2017-09-10 / Insight

Introducing Chris Venema: Food safety educator

LAPEER TWP. — Chris Venema is the food safety educator at the Lapeer County MSU Extension Office (MSUE). She views the Extension’s mission is to create a flow of research-based information from the university to the people of Lapeer County.

As a member of the Health and Nutrition Institute in the MSUE organization, Venema provides educational opportunities in informal settings for the people of Lapeer County as well as residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

Health and Nutrition Institute in Lapeer County offers Food Safety Topics such as ServSafe for food service managers, Michigan Cottage Food Law, Cooking for Crowds, and food preservation educational opportunities. Each of the topic areas have specific costs to them.

• ServSafe for Food Service Managers has two types of classes. The first class is an eight-hour program designed for those food service managers who need to re-new their ServSafe certificate. It covers the changes that have occurred during the last five years in the Servsafe curriculum. The certification exam is given the last two hours of class.

Cost is $75. There is an additional cost for the 7th Edition of the Servsafe book. The second class is designed for someone who has limited food safety background or has never taken a ServSafe class. The program consists of two days of food safety information as it applies to the food service industry, which includes food borne illness, personal hygiene, food regulations, food safety as it applies to receiving, storage, food preparation, handling, service, food safety management systems, cleaning and sanitizing, safe facilities and equipment, integrated pest management, and staff food safety training. The certification exam is given the last two hours of the second day. Cost is $145. There is an additional cost for the 7th Edition of the ServSafe book.

There is a four-hour ServSafe class designed for hourly workers and other interested parties. There is no exam. Cost is $15.

• Michigan Cottage Food Law with the enactment of the Michigan’s 2010 Cottage Food Law (allowing the selling of certain homemade foods to be sold directly to the public at Farmer’s Markets and other such venues). The program covers what, how much, and where food can be sold, basic food safety guidelines, package labeling, and storage. Cost is $10. There is also an online format.

• Cooking for Crowds curriculum was designed for non-profit groups that cook for their organization or use cooking for the public as a fund raiser. The participants traditionally do not have professional training in cooking for large volumes of food. It is taught in a 3-4 hour format. There is a participant notebook. Cost is $10.

• Food Preservation Classes are 1-3 hours in length. This is a demonstration or lecture style workshop. These classes are designed for adults. The topics covered are: freezing, dehydrating, canning with a boiling water canner technique, or canning with the pressure canner. Each of these topics is a class by itself. Classes can be in a lecture format where materials and methods are reviewed or in a hands-on format in which the participants follow a research-based recipe together. Cost per participant is $10-20 depending on the type of class scheduled. Scholarships are available for SNAP, Bridge Card and WIC participants.

Put It Up! Food Preservation for Youth

Put it Up! Is a series of informal educational lessons that guide youth to explore and understand the science of safe food preservation. Hands-on food preservation activities are designed for fourth to twelfth-grade students.

The Nutrition and Physical Activity Workgroup offers educational classes featuring practical tips to move towards a healthier lifestyle in fun and interactive ways. There is a program for everyone, from preschool to senior citizens, and all are free of charge. Karly Creguer and Jennifer McNamara provide educational classes in Lapeer County.

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