Food handlers must complete accredited training program

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Courtney Parrott

The “Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER)” was revised and updated and will be effective October 11, 2015. A major change in the revision now requires all food employees to complete an accredited food handlers training program within 60 days of employment, effective September 16, 2016.

A food handler’s course accredited by the Texas Department of State Health Services is being offered by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent, Courtney Parrott. Food Safety: It’s In Your Hands is scheduled for September 30, 2020 starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Extension Office, 605 Fisk Avenue, Brownwood, TX 76801.

This 2-hour course will now be required for all food service employees to help promote the service of safe food. The certificate is good for 2 years and is valid anywhere in the State of Texas. The course is a basic overview of food safety practices that are necessary to ensure that safe food is served at your establishment. Practices discussed include good personal hygiene, cross contamination, and time and temperature abuse.

To register for the course, call the Extension office at 325-646-0386. Registration can also be done in-person the day of the course; however the class is limited to 10 students. The cost is $20.00 per person and must be paid in full before the course begins.

Individual with disabilities who require auxiliary aide service or accommodation in order to participate in the event are encouraged to contact our office within 5 working days prior to the program. Educational programs of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, national origin or genetic information or veteran status.

The class is taught in English but Spanish handouts are available if requested in advance.

Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over

Good weather is a motorcyclists’ friend, and the Labor Day holiday weekend is a great time to hop on the bike and enjoy the last warm days of summer. To help protect motorcyclists and other motorists during the busy 2020 Labor Day holiday, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s Watch UR BAC program will partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives.

The highly-visible national enforcement campaign, Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from Aug. 19 through Sept. 7, 2020. During this period, we will show zero tolerance for drunk driving — whether riding a motorcycle or driving a passenger vehicle. Increased state and national messages about the dangers of riding impaired, coupled with enforcement and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk riding on U.S. roadways.

“Motorcyclists are an important part of our transportation community, and we want them to be safe and feel safe,” said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family and Community Health Agent Courtney Parrott. “We need commitment from our community members that they’ll keep the streets free of drunk drivers so that everyone can have a safe Labor Day weekend. This is a campaign to get the message out that drunk riding is illegal, and it takes lives. Help us put an end to this senseless behavior.”

Unfortunately, the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes are often motorcyclists. In 2018, motorcyclists accounted for 25 percent of these fatalities, with 4,985 motorcyclists killed — compared to 21 percent for passenger cars, 19 percent for light trucks, and 3 percent for large trucks. Of those motorcyclists who died in single-vehicle crashes, 39 percent were alcohol-impaired.

The 2018 Labor Day holiday was especially dangerous for riders, who accounted for approximately 25 percent of the alcohol-induced motor vehicle fatalities. This is why AgriLife Extension’s Watch UR BAC program is working with NHTSA to remind motorcyclists that drunk riding is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. As riders head out to Labor Day festivities, remember: Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Motorcyclists should be aware of other drivers on the roads, too, and that motorcycles can be difficult to spot. Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash, and five-times more likely to be injured. Furthermore, improper use of a vehicle’s rear-view and side-view mirrors contributes to collisions, particularly with smaller vehicles like motorcycles. With roughly 40 percent of a vehicle’s outer perimeter zones hidden by blind spots, improper adjustment, or lack of use of side-view mirrors can have dire consequences for motorcyclists.

Parrott recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and riding:

• Remember: It is never OK to drink and ride. Even after only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.

• Know a friend who is about to drink and ride? Take their keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

For more information, contact: Nancy Winn, Watch UR BAC program, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, by phone: 979-862-1911, or email: Website: