What are the Best Methods for Preventing Norovirus Outbreaks?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 250 different types of foodborne illnesses.  Yet, norovirus is among the most common. In fact, norovirus is responsible for over 50 percent of foodborne illnesses in the United States , and restaurants are one of the most common sources of an outbreak. So, how does a restaurant reduce its risk of a norovirus outbreak?

The FDA recently released a study in the latest issue of Risk Analysis, the scholarly journal of the Society for Risk Analysis,  that took a closer look at the methods restaurant workers can take to reduce the spread of norovirus. The study’s findings were not unique; in fact, they supported what is already included the FDA Food Code. And, if workers follow this advice according to this study, the spread of norovirus could be drastically reduced. These preventive measures include:

  • Stay home if you are ill,
  • Washing your hands before preparing food,
  • Wearing gloves when preparing food, and
  • Not touching ready-to-eat food with bare hands.

This research confirms the fact that a strong food safety program focused on employee hygiene is critical to reduce the spread of foodborne illnesses. In addition, since there is not one single way to prevent norovirus, this study found that the best method of prevention to is to fully comply with and follow the prevention strategies outlined in the Food Code. 

Learn more about norovirus and its spread in the bulletin, “The Importance of Norovirus: Why You Should Have a Good Safety Program to Control Its Spread.”