ISU Extension specialists Catherine Strohbehn and Renee Sweers partnered with Vangie Cowen, City of Marcus’ Iowa Main Street Community representative and Director of Marcus for Progress program, in a project to offer food safety training to all foodservices in Marcus. The project was supported through a grant of the College of Human Sciences’ Helen LeBaron Hilton fund.
The request for food safety training to the restaurants in the town was first made as a way to elevate the level of service and market the community as a destination for bus tours. A proposal for the project was developed with an endorsement by Mayor Darrell Downs and agreement by Vangie Cowen to recruit all the foodservices in the town (including profit and non-profits as well as business and volunteer organizations).
Most of the businesses or organizations that prepare and/or serve food in the town attended a two-hour training held at the Pizza Ranch on April 29th. Food safety specialists Sweers and Strohbehn presented the ISU Extension SafeFood© Program, a curriculum intended for those involved in preparation and/or service of food to the public which also included some hands on activities.
Each participating organization received a SafeFood ©Main Street tool kit (valued at approximately $30) that included fluorescent lotion; storage and food thermometers; test strips for cleaning and sanitizing agents; Extension publications about Food Stands, Glove Use, Thermometers, and Employee Guides; magnets with end point cooking temperatures; and note pads with ISU Extension web sites for additional information.
Participants will continue food safety training efforts in each of their organizations with other workers. Each participant will also receive a SafeFood© Main Street Marcus Certificate which will be posted in organizations to serve as a marketing tool for the establishments.