Do you make the best salsa this side of… well, anywhere? Have you thought about making a little extra tuition money by selling it at a Farmer’s Market or roadside stand? If so, we have a new food safety course on its way in March that will make it possible for you to move forward. New Colorado legislation (and legislation in 28 other states) has made it a requirement that those selling edibles to the public must complete a safe food handling certificate.
With all of the food scares lately (peanut butter, cantaloupe, spinach to name a few), it is pretty frightening to think that something considered healthy and fresh can be toxic. These are the more obvious factors that led to the legislation. Even if you have no desire to sell your creations, you may still want to avoid illness for you and your family. Here are some tips from homefoodsafety.org:
- Begin with clean hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce. One trick I’ve heard of is to sing the Happy Birthday song twice through.
- Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables. Produce that looks rotten should be discarded.
- All produce should be thoroughly washed before eating. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking.
- Many pre-cut, bagged produce items like lettuce are pre-washed. If the package indicates that the contents have been pre-washed, you can use the produce without further washing.
- Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first.
- Washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or using commercial produce washes is not recommended.
- Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush.
- Drying produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel may further reduce bacteria that may be present.
Our certificate program covers two topics a week for eight weeks, where you will learn about many of the necessary food safety practices and regulations needed to start your food company, including:
- Sound manufacturing practices and sanitation
- Food safety guidelines
- Storing and transporting foods
- Ingredients and final products
- Business planning, marketing, and budgeting
- Documentation and recordkeeping
We’ll also share practical examples, useful tips, and resources to help you with your business endeavors. By the time you’ve completed this food safety course, you will have developed the start of your company’s standard operating procedures, created a food label, begun your business plan, and much more!