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Campus Dining Student Employees Become Food Safety Certified

Quality Assurance and Compliance Manager Riley O'Connor speaks with Sophomore student Karla Reyes-Ortiz about the steps Campus Dining takes to keep food safe

Quality Assurance and Compliance Manager Riley O'Connor speaks with Sophomore student Karla Reyes-Ortiz about the steps Campus Dining takes to keep food safe

Stony Brook, NY, April 9, 2015 — Ninety-two of the student employees of Campus Dining at Stony Brook University can demonstrate to future employers and graduate/professional school admissions’ committees that they went well above the minimum requirements of their jobs by achieving a Food Manager Safety Certification from the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. The County Health Department, which has responsibility for food safety, requires one employee with such certification be on duty at all times that a restaurant is open.  Thanks to student staff, every dining location on campus far exceeds that number. In fact 92 of the 165 Campus Dining staff who have the County food safety certification are students.

“This project demonstrates the ability of the Faculty Student Association (FSA) and student leaders to work together to improve the overall dining experience on campus, while simultaneously providing students with incredible opportunities to collaborate with professionals, develop their leadership skills and make a difference in their campus community,” stated Alex Langstrand, Campus Dining Student Food Safety Manager.

Students from many of FSA’s other departments have also taken the initiative to earn their certification by passing the Suffolk County Food Managers Exam, which involves a 20-module online class that covers various topics on food safety, including time and temperature control, and foodborne illness. Each module concludes with a short quiz that must be answered 100% correctly to advance to the next module. The final exam, which earns students their credential, must be passed with a minimum score of 75%.

The certification involves taking a 10 hour online course and then passing an examination that covers topics ranging from learning the kinds of pathogens that can cause food borne illness, to implementing HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) procedures for keeping foods safe.

"This effort has the full support of our student staff as well as our management team,” stated Chris Paolillo, Campus Dining Student Food Safety Manager. “We have so many eyes looking at every stage of our operation; it only made sense to give those eyes the tools they need to spot problems and improve our standards of food safety."

FSA’s main objective is to ensure that enough associates, vendors and suppliers perform and operate in accordance with established food safety guidelines and codes to promote a culture of food safety throughout campus.  While the Campus Dining operations are the focus of FSA’s concern, education in food safety goes well beyond that, as most people eat more meals at home, where there is also a risk of illness from improperly handled foods.

Student Staffing Resources, the Bookstore Liaison, Seawolves MarketPlace, Student Voice on Campus Dining members and Campus Dining student employees from all dining units now have representatives who are credentialed Suffolk County Food Safety Managers.