Cooking for Crowds – a class provided by MSU Extension

A program designed to educate groups who prepare food for their members or the general public as part of food fundraisers and events.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year roughly one out of every six Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick and 3,000 people die from a foodborne disease in this country. Many church and community groups prepare and serve food as a way to generate funds for their various projects. Chicken barbecues, bake sales and spaghetti dinners are great ways for raising the money needed to carry out worthwhile projects. Food safety is always a critical aspect of any food fundraiser or event that is offered in the community and a foodborne illness outbreak is an unwanted guest at food events. Michigan State University Extension recommends food safety training for all groups working with, or selling food to help prevent foodborne illnesses.

Cooking for Crowds is a program designed to educate groups, about food safety, who prepare food for their members or the general public as part of food fundraisers and events. It is designed to show the food safety risks that develop when cooking large volumes of food and how to reduce those risks so that the prepared food is both safe and delicious. Although many of the food safety strategies recommended are similar to those recommended to commercial food establishments, the strategies have been translated into practical methods to meet the specific needs of the non-profit group.

The three to four hour program covers:

  • What you need to know about food safety
  • Causes of foodborne illness
  • Preventing the conditions that lead to foodborne illness
  • Safe purchasing, storage, preparation and service for crowds
  • Planning for a safe event
  • Conducting safe and successful meals, barbecues, bake sales, sub and sandwich sales, home delivered meals and temporary events
  • Getting started – How to implement food safety strategies in your organization’s kitchen

Participants in the Cooking for Crowds class receive a 100 page handbook that reviews food safety information and provides many checklists to aid in planning their event.

Members of MSU Extension food safety team are available to teach sessions at your organization. To learn more, go to or contact your local MSU Extension.

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