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NEWS // October 31, 2014


Feeding those in need is a noble cause, and every year the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health (DEH) partners with the Alpha Project to provide food safety guidance and ensure that the meals they provide at their shelter are safe for the people they serve.

Since 1996, every winter the Alpha Project operates a Single Adult Emergency Shelter in downtown San Diego.  The shelter, which features 200 beds, provides services from November through March for over 1000 men and women.  Services offered at the Winter Shelter include meals, personal hygiene supplies, medical attention, assistance with transitional housing and employment assistance.

This year the Alpha Project plans to serve dinner seven days a week.  The Food and Housing Division in DEH regulates public food distribution and conducts routine inspections of retail food facilities throughout San Diego to ensure food safety and prevent foodborne illnesses.  Each year it is estimated that 48 million people get sick from foodborne illness.  DEH will partner with the Alpha Project to provide food safety guidance and conduct food safety inspections to ensure that the food served to customers at the shelter is safe for consumption.   A food safety inspection has already been conducted at the Alpha Project main kitchen, where the food is prepared. Once food service starts at the Winter Shelter, oversight inspections will be conducted there as well.

The key points to ensure food safety are

  • washing hands properly
  • cooking food to the proper temperatures
  • holding hot food at the proper temperature (135ºF or above)
  • holding cold food at the proper temperature (41ºF or below)
  • properly washing and sanitizing equipment and utensils
  • ensuring that all food is obtained from an approved source

Ensuring food safety is accomplished through education and training. DEH has provided food safety guidance to the Alpha Project and will continue to provide assistance as needed until the completion of this year’s Winter Shelter program.