The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 27, 2013

Ferndale students taste success with food safety certifications

Kelly Urban

JOHNSTOWN — Ferndale Area High School students are making sure the food they eat is fit for consumption.

Students in the advanced foods class recently received their food safety certificates from the state Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services.

The three-week course emphasized food safety through temperature control and methods to avoid cross-contamination, which are the leading causes of food contamination and food-borne illness.

Family and consumer science teacher Kim Budnick, who was instrumental in creating the curriculum for the course, said students began the class in late January and completed it mid-February.

“There’s a value to have this certification here and promote it because a lot of students have part-time jobs in the food industry,” she said.

Budnick planned fun activities and recipes, then observed how students prepared and cooked food and how they used the utensils.

For example, when students made chicken quesadillas, she was watching to see that the chicken was not cut on the same board as other ingredients.

“It goes beyond knowing not to slice raw chicken and celery with the same knife,” Budnick said. “This is something they can take with them for the rest of their lives.”

At the end of the course, students took an 80-question test that was submitted to the state Department of Agriculture for review.

Ferndale is the only school in the state to use this curriculum, and Budnick believes those in the food industry will appreciate that her students have this certification and that it will give them a leg up should they seek employment in the industry.

“I hope this will instill good habits from here on when it comes to food handling and they’ll pass it on, because when you practice it, it becomes habit,” she said.

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