any medium risk service facilities need to have at least one full time employee on staff.

Spear said high risk is defined as a place that has cool food on hold, and that has to reheat food.

“High risk places usually serve compromised population, serving the elderly, small children, sick people,” she said. “Places like sit-down restaurants, schools, nursing homes, hospitals.”

Medium risk places are places where food is not on hold and not reheated often.

“It’s just cooked and served, like in fast food restaurants,” Spear said.

Spear said having classes about food safety would help both food service facilities and the Coles County Health Department.

“It’s just one more violation we don’t have to write,” she said.

Last year, about 62 violations were written.

The food safety classes are not just for food handlers.

Spear said they were beneficial for anyone because each class teaches people how to be healthier when making food in their own homes.

“There are some things that are taken for granted,” Spear said. “A lot of people have been known to change their practices at home after taking the class.”

Registration is required for the classes.

Anyone interested can call the Coles County Health Department at 217-348-0530.


Cassie Buchman can  be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]