A Preliminary Review of the Just.Safe.Food Training Program


Food safety is a critical part of restaurant jobs, not just for the customer, but for employees as well. While local and state requirements for training employees who handle food vary, there are also various programs designed to equip food service employees on proper safety, hygiene, and other techniques while handling, preparing, serving, and storing food in restaurants.
One widely used training course is called the ServSafe Food Handlers (SFH) program, developed by the National Restaurant Association (NRA). In early 2023, advocacy nonprofit One Fair Wage announced it would launch its own food safety course called the Just.Safe.Food “Food and Worker Safety Training” (FWST).
One Fair Wage claimed its new program would be a cheaper, better substitute for food safety training than ServSafe. To assess these claims and the comprehensiveness of the training as a viable alternative, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) retained Beth Torin, whose career in food safety includes fourteen years as the Executive Director of New York City’s Department of Health Office of Food Safety. Ms. Torin independently evaluated Sections 1-8 of Module 1 of a draft of the Just.Safe.Food training, which were obtained through JustSafeFood.com.
In the following report, Torin finds the available Module 1 of the One Fair Wage alternative program has significant deficiencies that would leave participants unprepared for handling food, including:
  • Misleading or inadequate training visuals
  • Inaccurate terminology related to industry standards
  • Missing or inaccurate training content, including on topics such as hazards causing foodborne illness, handwashing, and proper glove usage
These issues may not arise in other sections of the Just.Safe.Food training, but the initial review of this program raises red flags about the quality of the product One Fair Wage is promoting to employees and the media.
Whether or not an employee is required to take a food safety course prior to starting work in the restaurant industry is dependent on the jurisdiction, but Torin points out that restaurants and their employees are not limited to any specific training course and have several options to complete the training that will best serve employees and ultimately, customers. National-facing organizations such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) evaluate such programs through their National Accreditation Board (ANAB) to ensure employers and employees are getting complete, accurate information for their jobs.
Instead of providing a good-faith, quality alternative to the various food safety courses available, One Fair Wage has used the issue as a tool to smear its opponents. Restaurants and restaurant employees who are seeking a highquality training may not find it in the product offered by One Fair Wage.