Online food handler certification in Grayson Co.

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GRAYSON COUNTY, Tex. -- Getting certified to handle food at restaurants could soon be just a click away thanks to a new website run by the Grayson County Health Department.

Around 665 retail food establishments across the county are monitored by the Grayson County Health Department. That includes making sure each employee is certified to work, which is a large task.

That’s why moving the operation online seems the most logical thing to do.

Lunch time at Cotton Patch in Denison is a busy time for all who work inside. Just imagine if none of the employees were there.

Cotton Patch general manager Bruce Gage says it can be quite a hassle for employees to go through food handler certification.

"Usually you have to end up missing school or missing work (to attend the class). It’s an hour or two class, you pay a certain fee, so it’s just difficult to get people in there and get them certified," said Gage.

Food handler certification is necessary for all non-managerial staff to work. In order to be certified, people must go to the Grayson County Health Department and participate in an hour-long class.

But that won't be the case in three weeks. Thanks to help from a Sherman-based Internet service, Grayson County hopes to launch an online food handler certification class designed to handle more people and expedite the certification process.

Grayson County chief sanitarian Marshall Ward says, "This is a good business venture for the county in that through developing this online class we can reduce the supplies in having the salaries for the instructors to hold these classes."

"At this time its first come, first served, and it’s disheartening when you have individuals who travel long distances from other parts of the county to come back five minutes before class and then get turned away."

Those who are interested would log on, pay a $20 fee and finish the class at their own pace. That would help many students interested in working at local restaurants and help management keep tabs on their potential employees.

The Internet class would cost the county around $8,200, which county officials say would be made up in six to eight months. Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the issue at next Monday’s meeting.

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