ALASKA: Public Health leads fight against food-borne illness
Posted: June 11th, 2012 - 11:43am
Source: Eielson Air Force Base
Alaska -- While most base efforts to support the flying mission are easy to identify, a handful of public health technicians from the 354th Medical Operations Squadron take charge of performing food inspections of all public facilities on base, ensuring our Airmen are safe and able to complete the mission.
Armed with thermometers, the current food code, litmus paper and alcohol pads, these Icemen work to ensure Airmen remain free from food-borne illnesses thereby maintaining a high operations tempo.
Each month, public facilities containing food preparation areas such as kitchens and kitchenettes receive regular inspections - much more frequent than public facilities lacking food handlers.
Senior Airman Sebastian Morales, 354th MDOS public health journeyman, said the youth center receives a monthly and quarterly inspection, concentrating on the kitchen and every quarter on the building's facilities where children learn and play.
According to Morales, the size of the facility has a lot to do with the duration of inspections, determining how long the process will take an individual Airman to review critical items including proper food storage, cross contamination prevention and ensuring food handlers know proper cooking temperatures.
The commissary, one of the larger facilities on Eielson, can possibly take more than an hour to inspect because of the many areas that require careful scrutiny to ensure proper food storage and handling techniques. Smaller facilities usually require less time, especially when there are fewer areas where food is handled or stored.
Morales said public health inspections are designed to take care of Airmen and facilitate on-base personnel in meeting Air Force standards.