By Capt. Robert Shaw, 27th BSB, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div.February 6, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - Preventive Medicine Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, demonstrated food handling and dining facility inspection procedures to their Iraqi counterparts during a class with troops from the 10th Iraqi Army Division at the Coalition Forces Dining Facility here, Feb. 3.
The PM team assigned to the 27th Brigade Support Battalion "Rough Riders" focused on food preparation and serving techniques during the Iraqi Army's three-hour visit.
"Everything is very well organized here," said Capt. Raheem Hmedy Hafan, an Iraqi officer who observed the American Soldiers.
The PM team and DFAC personnel also gave the group an in-depth tour of the facilities and showed them the daily process of receiving bulk quantities of meats and vegetables. The staff demonstrated the immediate transfer of food from distribution pallets to cold storage areas, thereby greatly reducing the risk of contamination and bacteria growth.
"Our food workers have to get a monthly check-up to work in Iraqi restaurants," said Lt. Mohand Hmsam Abdul Khadm, an Iraqi Soldier present during the PM team's inspection class.
The Rough Rider Soldiers attempted to reinforce their points by citing examples of past incidents of food poisoning in the U.S. which resulted from the improper storage of meat at incorrect temperatures prior to serving. Each of those incidents has produced lessons learned and new tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) that have prevented the recurrence of similar events.
"We were happy for this opportunity to share this experience with the Iraqis," said Sgt. Jonathan Agrai, who is the PM team's non-commissioned officer in charge, and a native of Houston. "(This enables them) to further prevent many common food-borne illnesses in their restaurants and cafeterias."
The 27th BSB 'Rough Rider' Soldiers are hoping the food-handling class will help prevent illness to Iraqi and Coalition Forces residing across southern Iraq.
"I have really enjoyed my experience as part of the PM team this tour," said Spc. Alex Barnard, a chemical operations specialist with the PM team. "I really feel I am making a difference."