Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Food Service Workers Prepare Nutritious and Safe Meals

What exactly is the necessity of employing a Food Service Worker in a facility that serves food and has a healthcare aspect? Well, these professionals are responsible for ensuring that meals in places such as hospitals, community service centres, etc. are prepared in a way that meets health and sanitation standards. In addition, the Food Service Workers are able to give advice on nutrition and therapeutic nutrition for patients in long-term facilities.

To be more specific, Food Service Workers have a variety of tasks within these areas. Firstly, they must communicate why nutrition is important and apply its principles to the production of food. On that same note, Food Service Workers also provide diet therapy that relates to a variety of illnesses and diseases. This is carried out by assembling diet-appropriate meals while applying food and bake theories. Essentially, this area of the field can be classified as Food and Nutrition Management. Meanwhile, during the preparation of large quantities of food, Food Service Workers implement cooking principles and techniques, while ensuring that food is bacteria-free 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.

Centennial College’s one-semester Food Service program was developed to meet the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Standards and Criteria, with input from professional organizations and healthcare employers. In fact, this certificate is a requirement to work as a dietary aide in long-term care. The program is broken down into five components: role of the Food Service Worker, workplace communication, safety and sanitation, nutrition in healthcare and a practical kitchen aspect. While examining these five areas, students learn aspects of food quantity preparation and service, customer service, cost management skills, sanitation practices and more.

In addition to the lectures and hands-on learning, there is also a placement opportunity within the Food Service program that allows students to apply what they have learned in regards to food and nutrition management to a real healthcare facility. However, before students can go on their placement, they must have a mandatory two-step mantoux test (TB skin test) within 12 months of starting the program, even if they have had BCG, as well as influenza immunization and a vulnerable persons police check.

Students in the food service program may also use the knowledge and skills they gain to transfer into the two-year Food and Nutrition Management diploma program if desired.

To gain entry into the Food Service Worker 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.

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