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
Although the “bucket and rag” method may be the industry standard for cleaning surfaces in restaurants, if not performed properly, these techniques can be ineffective at best. Cleaning and sanitizing with reusable towels requires constant monitoring of the sanitizing solution, the surfaces being cleaned, and the towels themselves.Read More
A comprehensive body fluid spill kit is one of the most important tools food safety teams can include as a part of their overall risk management plans. The benefits outweigh the relatively minor costs of including response kits as a part of an organization’s protocols. There are three main reasons why organizations should seriously consider investing in body fluid spill kits.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
Even though food safety is top of mind for those working in the foodservice industry, there are challenges. And, some of these challenges are often associated with basic food safety practices.Read More
Earlier this month, the FDA issued its Final Rule on antibacterial soap products marketed to consumers or made available for use in public settings. This ruling excludes antibacterial soaps used in foodservice settings, as well as hand sanitizers. In addition, while this rule only applies to a subset of active ingredients and products used outside of healthcare and food handling industries, there might be some confusion as to the regulation’s impact on the foodservice industry.
The Important Role of Hand Hygiene Plays in Foodservice
Handwashing with soap and water is the first and most important step any restaurant worker can take to ensure the safety of food and reduce the risk of getting sick or making others sick.
Whether it takes place on the farm where the food is being grown, or in the kitchen (at home or in a restaurant), hand hygiene is vital to preventing our food from becoming contaminated. Also, when people think about hand hygiene in the foodservice industry, they typically think about handwashing with soap and water.
Antibacterial Soaps and the Foodservice Industry
While the FDA does not specify what type of soap – bland or antibacterial – for foodservice industry workers to use, antibacterial soaps are common.
Antibacterial soaps are often used because they contain ingredients designed to kill germs on the skin, adding an extra level of protection from microbial contamination. In fact, a 2011 study, published in the Journal of Food Protection, compared bland and antibacterial soaps and found that antibacterial soaps did provide a statistically significant greater reduction in bacteria.
In addition, handwashing technique plays a critical role in reducing the transient, or illness-causing germs, on hands. Yet, oftentimes, handwashing technique is incorrect, and using an antibacterial soap helps kill germs missed by an ineffective washer.
All in all, hand hygiene and using the right hand hygiene products play a critical role in food safety.
News of an apparent Hepatitis A outbreak has been making headlines this week. But, what is Hepatitis A? How can it be prevented, and should your restaurant be concerned?
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. Typically, uncooked Hepatitis A-contaminated foods are the source of an outbreak; for example, frozen strawberries are the source for this most recent outbreak. Yet, according to the CDC, cooked foods can also be a source of infection if the temperature during food preparation is inadequate and does not kill the virus, or if food is contaminated after cooking, as is the case with outbreaks associated with infected food handlers.
Hepatitis A is rare in the United States. In fact, according to the CDC, there were an estimated 2,500 acute Hepatitis A infections in the United States in 2014. It is also one of the few foodborne illnesses that can be prevented by vaccination. Yet, outbreaks can happen, and the good news is this foodborne illness is preventable, if certain measures are taken. These include:
- Washing hands with soap and water – food handlers must always wash their hands with soap and water after using the bathroom and before preparing food
- Wearing gloves – food handlers should always wear gloves when handling or preparing ready-to-eat foods
- Staying home when ill – restaurant workers should stay home from work if they are ill
While Hepatitis A is rare and preventable, it is still important to learn the facts about this foodborne illness.
Additional information can be found on the following websites:
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Viral Hepatitis – Hepatitis A Information. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/
2. Foodsafety.gov. Hepatitis A. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from https://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/hepatitisa/
3. About Hepatitis. How to Prevent Hepatitis Infection. Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://www.about-hepatitis.com/hepatitis_prevention#.V-AAHfkrJhE
Every year since 2009, the non-profit Partnership for Food Safety Education has addressed food safety myths that people commonly hold and share with others. Over time, more than two dozen myths have been debunked with the FACTS that consumers need to know to help reduce their risk of foodborne illness.
All foods -- regardless of the way they were produced -- need to be handled and stored properly to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
Home Food Safety Mythbusters challenges ideas consumers often have about types of food and preparing and handling food at home -- things like:
“A hamburger that is brown in the middle is safe to eat.”
“A vegetarian is not at risk for foodborne illness.”
“Microwaves kill foodborne pathogens.”
This September for National Food Safety Education Month, the Partnership is highlighting “Top Ten Home Food Safety Myths and Facts.”
How many of these “Top 10” have you believed over the years? Do you rinse your chicken (not a safety step), but you don’t rinse your melon? The Partnership invites you to take a look at food handling habits, and see if there are any that could be improved.
The consistent practice of four core home food safety steps -- Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill – including the practice of good hand hygiene before, during and after preparing your favorite meals, can reduce your risk of foodborne illness. And, importantly, it might help you set better and more consistent handling practices that reduce risk to other people in your household, like young children, an elderly relative or an immune-compromised family member. These people are at greater risk for getting sick – and for being hospitalized for a foodborne illness.
About Partnership for Food Safety Education:
The Partnership for Food Safety Education delivers trusted, science-based behavioral health messaging and a network of resources that support consumers and health educators. Get free consumer education downloads and register for events at www.fightbac.org.
Although strains of Escherichia coli, or what is commonly known as E.coli, can promote healthy functions within our bodies, some strains can cause serious and contagious illness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, E.coli is a common foodborne illness that spreads quickly. And, without proper procedures in place, which include processes for food preparation and strong hand hygiene protocols, your restaurant might be at risk for a possible E. coli outbreak. So how can you reduce this risk?
In a recent interview, GOJO Microbiologist Dave Shumaker shares information about the highly contagious strains of E.coli, where they come from, and the measures you can take to mitigate your restaurant’s risk.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, E. coli. Retrieved June 9, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are more than 250 different types of foodborne illnesses. Yet, there is one that is the most common – norovirus. In fact, norovirus is responsible for 58% of domestically acquired foodborne illnesses, and nearly half of all foodborne disease outbreaks due to known agents. So, what is norovirus, and how can you reduce the risks associated with this foodborne pathogen?
GOJO Microbiologist Dave Shumaker takes a closer look at norovirus and discusses the actions you can take to reduce the risk of a norovirus outbreak negatively impacting your restaurant.