Risky Generosity: Food Safety in a Non-Profit Event.

About half a year, a Mormon church in Nevada reported 100 cases of food poisoning after a pot luck event. Many of the victims suffered from aches, headaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Fortunately, none of the cases were severe enough to be hospitalised.

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After such a scenario, one must consider the severity of handing out food, even if it is out of the purist intentions. A very common way for non-profit organisations to generate popularity and raise awareness to the cause they support is by handing out free food or consumable goods that require a gold coin donation. Sausage sizzles, baked goods to confectionery, the diverse amount of food require some sort of regulating. Following the food safety rules provided by the government, in theory, no case of food poisoning should occur.

Having volunteered at many non-profit events myself, I can vouch for the guide following and cleanliness of the food (both in the production process and the presentation process). With such strict guidelines, a leader would be put in charge to observe the rest of the team as the prepare the meal. Practices such as washing food in a separate sink to the one where you wash your hands were simple but affective practices that were adopted during my time volunteering.

If the guidelines are there and there is a leader who knows all the rules, why does food poisoning events still happen? The leader can only see so much out of their two eyes and workers/volunteers might try to cut corners. These corners are what risks the health of the people that consume the food.

In order to prevent any more mishaps for non-profit organisations in the generosity to the public, each worker or volunteer must develop their own sense of responsibility. The guidelines are there but if one elects to ignore the rules, it all avails to nothing. Each individual must adhere to the rules set, for the better good of the public.

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