Safe Food, Safe Communities is a new program designed to increase education about foodborne illness prevention in non-traditional food preparation facilities. Non-traditional food preparation facilities are, typically, organizations that serve free or discounted food to homeless populations, families with children living in poverty, and/or senior citizens. These organizations can be of any size and provide food to any number of people. They can be run and organized by paid employees, volunteers, or a mixture of both. Churches, food banks, and schools are examples of organizations that may serve food in a non-traditional setting. They can be licensed or non-licensed with the local Health Department.
The goal of Safe Food, Safe Communities is to provide educational materials to employees and volunteers preparing and serving food in these organizations. There are many formats for the educational materials to ensure that each unique organization is provided with the information they need. Examples of the educational materials are online training sessions, videos, and reading materials; face-to-face training sessions by a health department specialist; and regular email and social media messages.
The content in the educational resources will provide information to help identify improper food safety practices and replace these practices with safe ones. This consists of subject areas including: planning, shopping, receiving, storing, cooking, and serving meals to decrease the risk of foodborne illnesses. Content is created and presented by the local Health Department in training sessions or through available web resources. This effort is intended to target non-traditional food handlers, but the resources are being made available for anyone who wants to learn more about food safety.