Alison Peterson, a Food Program Supervisor for the Denver Department of Environmental Health (DEH) caught up with us to share wonderful activities of the DEH that protect public health through food safety education!
Denver Department of Environmental Health Public Health Inspection Division is passionate about education! DEH is dedicated to protecting the public’s health and safety by educating the food industry. DEH regularly offers basic food safety classes for anyone interested. The target audience is the every-day food employee. Our classes provide a comprehensive overview of day-to-day food safety concepts in a food facility. We do have a heavy focus on the biological hazards of food-borne illness and how crucial hand washing is by conducting GloGerm demonstrations.
DEH has always offered basic food safety classes. Over the past few years, we have really increased our educations efforts. We developed a new Power Point presentation, complete with “real” pictures. We added more classes to the 2015 schedule including Spanish classes! We created a colorful, fun pamphlet to hand out to operators, employees, and anyone interested in attending the class! We created a “food safety instructor team” of any inspectors interested in teaching this class. We met, we discussed, we talked food safety, and we all chuckled when someone mentioned “Oh, I can definitely talk about explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting in front of a group of people!”
Our educational program has improved so much that Basic Food Safety Class attendance has skyrocketed from 10-15 participants per class to almost 50 participants! We now have a team of four instructors (and two of them also speak Spanish)! We have also received numerous requests for off-site classes and at the end of 2014, conducted 10 off-site classes! In 2015, we have already conducted 3 off-site classes too! Our initiative this year is to reach out to as many food handlers as possible. We have partnered with State Food Safety to offer an online food safety class in multiple languages!
We have received great feedback regarding the availability of this educational opportunity. Our instructors created a post-class evaluation as well, where one participant concluded that, “The sharing of “real life” experience. All the pictures and stories really help things hit home!”