AKRON, Ohio -- Fred W. Albrecht Grocery Co. here has begun a new program to emphasize food safety in the perishables departments of its Acme Stores and Acme SuperCenters throughout Ohio.
The chain's food safety training regimen, called the "We're Serious About Food Safety Campaign," began with training of the meat and deli managers from 19 stores.
In conjunction with the Ohio Department of Health, the course covers food safety issues such as proper storage and food handling procedures, cooling and cooking temperatures, controlling food-borne illness, and good sanitation practices.
"We decided to do it because more and more food handling is taking place in our food stores," said Sue Guthier, manager of special promotions and public relations for the chain. Acme paid for all instruction and textbooks involved in the training course.
In order to keep consumers informed about the program, Acme ran a full-page ad on two different occasions in local newspapers. The ads featured a picture of a recently certified employee and an explanation of the chain's efforts to improve food safety.
In addition, a certificate indicating completion of the course is prominently posted in each of the store departments where an employee has participated.
"Serv Safe" decals are also being issued by the National Restaurant Association for display at all Acme stores with at least one certified employee.
The four-hour state certification class met twice weekly for six weeks, and Guthier said the second wave, "a group right below manager level," will take the course in October.
Results are already in evidence, according to Guthier. In one store, when the electricity was out due to storms, employees "knew how to take care of the products," she said.
"One store manager said it was nice to go through the meat department and watch how the situation was handled. [He] could really see where instruction paid off."