|Reviewers Comments: |
This curriculum is designed for individuals and groups that utilize volunteers and other situational helpers to prepare food in bulk. Food safety concepts for cooking quantity foods are reviewed in detail. The curriculum is divided into six chapters, which correspond to the five steps in the food preparation process that are part of the HACCP approach to safe food handling. HACCP is a system designed to identify potential food safety hazards so that they can be prevented before foodborne illness occurs. The chapters in the curriculum include:
- Food Safety Introduction and Background
- Planning and Purchasing for Your Event
- Storing Food Supplies
- Preparing Food
- Holding and Serving Cooked Food
- Handing Leftovers
The curriculum recommends that several individuals act as trainers, taking time to review the entire curriculum, including the supporting documents and background material. In additional to being skilled in all aspects of the curriculum, trainers should also have hands-on experience in quantity food production. Suggested trainers include extension specialists and agents, health department sanitarians or educators, representatives of churches, orgs, and community groups who frequently sponsor events where food is sold or cooked in quantity. The trainers can then use the information to teach an abbreviated program to occasional quantity cooks.
The curriculum uses a critical thinking approach, challenging participants to envision different situations and make difficult choices about what they should do. Once participants complete the program, they should feel empowered to make appropriate decisions in the kitchen. The training program for occasional cooks can take place in one day or be spread out over several days (each lesson is about 45 minutes to 1 hour). Along with the lesson plan, lessons each include a PowerPoint presentation, handouts, mini-posters, and worksheets. The curriculum includes resources to help market the curriculum (a press release and public service announcement), an evaluation form, a certificate of completion, and references. In order to teach the curriculum, a trainer would need a computer with a projector, a variety of thermometers for display, and cooking equipment or pictures of cooking equipment.
While the information provided in the curriculum is largely current, handout 4-5 includes a chart on internal cooking temperatures from the 2001 version of “Cooking for Groups: A Volunteer’s Guide to Food Safety”. This chart was slightly revised in 2007 and in 2011. The newer version states all poultry products only need to be cooked to 165° F, and seafood should be cooked to 145° F. The updated chart is available here. In addition, slide 21 of Lesson 4 states “Most food pathogens are killed when food is heated to 160°F for a few seconds”. According to the current USDA guidelines, all poultry products (including whole, ground, and parts), stuffing, and leftovers should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F.
Safe Food Handling for Occasional Quantity Cooks is a valuable resource because it can decrease the possibility of foodborne illness at food events that use volunteers, one-time, or short-term cooks. A background in nutrition is not necessary for the trainer or the trainee. The curriculum can benefit individuals who are new to food safety in a quantity foods setting, and also help veteran cooks brush up on important food safety skills.