Food Safety

NACCHO in collaboration with the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (NCEH/CDC) selected twelve local health departments to implement innovative programs in food safety within their health departments and communities. The twelve projects focused on infrastructure, marketing, training, and program assessment. These are four development areas identified by local health officials as important aspects needed to improve local health department capacity to address food safety. Learn more about NACCHO's current food safety and defense projects.

Background
The goal of the Burlington County Health Department (BCHD) Food Manager Training Ordinance program was to educate and certify food managers in Burlington County food establishments so that the food managers are better able to train food-preparation staff in the correct methods of food safety. BCHD worked with Burlington County College to modify its Internet-based Food Safety Certification Class.

Outcome
A draft Food Managers Training Ordinance was developed for the municipalities to consider adopting: the ordinance would require food managers at retail food establishments to take a training course in food safety.

In addition, Burlington County College developed an online course that food managers could take at home. Students learned about foodborne illness, microorganisms, contamination, personal hygiene, and food safety practices during receiving, storage, preparation, and service.

For more information, visit their website.

Background
The Food Protection and Education Program (FPEP) in the Environmental and Health Services Department at the City of Dallas Health Department is responsible for protecting the public from foodborne illness by permitting, investigating, monitoring, and enforcing chapter 17 of the Dallas City Code. One challenge the health department faces is the effectiveness of using programs to train and educate food service operators, workers, and other members of the community in food safety practices that reduce incidences of foodborne illness. FPEP’s main goal was to focus on education. FPEP aimed to enhance its ability to conduct education, training, and outreach regarding food safety.

Outcome
The improvements made during the project related to the enhancement of FPEP’s infrastructure. By having the infrastructure, FPEP was able to conduct more effective education, training, and outreach regarding food safety. 

Since the start of the project, FPEP has conducted over 60 presentations and continues to receive an increase in requests for educational presentations. Thus, FPEP fulfilled its goal by being viewed as an educational entity rather than enforcement entity.

For more information, visit their website.

Background
The Columbus Health Department (CHD) desired to become proactive rather than reactive in its approach to ensuring safe food for the community. CHD aimed to enhance the capacity of infrastructure to improve education, training, and outreach around food safety. CHD’s vision was to provide each newly licensed retail food facility with the proper food safety tools within the first 30 days of opening for business.

Outcome
The CHD's Food Safety Toolbox containing the food safety tools was distributed to retail food operators in risk levels three and four before and during licensing. Each toolbox contained a copy of the Ohio Uniform Food Code, food safety posters, information sheets, and current schedule of educational workshops available for food employees, shift leaders, and managers.

CHD was able to distribute and implement its current success, the Food Safety Toolbox. The toolbox will be distributed in English, Chinese, Somali, and Spanish to address the growing need for the availability of multilingual food safety information. Through this practice the Columbus Health Department was able to reach 100 percent of its target audience of licensed retail food facilities that are risk level three and four.

For more information, visit their website.

Background
Over 665,000 people reside in DeKalb County; the health department regulates over 2,000 food-service establishments, including restaurants, schools, and institutions. The Dekalb County Health Department (DCHD) through this project aimed to provide informative food safety topics by sponsoring a “Safe Food Expo” in which food operators were presented with information regarding self-inspection, equipment maintenance, and safe practices. In addition, consumers received information on safe meal preparation, the significance of a restaurant score versus the violations on an inspection report, and symptoms of foodborne illness. The marketing strategies that were implemented to promote the expo included: advertisements through television, radio, newspaper, color mass mailings, and the Internet.

Outcome
As a result of the free expo, food safety operators and consumers received a variety of food safety information, interacted with federal, state, and local food safety agencies, and learned practical food safety tools.

For more information, visit their website.

Background
The City of Elyria had been feeling the effects of the decline in the manufacturing sector. A major challenge for the health department was that the district did not provide formal health education services. Therefore Elyria City Health Department (ECHD) concentrated their efforts on education and marketing. A marketing campaign, “4 Simple Rules for Better Food Safety” was initiated and helped to convey four simple strategies: cleaning, separation, cooking, and cleaning. ECHD used their resources to create a logo, mail postcards to residents, and develop and distribute over 7,000 refrigerator magnets to local restaurant, convenience, and grocery stores.

Outcome
The health department reported almost 100 percent of all establishments that were approached distributed magnets. In addition, the community reacted well to the “4 Simple Rules for Better Food Safety” campaign.

For more information, visit their website.

Background
The Fairfield County Health Department’s (FCHD) mission is to advocate for the growth of a healthy community through education, collaboration, and analysis by providing tools, services, and assistance to the public. The health department believes one key way to protect the public’s health is through proper training. Therefore, the FCHD food safety training and education program was initiated to help reduce the incidence of foodborne illness. The project aimed to increase the availability of food safety training, particularly for smaller operations.

Outcome
FCDH conducted information-gathering surveys, offered more food safety classes at various venues, and developed a food safety coalition. A total of 669 surveys were distributed in two mass mailings. FCHD used the survey results to enhance its course offerings in order to increase participation. When courses were offered at the establishment, employees were able to use real-life experiences to learn safe food handing practices.

For more information, visit their website.

Background
The food safety program at the Macon Bibb County Health Department (MBCHD) had been providing food handler safety and sanitation information in a non-structured setting with a format built on videos and slide presentations. The food safety program focused on developing training capacity at the health department to educate food handlers in the community. “Operation EATERY” (Education and Training Each Restaurant Yearly) was established to provide free, structured food handler training for the employees of food service establishments in the Macon and Bibb counties in Georgia.

Outcome
Macon-Bibb County Health Department was able to promote the classes and by teaching smaller components of the classes, the instructors were able to use their “true life stories” to make their presentation interesting and keep the class engaged. Approximately 95 percent of the students increased their food safety knowledge during class.

For more information, visit their website.

Background
The Minneapolis Environmental Health – Food Safety Program’s major responsibility is to reduce the incidence of foodborne illness through regulatory and educational programs. To meet the changing needs of the community and respond to new direction in food regulation, the City of Minneapolis implemented an announced inspection program for all full service/complex food preparation establishments. The project primarily was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of inspections but also included elements of community-needs assessment, training, and education of food establishment operators, consumers, and city inspectors.

Outcome
The City of Minneapolis Health Department enabled food operators to actively manage and control foodborne illness risk factors, and the announced inspections gave both operators and inspectors time to discuss the processes.

For more information, visit their website.

Background
Multnomah County Health Department’s environmental health unit provides training opportunities and testing for approximately 16,000 people annually. Surveys of food service workers and consumers have consistently shown a lack of knowledge of basic food handling techniques. The Food Handler Video Development Project aims to develop the Food Handler’s Program’s internal capacity to produce culturally competent, linguistically appropriate, video training tools that match the current food code and meet the changing needs of the community.

Outcome
Through the Food Handler Video Development Project, the health department produced training videos in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Tagalog, Russian, and Vietnamese. In addition, 94 percent of those surveyed indicated that the videos held their interest, and 96 percent indicated the they felt like they knew more about food safety after watching the video.

For more information, visit their website.

Background
The Sparta Township Health Department provides food handling courses to approximately 200 food service establishments; each inspection report was filed in hard copy format. The Sparta Health Department implemented a Municipal Inspection Licensing System computer program which allowed instant access to inspection reports, licensing status, and current and previous violations for each establishment.

Outcome
The Municipal Inspection Licensing System program helped inspection staff create opportunities to provide food safety education to those facilities whose inspection scores necessitate interventions.

For more information, visit their website.

Background
The Town of Stratford’s Food Smart program sought to provide training to non-management food service workers in the community. The overarching goal of the program was to improve food establishments’ inspection performance by focusing on food handling practices. The specific target population for this facet of the program was Asian food service establishments in Stratford, as well as the total population of consumers who eat food from these establishments.

Outcome
The Town of Stratford’s "Food Smart - A Food Safety Training Intervention" program helped the health department by recognizing the need for language and culturally appropriate food safety training in Asian food service establishments. The health department found that inspection scores among food establishments improved by providing multicultural food safety training.

For more information, visit their website.

Background
The food safety demonstration project funding awarded to Seattle and King County provided the resources necessary to enhance the health department’s food protection program’s infrastructure. This funding provided the health department’s investigators with the necessary resources to support a retail food safety program. Each investigator was able to receive an infrared thermometer, data logger, light meter, and digital camera.

Outcome
Each resource allocated to the inspectors was designed to support the goal of reducing the risk factors known to contribute to foodborne illnesses.

For more information, visit their website.