Safe Plates

— Written By and last updated by Leeann Crump

The CDC estimates that about 1 in 6 Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases yearly. Foodborne illness is caused by harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, or chemicals in food or drinks. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and chills. Older adults, infants, children, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk for developing foodborne diseases.

Did you know that these statistics can be reduced through proper food handling and safety procedures? NC Safe Plates is a new Food Safety Manager Certification Course developed by NC State University and an alternative to ServSafe which was formally offered by Richmond County Cooperative Extension. This course will prepare food service managers to complete the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals Food Safety Manager Certification Examination.

The Safe Plates course helps food establishments meet the requirement of having at least one supervisor certified as a food protection manager, a mandate of the FDA Food Code. Once the exam is passed, managers also receive a certificate to display in their operation which will verify with local Environmental Health Departments that they are in compliance.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension offers Safe Plates for all those who work in the food service industry. This comprehensive course is appropriate for food service managers and supervisory staff in restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, childcare facilities, and other food-handling establishments.

Instruction is given on a variety of topics including: personal hygiene, purchasing and storage, eliminating cross-contamination, handling allergens, pest control and facility design, and correct temperatures for storing, preparing and holding foods.

NC Safe Plates is different from other food safety classes in that it is taught through case studies, storytelling and discussion. This class is interactive and encourages participants to engage with the material. The goal of the program is to increase knowledge, while also changing behaviors related to food safety.

Safe Plates will be offered for the first time in Richmond County June 22 – 24,2016 from 9:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. The exam date is on June 27, 2016. Registration is $125.00 and covers the course, book, and exam costs. For more information, visit the Richmond County Cooperative Extension’s webpage at

The Richmond County Cooperative Extension’s goal is to provide the residents of the community with research-based knowledge. For more information on food safety, wellness, and nutrition please contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Alyssa Anderson, MS, RDN, LDN at 910-997-8255. Follow Alyssa on Twitter @ #moorerichnutrition