How often does your family eat meals away from home? According to experts, Americans reported eating out approximately five times a week in 2006. Ease, convenience and cost were cited as the top reasons respondents ate away from home.

To provide a service to the community and to restaurants, area food service managers and employees will have the opportunity to participate in the upcoming Food Manager Certification course sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Erath County. The course prepares an individual to take the ServSafe test. The ServSafe test fulfills state requirements and has national recognition. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) requires each food establishment to have one certified food manager.

To accommodate area restaurants, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offers a full one-day class with the test given at the end of the course day. The course will be held in Stephenville on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center (1229 N US 281) from 8:00am - 6:00pm (or whenever the last person finishes their test!) Deadline for registration is Tuesday, Oct. 1. Cost is $115.00 which includes the course, book and the test fee.

The forms and registration information can also be found at Extension agents teaching the courses are Donna White, CEA-FCS Erath County (254-965-1460 or and Lynette Babcock, CEA-FCS Palo Pinto County (940-659-1228).

These classes are designed to not only prepare food service managers to pass the certification examination, but also to provide valuable education regarding the safe handling of food. Almost 50 cents of every dollar Amer1icans spend on food is spent on meals prepared away from home. Therefore, careful attention to food safety helps keep customers safe and satisfied. If you have any questions about the course, please contact the Texas AgriLife Extension Service Agents listed above.