Never let it be said Minnesota “church ladies” try to skirt the law.

Since the publication of my story Sunday about a new food safety law dubbed the “Church Lady Bill,” I’ve been inundated with phone calls and e-mails from church ladies (and a few “church gentlemen”).

They’re interested in the law passed by the Legislature last session, which exempts faith-based groups from routine state health inspections at events where food is served to large groups (Think church pancake breakfasts, fish fries or hotdish suppers).

The law does, however, require at least one volunteer who prepares food at large group events to attend training and share what he or she has learned with the other church cooks.

Minnesota state health officials told me nearly 600 church volunteers are expected for the first training session, a free videoconference called “Cooking Safely for a Crowd” that will be broadcast to 22 sites around the state on Tuesday (Oct. 18).

If you’re interested in attending the workshop, here’s a link for registration and site locations:

The workshop by the University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Health will cover the causes of foodborne illness, personal hygiene and hand-washing, and storing and preparing foods safely, among other related topics.

If the Tuesday workshop is full, never fear. There are other training opportunities available.

Check out: or call the University of Minnesota Extension at 1-888-241-4591 for more information.

Happy Hotdish Making!