Restaurant Employee Sickness Spreads Disease.


Restaurant Employee Sickness Spreads Disease.

Restaurant Food Poisoning is caused 20% of the time by sick workers.

One of the 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

The 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.


Author: Dr. Harlan Stueven, MD

Harlan Stueven M.D. is a Board-Certified Emergency physician with sub-specialization in Environmental Toxicology and Board Certification in Medical Toxicology. Starting his career in the USAF, he served as a Flight Surgeon and Environmental Health Consultant Physician where one of his duties was monitoring food safety. In his nearly 40-year practice, he treated a range of medical, surgical and poisoning emergencies. He has been a Medical Director and/or Chairman of several hospital-based Emergency Medicine Departments, served as the President of Emergency and Environmental Medicine consulting group, a physician group Chief Financial Officer and sat on many national, state and local committees. Dr. Stueven founded Dining Grades and the Dining Safety Alliance to improve food safety by increasing awareness of food borne illness and the formation of partnerships within the food industry. He is a consultant to the Wisconsin Retail Food Establishment Grading Work Group; a Co-investigator in a CDC funded “Evaluation of Health Department Restaurant Inspection Programs” project. He has presented at several National, State and Regional conferences on restaurant grading and food safety. He is an accomplished leader, medical researcher, a champion of process improvement, author, and national and international speaker.

WP Facebook Auto Publish Powered By :