Monday, August 22, 2005

Food Handler's Card

I had the pleasure of taking the test to get a Food Handler's card as my daughter needed it. As the driver, I figured I should do it with her. We studied the pamphlet entitled "Sanitation Techniques for the Food Service Worker" the night before and were prepared. There was a unique mix of people taking the test, several requiring multiple retakes to pass. I learned some interesting facts which have changed the way that I handle food in my kitchen -- cooling times and process, heating and reheating times, cleaning cutting boards and surfaces, and not having wet, germy towels strewn around.
Frankly, I also learned that it is amazing people don't get sick more often from eating out. A friend just had a nasty bout of Salmonella which you would not wish on an enemy. My husband notices the cleanliness of a restaurant immediately and has always read the Restaurant Violations list, avoiding places that have had multiple violations. I discovered that you can look online and find, not only the number of violations, but what they were for. Entertainment for those with nothing better to do.
Now, I can go in somewhere and watch violations in action. Recently, in New York, while waiting in line for the restroom, I saw a cook eat some chopped vegetables with his ungloved hand and then use the same hand to help turn over a crepe. OK, I know there are many such things I don't see and probably don't want to know about. You just have to hope that food handlers do follow the handwashing rules when in the restroom, at the very minimum.