As a 25-year veteran of public health, I have experienced several iterations of the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code. Based on the FDA Model Food Code, state regulations change due to newly-discovered scientific evidence and are influenced by the input of industry, regulators and academia.Read More
There’s a common misconception about cruise lines that has plagued the industry for years. “The cruise-ship virus” – or Norovirus, as it’s known on land – is most commonly associated with illness outbreaks on cruises. But what does all this have to do with restaurants? Don’t worry – we’re getting there…Read More
As a restaurant owner/operator, food safety is paramount to your business. You have processes and procedures in place to help ensure your restaurant does not fall victim to a foodborne illness outbreak. Yet, do you know what factors pose the highest risk for foodborne illness, and, are therefore, of top concern to restaurant inspectors?Read More
Did you know the CDC estimates that more than 400,000 people in the United States will become ill with infections caused by antibiotic-resistant foodborne bacteria every year? In fact, studies have shown that resistant bacteria can contaminate food from animals, and in turn, cause infections in humans.Read More
Yes, another cold and flu season is upon us. The time of year when both employees and guests might bring coughs and sneezes with them into the restaurant. Knowing it’s important to have your employees at work and not sick at home, try these tips to help your employees stay healthy this season.Read More
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) routinely analyze disease outbreaks to find commonalities and determine appropriate prevention strategies. This information serves as a valuable resource to sanitarians all over the world as it helps us to pinpoint sources of contamination. It has also helped to determine the 5 most common risk factors for foodborne illness,..Read More
Every day, local health departments field calls from customers complaining about having the “24-Hour Flu” or “The Stomach Flu.” In truth, the cause of most of these cases is Norovirus. The person calling generally blames the last food they ate for making them sick. It usually isn’t the last meal eaten that made them sick, rather it is something they had within the past few days. The average incubation, or the time it takes for symptoms to manifest, is generally 24-72 hours.Read More
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that is usually transmitted either through person-to-person contact or through consumption of contaminated food or water. It is usually transmitted when an infected person has not properly washed his or her hands after using the restroom or before preparing and eating food.Read More
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.”
It’s February, and that can only mean one thing…it’s cold and flu season. It’s the time of the year when both your employees and guests might bring with them coughs and sneezes into the restaurant. So, how can you help your employees stay healthy during this time of the year?
The flu vaccine and diligent hygiene are important measures everyone should practice this time of the year to help reduce the spread of germs that can cause illness. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following actions:
- Take the time to get a flu vaccine. According to the CDC, even though it is already February, it’s not too late to get a flu shot since flu activity can last until May.
- Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs. This includes washing your hands often with soap and water, and if soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Take flu antiviral drugs, if your doctor prescribes them.
Another important element to cold and flu prevention is to sanitize and clean frequently touched surfaces with products specifically designed to kill these viruses. At work and in our homes, we all touch a variety of surfaces throughout the day. From doorknobs, to kitchen and break room counters/tables, to light switches, germs that can cause illness are easily transferred from one person to the next via the surfaces we touch. This is why it is important to sanitize and clean both hard and soft surfaces frequently as well as objects such as restaurant menus. Also, always sanitize and disinfect food-preparation surfaces with a sanitizer and disinfectant specifically formulated for those surfaces.
While you cannot prevent sick guests from coming into your restaurant, you can help your employees stay healthy by sharing with them these tips.
1. CDC Says Three Actions to Fight the Flu, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm