WHEELING, WV – Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department’s overall strategy for reducing foodborne illness is to place a heavy emphasis on education about proper food storage, handling and preparation practices.
The Department has set the 2017 Food Handler Training calendar, which is for anyone who will be involved in the food service and similar activities. All food service workers need to obtain a valid food handler card within thirty (30) days upon hire. Classes for food handlers are conducted monthly and are designed to educate the proper techniques, methods, and requirements of a food establishment.
The health department seeks to maintain a safe food supply and reduce the likelihood of foodborne illness through permits, inspections and educational activities at food service facilities throughout the county.
West Virginia’s Food Establishment rule, 64 CSR 17, governs all food establishments and operations. A food establishment includes restaurants, retail food stores, schools, grocery stores, nursing homes, hospitals, caterers, bars, day care centers, food concession stands, churches, mobile food units, vending machines and various indoor and outdoor events.
Under this rule health departments are mandated to regulate, through a health permit and inspection, all food service facilities. The rule incorporates the majority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 2005 Food Code. The health department also regulates temporary food establishments located at fairs, festivals, roadside stands, and other locations.
In addition to the required Health Permit to operate, establishments must insure that all food service workers obtain a Food Handler’s card, as specified in West Virginia Legislative Rule 64 CSR 7.
The food handler’s course is designed to minimize foodborne illness and stresses employee health, proper hygiene, proper handling of ready-to-eat food, cleaning & sanitizing procedures, food temperature parameters and prevention of cross-contamination by proper food storage and handling. Food workers will learn about the importance of hand washing, critical violations pertaining to the food worker, the causes of foodborne illnesses and personal hygiene issues.
The Environmental Health program at the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department conducts monthly food service worker training classes in both the morning and evening. The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department has partnered with two online services, State Food Safety and TAP Series, to offer online food service worker classes for purchase. Individuals, whose schedules do not allow them to attend our in-person classes, should do one of these as an alternative.
West Virginia residents can obtain a 2 year Food Handler Card for $10.00 or a 2 year State Wide Card for $20.00. Cards issued to volunteers, individuals working in a volunteer setting and receiving no pay, are free and good for 1 year. Pre-registration for the department held trainings is required.
For more information or to register for the next Food Handler’s class call the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department at (304) 234-3682 or visit our website at www.ohiocountyhealth.com to see the 2014 Food Handlers Class schedule.