Suffolk County Executive Bellone Announces Innovative Mobile Application For Food Service Managers

New App Provides Convenient Process to Obtain Food Safety Training Towards Certification.

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Photo by: TeroVesalainen

Suffolk County, NY - August 14, 2017 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced the debut of a new mobile application tool that offers food service managers the convenience to undergo food safety training in Suffolk County. This new application will be offered by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services as a portable extension of its award-winning online Food Manager’s Course. Currently, the application is available free of charge on Google Play and will expand to the Apple Store beginning the week of August 21.
“This is an important tool in the county's Food Protection Program that uses new technology to educate workers in the food service industry while preventing food borne illness,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “I commend our county workforce who was instrumental in the creation of this mobile application so that we can offer training in a more efficient manner.”
All food service establishments regulated by the Suffolk County Department of Health are required to have a current certified individual on their premises during all hours of operation. A valid food protection/food safety certificate issued by an approved entity must be posted in public view in all food establishments regulated by the Department. 
The Food Manager’s Course mobile application was created with $70,000 in federal funding through a Cooperative Agreement with the United States Food and Drug Administration that encourages innovation by local, state and tribal regulatory agencies to continuously improve Food Protection Programs and conform to voluntary national standards.  The application is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
Suffolk County was the first Health Department in New York State to require mandatory food safety training beginning in 1977. More than 106,000 Food Managers have been certified since the course’s inception.
Scott Mastellon, Suffolk County Commissioner of Information Technology, said: “The FMC app puts the Food Manager’s Course into the palm of your hand.  Using a wide array of skill sets, our Suffolk County software engineers brought to life the ideas of our public health experts with this handy, user friendly mobile application that food managers will find very convenient.” 
Dr. James Tomarken, Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services, said: “Our Food Manager’s Course is one of the cornerstones of Suffolk’s Food Protection Program. We believe that an educated food service worker plays a crucial role in preventing foodborne disease, so we require that a certified food manager be present during all shifts and that the certification is renewed every three years. We understand that food servicemanagers are busy, so this app will save managers time while keeping them up to date on food safety practices.” 
Stephen Kane, Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Public Health Protection, said: “Suffolk County is one of a handful of municipalities in the U.S. to offer food managers flexibility to obtain food safety training as conveniently as possible: our traditional classroomcourses, our award-winning, desktop-based online Food Manager’s Course, which we introduced in 2009, and now the new mobile FMC app, all available in three languages.”
Students who successfully complete the course are issued a certificate that must be renewed every three years. Certificate holders who register for renewal within 90 days following expiration of their certificates are eligible for the two half-day renewal course.  
While the online and mobile course content are free, in order to obtain a food manager’s certificate an individual must take an in-person exam at the County Department of Health Services' Bureau of Public Health Protection in Yaphank.  Exams are offered on a regular basis.  Individuals who download the mobile application and wish to take the exam and receive a certificate are charged $50, plus a small $0.88 credit card handling fee.
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services also offers a free online Food Manager's Course that satisfies the Food Manager certificate requirement for all food establishments while allowing an individual to take the class at their convenience. The course consists of 20 modules that address various food safety topics, with a short quiz that follows each module. Successfully answering the quiz questions allows an individual to advance to the next module. All modules must be completed within 45 days of registering for the course. 
After completing all modules, he or she will be prompted to sign up for a test date and can register here. Following completion of the online course, individuals who take an in-person exam will be charged $50.
For more information on the Food Manager’s Course, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services’ Bureau of Public Health Protection can be contacted directly at (631) 852-5999 or (631) 852-5997, Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.