Safe Plates

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The CDC estimates that about 1 in 6 Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases yearly. Foodborne illness is caused by harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, or chemicals in food or drinks. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and chills. Older adults, infants, children, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk for developing foodborne diseases.

Did you know that these statistics can be reduced through proper food handling and safety procedures? NC Safe Plates is a Food Safety Manager Certification Course developed by NC State University. This course will prepare foodservice managers to complete the ANSI-accredited Food Safety Manager Certification examination through the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals.

The Safe Plates course helps food establishments meet the requirement of having employees with management responsibility and the authority to direct food operations certified as a food protection manager, a mandate of the FDA Food Code. Since this requirement specifies that a Certified Food Protection Manager is present during all hours of operation, it may be a good time to have more than one employee take the certification course and exam. Once the exam is passed, participants receive a certificate to display in their operation which will verify with local Environmental Health Specialists that they are in compliance.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension partners with Lee County Environmental Health to offer Safe Plates for all those who work in the foodservice industry. This comprehensive course is appropriate for food service managers and supervisory staff in restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, childcare facilities, and other food-handling establishments.

Instruction is given on a variety of topics including: personal hygiene, purchasing and storage, eliminating cross-contamination, handling allergens, pest control and facility design, and correct temperatures for storing, preparing, and holding foods.

NC Safe Plates is different from other food safety classes in that it is taught through case studies, storytelling and discussion. This class is interactive and encourages participants to engage with the material. The goal of the program is to increase knowledge, while also changing behaviors related to food safety.

Safe Plates will be offered in Lee County September 23–25, 2019 and the class will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The exam date is on September 26, 2019. Registration is $125.00 and covers the course, book, and exam costs. For more information, visit the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Lee County webpage. If you have any questions regarding the program, please contact Alyssa Anderson at 919-775-5624 or

The N.C. Cooperative Extension of Lee County’s goal is to provide the residents of the community with research-based knowledge. For more information on food safety, wellness, and nutrition please contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Alyssa Anderson, MS, RDN, LDN at 919-775-5624.