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Cooking Safely for Large Groups

Is Your Food Safe?

Regional Extension Agent Janice Hall walked among a packed room asking participants important questions about food safety that we often think we can answer correctly.

“How long can you safely store cooked beef in a refrigerator?” Hall asked.

All around the room, dozens of seasoned chefs and backyard-grill masters offered answers. Among them, a gentleman who said he is “in his 70’s but doesn’t look it” gave the correct answer.

This is just one example of Hall’s Socratic Method of teaching. She doesn’t just present and hope that attendees are paying attention; she walks among the¬† ¬†group and asks questions about how to safely prepare, store, and serve food in their kitchens, at churches and in restaurants.

Hall said,”According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 3,000 deaths are caused by food-borne illnesses (food poisoning) in the United States each year, and the majority are caused by the mishandling of food.”

As a regional Extension agent who specializes in the food quality, safety, and preparation, Hall is very passionate about making sure that food safety goes well beyond the superficial.

Hall noted CDC research which points out that, “In recent years, there have been a number of food borne illness outbreaks to occur from meals prepared at home and brought to various functions and events. Some of those outbreaks have resulted in death. Cooking for Crowds is a training design to teach consumers safe food handling skills to put into place when preparing foods”.

Today’s event was held at the Senior Center in Hayneville and attracted residents from Hayneville, Fort Deposit, and Letohatchee who cook food at home and take it to schools, churches, civic group meetings, street fairs and festivals. Agent Hall teaches classes such as these throughout the region.

For more information on this topic, or to schedule a FREE training for your group, please contact the Lowndes County Extension Office at 334.548.2315.