Ensuring Food Safety

Mar 19, 2019

Even fresh produce can cause foodborne illness. When it comes to melons, clean them with a scrub brush before eating, recommends Leatta Byrd, a food safety educator for the Kalamazoo County office of the Michigan State University Extension Service.
Credit U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wikimedia Commons

It's that time of year, time when outdoor farmers markets reopen, when you may be asked to send a dish to your child's end-of-school year celebration, when you might have to volunteer at your service group's or house of worship's spaghetti dinner fundraiser or the like. Or, maybe it's your turn to make Easter dinner for the relatives. Whatever the reason you find yourself making loads of food for others, do you know how to prepare it safely? A class is planned Thursday for everyday citizens and civic groups to learn.


Leatta Byrd, a food safety educator with the Michigan State University Extension Kalamazoo County Office.
Credit Earlene McMichael | WMUK

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about one out of every six Americans annually gets sick from a foodborne illness -- roughly 48 million people.

For some, the situation turns fatal.

"About 3,000 people die each year from foodborne illness," said Leatta Byrd, a food service educator with the Kalamazoo County office of the Michigan State University Extension Service, in an interview about food safety that aired today on WMUK. 

On Thursday, March 21 from 1 to 3 p.m., Byrd will lead a two-hour class specially designed for the general public, civic groups and churches that prepare and serve food as a way to connect with their communities and/or raise funds.

Online registration is required to attend and closes at 11:59 pm on March 20. Click here. There is a nominal charge. Byrd said participants will be taught how food becomes contaminated, the conditions that lead to foodborne illness, cross-contamination and the importance of good hygiene. The curriculum draws upon a few commercial food safety strategies and translates them into practical methods. 

The "Cooking for Crowds" class will be held at the Calhoun County Health Department, located at 190 E. Michigan Ave. in Battle Creek.