Goodies’ sales require a class

Sean Sauro, Staff Writer

Club members who hold bake sales as a way to raise funds may have been concerned after hearing rumors that Pitt-Johnstown administrators weren’t going to allow homemade food sales on campus.

However, after realizing that bake sales are a good revenue source, university administrators partnered with Sodexo management to put in place a food-preparation training program to reduce liability issues.

The training was put in place to increase campus safety by decreasing potential health risks, Student Life Director Sherri Rae said.

“Allowing students who do not have proper food-safety training to prepare and serve foods without maintaining proper standards … opens them up to issues like food poisoning,” she said.

“In addition, students with food allergies are not able to know food allergens may be in the food they buy,” Rae said.

While rules regarding food preparation have changed, Rae said students who choose to hold bake sales will sign up like they normally would, and then she will aid them to schedule training.

“Once I review the form and see what food is being sold, I put the student in charge of the event in touch with one of the Sodexo managers,” Rae said.

Sodexo retail manager Paula Bloom said the training is to focus mostly on food handling.

“It’s to make sure it is handled properly from the time they pick it up to the time they cook and prepare it,” she said, adding that the trainees will be given a 12-step handout.

Sodexo managers are to instruct the students in the same way the managers were instructed when learning to prepare food, Bloom said.

“It’s not quite as intense, but it will be a general training,” she said. “It’s basically protecting the students and the university and ensuring quality and safety.”

Though training is to be brief, Bloom said she and the Sodexo staff take food preparation seriously, and they want to eliminate food contamination.

“It can happen very easily,” she said, adding that as of last Wednesday, no groups have received training.

“I’m waiting for a group to contact me,” Bloom said. “They’re doing a breakfast service on Saturday.”

At the training, students also are to be given gloves and thermometers to use during preparation.

Ultimate Frisbee Team Captain Ben Wajnarowski said he is pleased that his team will be able to hold bake sales.

“We do a lot of bake sales for fundraisers,” he said. “It’s definitely our No. 1 way of getting revenue. We do about a half dozen or more.”

Before hearing about the possible ban on bake sales, Wajnarowski said he and his teammates had a bake sale scheduled but had to cancel it.

“We literally had all of our signups and got ready to start baking,” he said, adding that the team is now planning another sale.

“If they had cut (bake sales) off completely, it would have been a serious problem for our organization,” Wajnarowski said, explaining that he sees no risk in holding the sales.

“It’s just a four-or-five-hour thing where we sell sweet treats.”

While his organization is pleased that the proposed ban was dismissed, Wajnarowski said he thinks the training will be mundane.

“It’s not like it’s going to be hard, and it’s not like they’re going to teach us stuff other than basic health,” he said. Most college age students should already know these things, he said.

“I think it’s just kind of stupid and pointless,” he said. “It’s just political.”

New rules and standards put in place for bake sales are to affect all non-university food sales on campus.