Arkansas State University - Newport visited with students in the Food Production Class on October 31st.  The visitors included Chef Kevin Gee, Director of Hospitality & Culinary Services, Lana Holt, Advanced Instructor of Hospitality Services, and Kevin Pearce, Student Recruiter & Community Engagement Coordinator.  Students received information on courses available for career paths included in the Hospitality and Culinary Services programs.  The students will work in the Hungry Hound Café this spring, enabling them to learn on-the-job skills for future jobs in the food industry.  Currently, the students are learning information on ServSafe, a food and safety certification program.  Students have the opportunity to take two certification tests in ServSafe. 
    ServSafe is an educational program developed by the National Restaurant Association (NRA). The ServSafe program strives to educate workers in the food service industry about the causes and consequences of foodborne illness. ServSafe certification helps prevent deaths, illness and the reputation of restaurants. The goal of the program is to educate food service workers about food safety. According to the ServSafe website, the average American purchases about 200 restaurant meals every year. They also estimate that nearly 1 million restaurants in the US employ almost 14 million food service workers. A food safety education program is needed to protect the public from foodborne illness.
    Foodborne illness has caused countless deaths throughout history and also in modern times. According to the ServSafe website, it is believed that Alexander the Great died from Salmonella poisoning (typhoid fever) after consuming spoiled food. Our 12th president, Zachary Taylor, died after eating a bowl of cherries that were probably contaminated with Salmonella. King Henry I, Rudyard Kipling and Prince Albert all died as a result of foodborne illness as well. In 1692 a toxic fungus that causes hallucinations and bizarre behavior contaminated the supply of rye grain in Massachusetts. This resulted in the Salem witch trials.  In 1993 four US children died from E. coli poisoning after eating contaminated burgers from Jack in the Box.
    Newport High School is blessed to have Mrs. Leanne Bradley to lead the students through such an important part of food service. The Hungry Hound Café includes up to date equipment and terrific food!