Food safety at nonprofit events

Cooking for Crowds is a great way to ensure your event staff is aware of food safety risks and how to prevent them.

The holidays are just around the corner and many of us will be participating in church potlucks, bake sale fundraisers, serving food at shelters or some other gathering where food is served. While safe food handling is always important, there should be extra emphasis placed on food safety when groups of people are fed at community events. Potlucks are a hit because you get to try all kinds of delicious foods, and you only have to bring one dish to share, but therein lurks the hidden danger.

With so many people preparing so many different foods, everyone needs to do their part to help prevent a foodborne illness outbreak. The same goes with cooking large quantities of food onsite for a holiday dinner – it’s not the same as cooking for just your family and extra care needs to be taken to ensure the safety of the food served. There’s nothing like a foodborne illness outbreak to be a real Grinch during the holidays.

One great way to learn how to keep food safe in these situations is to attend a food safety workshop. Michigan State University Extension offers Cooking for Crowds, an educational program for nonprofit groups that prepare food for their members or for the general public as fundraisers. The curriculum is designed to show the food safety risks that can develop when preparing and cooking large volumes of food and how to reduce those risks.

There will be a Cooking for Crowds class offered on Dec. 15, 2014 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the Friendship Center in Petoskey, Mich. For details and registration contact myself, Michelle Jarvie at 906-643-7307 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Don’t live near Petoskey? Visit the Cooking for Crowds webpage for workshops in your area or contact your local MSU Extension office to schedule one.

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