Importance of food safety education: Part 1

Well-trained employees are key to preventing foodborne illness.

Lack of employee training can spell foodborne illness disaster for food service establishments but what kind of training is necessary? As of 2009, many food establishments must have at least one certified food manager in employment according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD). There are a couple common food safety certifications or training for food service staff including the ServSafe Food Protection Manager and the ServSafe Food Handler. The Food Protection Manager certification is what local regulatory authorities like the health department will be looking for when licensing a food service establishment. The Food Handler training is a shorter training that does not result in certification though it may be useful for educating staff. Other important certifications include the National Restaurant Association Allergen course, required as of January 2017 for Certified Food Service Managers, and the ServSafe Alcohol certification, which prepares establishments for the risks involved in serving alcohol.

Which local inspected establishments are required to have at least one certified food manager?

  • All food service establishments (except vending machines and temporary food service establishments) such as:

Which MDARD inspected establishments must have a certified manager?

  • Food service establishment within a grocery store
  • Extended retail food establishments (e.g., grocery store with deli and seating)
  • Establishments that press apple cider (see below)
  • Mobile food establishments
  • STFU’s

Apple Cider

MDARD requires establishments that press apple cider to have at least one active employee certified, either by passing an approved food manager certification exam or completion of an approved safe cider production course. Good Manufacturing Practices, GMPs, are recommended for apple cider production to reduce the risk of pathogens in apple cider. These practices recommend the use of a HACCP or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points plan which identifies points in cider production that are important to control food safety hazards.

For further information on HACCP plans or food safety training, see Part 2 of this article series. Michigan State University Extension also has a number of other articles on food safety and foodborne illness prevention.

For more information about MDARD courses and certifications visit:

Did you find this article useful?