California Food Handlers Card

Posted by on June 29, 2015 with 0 Comments

Food Safety Boot Camp is pleased to announce that we are now offering training and certification for the California Food Handlers Card!

The California Food Handlers Card is required for all food handlers in California. A food handler is defined as a person who works in a food facility and performs any duties that involve the preparation, storage or service of food in a food facility.

Food Safety Boot Camp is offering the The California Food Handlers course and certification for $9.95! This is an ANSI approved course.

Took take advantage of this limited time offer, follow the link below:

California Food Handler Training and Certificate


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ServSafe vs NRFSP vs Prometric

Posted by on August 28, 2014 with 1 Comments

“Which food safety certification is better to have, ServSafe, National Registry of Food Safety Professionals, or Prometric (National Environmental Health Association)?

I am often asked this question, especially since I am a Certified Instructor for all three food safety certification courses, and the answer is very easy. THEY ARE ALL THE SAME!

All three certifications are accredited by the American National Standards Institute under standards established by the Conference for Food Protection (ANSI-CFP). That accreditation makes the exams acceptable in all states and jurisdictions that recognize those standards set by ANSI and CFP, and is an assurance of quality in the development and maintenance of the exams. In fact all three accreditations were issued by ANSI on the same day, September 3, 2003. So neither entities certification is any older than the others. All three food safety certifications are nationally recognized and accepted, and all three meet State Health Department regulations for required food safety training.

So what is the difference between them? Basically it comes down to just your personal preference and that of your employer or future employer.

ServSafe is a program developed by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) based in Chicago, Illinois and is run by a division of the NRA called the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). ServSafe is by far the most well known of the three food safety certifications. This is simply because the NRAEF has spent an enormous amount of money on advertising their ServSafe program. This is also what makes their program and materials more expensive than the other two. They have spent so much on advertising and promoting the program that they have to recoup those costs and charge more for their textbooks, exams, etc. ServSafe costs are so high that their instructors are not as able to give discounts to students and businesses taking the classes as they are with the other two programs. The instructors must pass on the higher costs of the class and exams to the students.

National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRFSP) is based in Orlando, Florida and offers food safety training and certification programs designed for both restaurants and retail (grocery stores). Their program is less well known than ServSafe, however this does not mean they should be considered a lesser program. Many establishments are now switching over to their program because their certificates are impossible to forge or alter (unlike ServSafe). Instead of their certificates being printed on plain card stock they are on card stock that has numerous security features imbedded into it to prevent alteration. In my opinion this is a more secure system. Their instructors are not required to use a specific textbook printed by NRFSP for the class. Since a specific textbook is not required, the instructor has a lot more flexibility in designing the classroom training and can choose from many suitable textbooks available, most at lower costs.

The third food safety training program is a little more confusing. The classroom instruction and textbooks are designed by the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) in Denver, Colorado, but the exam is designed and administered by Prometric located outside of Baltimore, Maryland. Even though a specific textbook is recommended to be used by the instructors for the class, it is available at a lower cost than the ServSafe version is. Again, they have saved money on their advertising to keep the certification costs down.

As you can see, all three certifications are virtually the same, the decision between them comes down to personal preference. Check with your employer to see if they require a specific one. Most employers do not require a specific program as long as you have an ANSI-CFP accredited food safety certification. If this is your case, then why pay the higher costs for the ServSafe certification when there are less expensive alternatives available?

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Salmonella Outbreak from Contaminanted Peanut Butter

Posted by on August 27, 2014 with 0 Comments

he U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) last week began reaching out under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act to those sickened in the 2006-07 Salmonella Tennessee outbreak caused by contaminated Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butters.

“You are receiving this notice because the government has reason to believe that you may have been the victim of a crime related to an outbreak of salmonella infections caused by contaminated peanut butter in 2006-2007, “ writes Alan Phelps, trial attorney for DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch, in the letter dated Aug. 20, 2014.

Phelps’ letter to victims, which states that no charges have yet been filed, is the first confirmation by the government that charges are being considered against Omaha-based ConAgra Foods Inc., the $17.7-billion food conglomerate that owns the peanut butter processing plant at Sylvester, GA, that produced the contaminated Peter Pan and Great Value brands.

ConAgra has also gone public in its current 10-K annual statement filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the corporation will likely be charged with a federal criminal misdemeanor stemming from the seven-year-old tainted peanut butter incident.

“We are a party to a number of lawsuits and claims arising out of our ongoing business operations. Among these, there are lawsuits, claims, and matters related to the February 2007 recall of our peanut butter products,” ConAgra’s 10-K states.

“Among the matters outstanding during fiscal 2014 related to the peanut butter recall is an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Georgia and the Consumer Protection Branch of the Department of Justice,” the financial document continues. “In fiscal 2011, we received formal requests from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Georgia seeking a variety of records and information related to the operations of our peanut butter manufacturing facility in Sylvester, Georgia.

“These requests relate to the June 2007 execution of a search warrant at our facility following the February 2007 recall. During fiscal 2013 and 2012, we recognized charges of $7.5 million and $17.5 million, respectively, in connection with this matter. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, we reduced our accrual by $6.7 million in connection with ongoing discussions with the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Department of Justice in regard to the investigation.

“We are pursuing a negotiated resolution, which we believe will likely involve a misdemeanor criminal disposition under the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act. After taking into account liabilities recorded for these matters, we believe the ultimate resolution of this matter should not have a material adverse effect on our financial conditions, results of operations, or liquidity.”

The DOJ letter to the victims also notes “… most criminal cases are resolved by a plea agreement between the United States Attorney’s Office and the defendant.”

According to the DOJ letter, crime victims have a series of rights, including the right to be notified of public court proceedings for any plea or sentencing. The agency has set up a website where notices of such proceedings will be posted for the Peter Pan/Great Value case.

ConAgra’s Sylvester, GA, peanut butter plant is located just 20 miles from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia in Albany. That’s where a trio of former executives for the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America is currently on trial on federal felony charges stemming from another Salmonella outbreak involving peanut butters that occurred two years after the Peter Pan/Great Value one. The U.S. Attorney’s office and DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch are prosecuting that case, which is halfway through an expected eight-week trial.

The Peter Pan/Great Value Salmonella Tennessee infections were the first of what has turned out to be a series of peanut butter-related outbreaks. ConAgra said its production in Sylvester got contaminated when “inadvertent moisture” got into the plant, bringing dormant Salmonella bacteria in raw peanuts or peanut dust to life.

Peanut butter produced at the Sylvester plant sickened 425 people in 44 states, with most of the illness onset dates falling between Aug. 1, 2006, and Feb. 16, 2007. The Salmonella Tennessee infections did not result in any deaths, but about 20 percent of the victims required hospitalization.

Consumers were left to search their pantries for jars of the two peanut butter brands with the product code number beginning with 2111 on the lid. If they found it, many went off to have their Salmonella infections confirmed by lab tests.

But even those without a tainted jar of peanut butter had good reason for a loss of confidence in a product long trusted by the public, including parents. Less than two years later, in late 2008, a Salmonella outbreak traced back to PCA would sicken 700 people and kill nine. Almost 4,000 products containing PCA peanut butter or paste were recalled by several hundred companies.

And, in 2012, organic peanut butters made by Sunland Inc. in Portales, NM, and, just recently, at a nSpired Natural Foods facility in Ashland, OR, have suffered the same fate.

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