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General Food Safety Competencies

Definitions/Statistics

  1. Define the term "foodborne disease outbreak."
  2. Outline how a foodborne disease outbreak is investigated.
  3. Identify current foodborne disease statistics including estimated number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths that occur annually in the U.S.
  4. Describe why there is a difference between the number of reported cases of foodborne disease and the number of estimated cases.
  5. Differentiate between the major types of foodborne diseases -- infection, intoxication, and toxin-mediated infection.
  6. Describe population groups that are at high risk for foodborne disease.
  7. Name three categories of hazards that can make a food unsafe.

Microbiology

  1. Define "microorganism."
  2. Define "potentially hazardous food."
  3. Identify what microorganisms grow in potentially hazardous food.
  4. Identify the three major groups of microorganism that cause foodborne disease.
  5. Define and describe the difference between pathogens and spoilage microorganisms.
  6. Describe the different ways that food spoils.

Bacteria

  1. Define "bacteria."
  2. Describe the conditions favorable to the growth of bacteria in food.
  3. Explain what pH is and how it relates to bacterial growth.
  4. Describe how temperature affects the rate of bacterial growth.
  5. Explain what water activity is and how it relates to bacterial growth.
  6. Explain how the presence or absence of oxygen can affect bacterial growth.

Parasites

  1. Define "parasite."
  2. Explain how parasites contaminate food.
  3. Describe how to eliminate or reduce the number of parasites in food.

Viruses

  1. Define "virus."
  2. Explain how viruses contaminate food.
  3. Describe how to eliminate viruses from food.
  4. Describe how to prevent viruses from contaminating food.

Mold

  1. Define "mold."
  2. Explain how mold contaminates food.
  3. Describe how to prevent mold growth in food.
  4. Describe how to eliminate mold from food.

Yeast

  1. Define "yeast."
  2. Explain how yeast contaminates food.
  3. Describe how to prevent yeast growth in food.
  4. Describe how to eliminate yeast from food.

Spoilage

  1. Describe why food spoils.
  2. Describe characteristics of spoiled and potentially unsafe food.

Chemical and Physical Hazards

  1. Identify common chemical hazards associated with foodborne illness and the means to prevent them .
  2. Identify common physical hazards associated with foodborne illness and the means to prevent them.

Personal Hygiene

  1. Describe the relationship between the personal hygiene of a food handler and the risk for foodborne illness.
  2. List the communicable diseases that are most likely transmitted to a food when an ill food handler does not properly wash his/her hands.
  3. Describe how to properly wash hands.
  4. Explain the difference between plain soap and antibacterial soap.
  5. Describe the efficacy of different hand sanitizing agents.
  6. Identify situations when handwashing is not necessary.

Storage

  1. Define "shelf-stable."
  2. Identify credible sources for determining the shelf-life of food.
  3. Explain how dates that appear on packages of food relate to food safety.

Temperature Control

  1. Identify how long potentially hazardous food can be exposed to the temperature danger zone.
  2. Explain the potential hazards involved in eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, and fish.

Thermometers

  1. Explain the differences among food thermometers.
  2. Describe how to properly use a food thermometer.
  3. Describe how to properly check the accuracy of a food thermometer.

Food Processing Technologies

  1. Describe irradiation.
  2. Describe pasteurization.

Pest Control

  1. Describe how pests can be a source of contamination.
  2. Describe how to control and/or eliminate pests from the food environment.