The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths each year. More than half of all foodborne illnesses are attributed to improper handling of food prepared away from home. Because almost half of our food dollars is spent on food prepared outside the home, food safety is a top concern among consumers. Therefore, food safety education is a critical prevention component for reducing the risk for foodborne diseases.
To meet the need for quality and required food safety education in Texas retail food establishments, the Food Protection Management (FPM) program, was developed. FPM consists of several components, the main two are the Certified Food Manager program, using the curriculum Food Safety: It’s Our Business and the accredited food handler course, Food Safety: It’s In Your Hands; these programs are conducted at the county level by AgriLife Extension agents, as well as online for the food handlers program. Attendees learn key food safety principles such as: use of time and temperature control measures in food service, reducing cross-contamination and personal hygiene to name a few.