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Thursday, October 27, 2011

U of M Extension launches food allergen course for food handlers

 University of Minnesota Extension is offering a new one-hour, interactive, online course that teaches food handlers, such as employees at grocery stores, restaurants, schools and healthcare facilities about food allergies and how to protect the health of their customers.

Extension food safety educators launched the new course, Food Allergen Training for Food Service Employees, to address the lack of knowledge and misinformation they found among food handlers attending classes.  

Food allergens are recognized as a public health concern. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network reports that one in 25 adults and one in 17 children have food allergies in the United States. Each year, 30,000 people go to the emergency room due to a severe food allergic reaction. Up to half of these reactions occur from food served in food-service establishments, according to 2010 estimates compiled by the National Restaurant Association.

Current law requires food safety training for food handlers. A food allergen training requirement has been added to the revised food code that is expected to become effective in 2012. Extension's course satisfies this training requirement.

The cost for participation is $10. Visit for more information and to register for the course.

University of Minnesota Extension is a 100-year-old partnership between the university and federal, state and county governments to provide scientific knowledge and expertise to the public. Through Extension, the University of Minnesota "extends" its resources to address critical public issues in priority areas, including food and agriculture, communities, environment, youth and families. For more information, visit - Suzanne Driessen and Kathy Brandt, food safety educators with U of M Extension

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