Monday, September 6, 2010

Ensure the Safe and Nutritious Preparation of Meals as a Food Service Worker

Any facilities that serve food and have a healthcare aspect, such as long-term care or acute care organizations (for example, hospitals or community services) require experienced Food Service Workers. These professionals ensure that food is prepared in a safe way that meets industry standards. They also advise on nutrition and therapeutic nutrition for patients in long-term facilities.

Centennial College offers a one-semester Food Service Worker program, which provides you with the knowledge and skills to effectively contribute to a food service team. To gain entry into the program, you must present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. English proficiency will also be considered. However, possession of minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission to program. Once you’ve applied and have been accepted, you will find that the program is broken down into five components. These components are: role of the Food Service Worker, workplace communication, safety and sanitation, nutrition in healthcare and a practical kitchen aspect. Within these five components you will learn aspects of food quantity preparation and service, sanitation practices, customer service, cost management skills and much more. The program is a combination of classroom lectures, practical kitchen experience and a work experience field placement in a healthcare facility. The placement is an opportunity to apply classroom learning to real situations that you will encounter in the Food Service Worker field. Before you’re able to go out on placement, the school does require you to have a mandatory two-step mantoux test (TB skin test) within 12 months of starting the program, even if you have had BCG, as well as influenza immunization and a vulnerable persons police check. Another attractive feature of the Centennial College program is that it was developed to meet the standards and criteria of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Students in the certificate program may also use the knowledge and skills to transfer into the two-year Food and Nutrition Management diploma program if desired.

Once you graduate from the Food Service Worker program, you will be equipped with the knowledge and practical skills to find work with commercial, institutional or long-term care facilities. In fact, this certificate is a requirement to work as a dietary aide in long-term care. In their positions, Food Service Workers, have variety of tasks. One important aspect of the job is to communicate the role of nutrition and apply the principles of human nutrition to food production, in the health care foodservice environment. They also provide diet therapy relating to a variety of illnesses and diseases by assembling appropriate meals, while applying food and bake theories. This goes hand-in-hand with the duties of implementing cooking principles and techniques in the preparation of large quantities of foods. During the preparation of meals, Food Service Workers also ensure that food is free from bacteria and other harmful contaminants by adhering to government and departmental regulations. Lastly, Food Service Workers carry out cost control techniques in the preparation of foodservice in the health care environment.

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