Development of an On-line Food Safety Training Course for Food Distributors.
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Food Distribution is integral to the food supply system in the United States. Our food comes from many sources and must be shipped to many more before the consumer is able to take control. Product handling and storage conditions during this phase are critical to the overall quality and safety of the food. Having worked for a major foodservice distribution organization in the area of quality assurance, for 25 years, it became apparent that food quality and food safety was becoming more and more important to the consumer. Distributors needed to provide documentation as evidence of proper food safety practices because not only was it becoming critical to regulators but to customers as well. Working with Virginia Tech’s food science department and others, I developed and delivered distributor appropriate training for over 250 managers. The positive result was that customer complaints caused by product mishandling were significantly reduced. Unfortunately over that same period, it became apparent that these managers needed assistance in training their teams after they went home and began building their programs. The request for a simplified, job appropriate training program for staff became a consistent theme.