What is a Food Safety Manager?
Food Safety Manager Certification
A food safety manager ensures that all food in a given establishment is safe. He or she develops and oversees policies and procedures that are related to food safety. He or she completes audits, as well as create and lead training programs.
Food Safety Managers are an essential part of a food safety culture that keeps your customers safe from food-borne diseases. When your customers are safe and happy, you can take your business to its maximum potential and stand out from the competition.
A Food Safety Manager works closely across departments and teams. These include production, sanitation, maintenance, shipping and receiving, and more. Within each department, the food safety manager will work to solve problems and create policies to prevent issues from arising in the future.
It is the food safety manager’s responsibility to ensure that their team is aware and trained on any new changes when new policies and certification programs are implemented. Training on new policies will ensure that everyone takes food safety seriously. Managers will also work to establish a supportive environment where the focus is on productivity, quality, and professionalism.
What is the difference between a food handler and a food safety manager? Food Safety Manager Certification
The ServSafe Manager Certification verifies that a manager or person-in-charge has sufficient food safety knowledge to protect the public from foodborne illness. The ServSafe Food Handler Certificate verifies basic food safety knowledge and is for individuals in food handler employee-level positions.
How to take the Food Safety Manager Certification?
To become ServSafe Food Safety certified, you must pass the ServSafe Manager Certification Exam with a score of 75% or higher. For your ServSafe Certification to be recognized by your state or local health department, you must also meet your local regulatory requirements.
The ServSafe Manager exam involves 90 multiple choice questions. In order to pass, you must achieve a score of 75 percent or higher. You’ll have approximately 90 minutes to finish the exam—it is important for you to complete all answers as any question left blank will be scored as wrong.
There are 14 sections within the Manager Exam:
1. Providing Safe Food
This section involves understanding food-borne illnesses and what parts of the population are at higher risk. You’ll need to know the types of foods that require Temperature Control for Safety (TCS) and the Danger Zone temperature range (41 degrees – 135 degrees Fahrenheit) they must be kept out of.
2. Microscopic Causes
This section details the varying microscopic causes of food-related illnesses. You’ll need to understand the definitions and differences between food-borne infections, food-borne intoxication, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi.
3. Contamination, Food Allergens, and Food-borne Illness
This section goes more into depth on the aforementioned section. Here, you’ll need to know the key fish toxins to avoid as they are unable to be destroyed by either freezing or cooking. Understand the difference between chemical and physical contamination and how to protect against both. Understand the symptoms of food allergies, their common causes, and the most appropriate ways to inform customers of their potentiality to be included in food service.
4. The Safe Food Handler
This section details proper hand washing techniques, personal hygiene expectations, glove use, and how to approach employee illnesses.
5. The Flow of Food
This section details the importance thermometers and their best use. Most importantly, know that glass thermometers should never be used to measure food temperatures.
6. Purchasing & Receiving
This section involves recognizing approved suppliers (those who have been inspected and meet all local, state, and federal laws) and how you should accept their supplies. This includes planning deliveries, the appropriate temperatures to receive deliveries, stock rotation, and the recommended storage for dry goods, live shellfish, fresh produce, and other foods.
This section details recommended food prep guidelines. Understand the three proper techniques for thawing frozen food (and that it should never be done at room temperature), and how to prep eggs, egg mixtures, and produce. Most importantly, every ServSafe Manager Exam will require you to know the minimum internal temperatures various foods must be cooked to. Knowing these temperatures and foods is mandatory to achieving the certification.
This section includes both how long food must be held before being discarded, the appropriate handling of glassware and dishes, and how to approach self-service bars and open condiments.
9. Food Safety Management Systems
This section is specific to the Manager’s Exam. Here you’ll have to understand the five most common risk factors responsible for food-borne illnesses as identified by the Center for Disease Control. You’ll also be expected to know the steps for the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system and how to react to a foodborne-illness outbreak.
10. Sanitary Facilities and Equipment
This section details cleaning and proper inspections for flooring, restrooms, food service grade equipment, stationary equipment, plumbing systems, lighting, ventilation, and garbage containers.
11. Cleaning and Sanitizing
Know the difference between cleaning and sanitizing. This section details the proper techniques to use for cleaning and sanitizing food-contact surfaces, dish washing machines, sinks, and the cleaning tools themselves.
13. Food Safety Regulations
This section elaborates on the government’s ability to inspect your restaurant and how you should approach officials should an inspection occur at your facility.
12. Integrated Pest Management
Know the three-step approach:
- Deny pest access
- Deny pests food, shelter, and water
- Should they continue to exist in your restaurant, work with a licensed pest control operator to eliminate the pests
14. Employee Food Safety Training
Once you achieve manager status, it’s your responsibility to ensure your employees understand all of the food safety techniques detailed in the ServSafe Essential textbook. This section details what your responsibility is to training your employees.
How long does food safety manager certification last?
How long is the ServSafe® Food Manager certification valid? ServSafe® is valid for five years and accepted by most federal, state and local jurisdictions. However, this requirement may vary depending on the local requirements in your area, and possibly your own organization’s standards.
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