Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chew On This….Food Safety for Thought!

Chew On This….Food Safety for Thought!

Hello and welcome to the first edition of, “Chew On This….Food Safety for Thought!,” the Jefferson County Public Health Food Safety Blog!  We would like to start off by thanking you for taking the time to read our blog, we hope that you find our posts to be beneficial and relevant to your daily lives.  We plan to post monthly updates on food safety news, hot topics in food safety, as well as features from our audience.  Our goal is to enhance communication with food service professionals and consumers about food safety topics to develop creative approaches to reduce foodborne illness.

This month we want to introduce you to the Environmental Health team that performs inspections on all of Jefferson County’s Retail Food Establishments and the work that they do.  There are about twenty employees within Jefferson County Public Health that either work directly or indirectly with our licensed retail food establishments (over 2,100 establishments!!).  These individuals have the responsibility to effectively interpret and enforce regulations that are designed to reduce food safety hazards in Jefferson County.  The job is challenging, requiring an inspector to have in depth knowledge of food preparation processes and regulations, along with possessing interpersonal skills to build rapport with food service operators.

Check out one of our Environmental Health Specialists, Urszula Tyl, in action!

When asked what food safety means to them, some of our team had this to say:

Food safety is important to me because food is one of the few substances that goes into our body.  If not handled safely, that otherwise healthy food can make you sick.  We all have to eat, but we all don’t have to be sick.”  - Carla Opp, Workforce Development and Quality Improvement Coordinator

Food safety is a collaboration between inspectors and food operators to achieve the same goal of providing food that is safe for consumption by the public.  Our goal is the same --  that we do not want to make people ill -- and we can accomplish this task together in many different ways that makes the most sense for the individual food operation.” - Tracy Volkman, Registered Environmental Health Specialist

Our job is one where we protect people from “behind the scenes,” because safe food is one of the things people take for granted. Through food safety, we educate and protect people (and ourselves) from foodborne illnesses. Through education, we empower people to protect themselves and others.”   -Vi Nguyen, Environmental Health Specialist

I feel proud to protect the health of the public through our programs, and even though most of our work is ‘behind the scenes,’ it is still a rewarding job.” - Lisa LaCasse, Environmental Health Specialist

This job provides the opportunity to build relationships with all types of individuals in retail food establishments who have a direct impact on food safety including food borne illness. I enjoy being able to be a resource for all types of different establishments in order to protect the community when they dine at their favorite establishment.” – Atisha Morrison, Environmental Health Specialist

We are excited about this blog endeavor and being able to communicate in a new way with you.  We feel as passionate about food safety as you do, and we look forward to hearing from you and featuring your thoughts in upcoming blogs.  Stay tuned for more information and things to come!

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