Restaurant Food Poisoning is caused 20% of the time by sick workers.
One of the DiningGrades.com Secret Diner questions is:
“Was the server/cook noticeably ill, have hand cuts, wounds or rashes? “
Why is this important?
Because transmission of illness from food workers to the food they are handling is the implicated cause of 18% of foodborne illness outbreaks. (CDC statistics) Additionally, in a study conducted by the CDC, Restaurant Managers estimated that in a 3-month period, an average of 26% of their food workers had worked a shift while ill. Over half of food workers (58%) reported that in the past year, they had worked a shift while ill.
Reportedly, according to the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, 63% of the restaurant workers admitted that they turned up for work when they were sick. Yet another source confirming that many food handlers or servers are sick on the job.
In Fort Wayne Indiana in March and April 2012 over 100 people got sick with Norovirus from allegedly eating at two separate Mexican restaurants.
“Both outbreaks were traced to sick employees who reported for work in spite of their illness, according to Waldron.”
In Syracuse NY, February 2012, 70 people got sick after eating “The stomach bug can be easily spread by people working in food preparation areas. Morrow said some of the restaurant’s employees had the illness.”
I was at a restaurant in a Minneapolis suburb with friends. Our waitress was sniffling, sneezing while taking our order. Almost makes you gag, doesn’t it. You can watch for server/cook illness and report it on DiningGrades.com.
The DiningGrades.com FREE Food Handlers and Food Server Courses stress the importance of not reporting to work when sick. I am not naïve enough to think that education alone will change this risk but it is a great start. If you know someone who works in a restaurant or owns a restaurant, pass on the link.