Statistics indicate that foodborne illness continues to be a health issue in the United States. Each year, 1 in 6 Americans will become sick, 128,000 will become hospitalized, and 3,000 will die due to a foodborne illness. Under these new rules, each food establishment permitted by the Texas Department of State Health Services must have one certified food manager. Food manager certificates will be valid for 5 years. Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Mason County, is offering a professional food manager certification training course. This program will be offered for $115 on September 7&8 at the Mason County Library. Cost includes training, materials, and a national food manager certification examination. This program is designed to not only prepare foodservice managers to pass the certification examination; it will provide valuable education regarding the safe handling of food. Almost 50 cents of every dollar Americans spend on food is spent on meals prepared away from home. Therefore, careful attention to food safety will help keep customers safe and satisfied. Foodborne illnesses are estimated to cost thousands of dollars in lost wages, insurance, and medical bills. With these statistics, knowledge of how to prevent foodborne illness is essential. The benefits of improved food safety include:* Increased customer satisfaction* Improved relationships with health officials* Prevention of bad publicity and law suits due to foodborne illnessBy attending the course, foodservice managers will learn about:* identifying potentially hazardous foods and common errors in food handling* preventing contamination and cross-contamination of food* teaching and encouraging personal hygiene for employees* complying with government regulations* maintaining clean utensils, equipment and surroundings* controlling pests Foodborne illnesses can be prevented by following simple food safety practices. For more information about the Professional Food Manager Certification Training course of Texas AgriLife Extension Service, called “Food Safety: It’s Our Business,” call Kristy Powell at Mason County Extension (325-347-7295) or Menard County Extension (325-396-4787).