By Airman 1st Class Rusty Frank
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The air show is coming and that means vendors and booster clubs will be setting up booths and serving food. For those handling food there is a basic food-handling training course the members of the 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health provide. The training covers the basics of food handling to include personal hygiene and food safety.
The first part of training covers personal hygiene, including proper hand-washing procedures and glove wearing. The training covered the importance of changing gloves after using the restroom, using tobacco products, touching the face or hair, handling raw meats and handling money.
“Hand washing and glove changing are really important steps to minimize the contamination of food,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Wallace, a 19th AMDS non-commissioned officer in charge of community health.
“Generally if you’re going to be handling the food that’s ready to eat, it has to be served with sterilized utensils or with gloves on,” he said.
The training for basic food handling also covered proper food safety, including the prevention of food-borne illnesses. Ensuring foods such as raw meats and chicken are cooked properly and up to temperature, and dairy products and raw meats are kept refrigerated will minimize the spread of food-borne illnesses. Another part of proper food- safety training is making sure not to use the same utensils and cutting boards when handling raw meat such as pork, beef or chicken. Never have raw meat touch any food that is already cooked.
“We want to make sure when they are cooking chicken, they are getting it to the proper temperature, and any cold foods are chilled appropriately,” said Wallace.
When food is not cooked properly and food is not stored safely food-borne illnesses occur. There are many different types of illnesses, such as salmonella, e. coli, trichomoniasis, norovirus.
With the air show near, the members of the 19th AMDS provided the basic food-handlers training in order to spread awareness about the importance of food safety and ensure the base is prepared to serve food to approximately 225,000 air show guests.
“The point of this training is to ensure that all the booster clubs that are going to be manning the concessionaire booths at the air show are properly trained, and that we can try prevent some food borne illnesses from happening… it’s a pretty generalized training we are not trying to make food experts out of anybody,” said Wallace.
For more information about when basic food handling training is held you can contact Staff Sgt. Benjamin Wallace at 501-987-7209.