Contaminated Gloves Can Cause Food Borne Illness

In the last three blogs, I discussed what the movie “Contagion” can teach us about the anatomy of food borne illness epidemics, how proper gloves use is important in the prevention of food borne illness and not all gloves are equal. Now, let’s prevent cross contamination.

In healthcare, we put gloves on a certain way, protect the glove from touching anything that could be contaminated, watch for leaks and take the glove off so as not to contaminate ourselves. All techniques are applicable to food safety.

Handle the glove and put it on and use them so as not to contaminate the gloves.

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Proper Glove Use Will Reduce Food Borne Illness

The Critical FDA Food Code item #9 that is associated with an increased risk of food borne illness is failure to use gloves when preparing ready to eat foods (RTE).

How do you feel when you notice the cook or server is touching your RTE food without gloves?

A turn off, isn’t it? It also increases the risk of transmitting disease.

Imagine a dentist putting his/her hands in your mouth without using gloves. Would you ask him/her to put on gloves? When food service workers touch RTE foods without using gloves, they are literally putting their fingers into the customer’s mouth. Just like dentists, food service workers are entrusted with the public health. Glove use when serving RTE foods is critically important to reducing
food borne illness.

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“The spread of germs from the hands of food workers to food is an important cause of foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants and accounts for 89% of outbreaks.”

 Are food preparers or food servers then required to wear gloves?

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Why Bother Using a Food Thermometer When Cooking or Holding Food?

In the most recent data Annual Report from the CDC, published August 2017, the most common causes of food borne illness identified were related to improper cooking with:

  • “poor temperature control”
  • “insufficient time or temperature while cooking or heating”
  • “improper holding temperatures”
  • “eating contaminated raw, undercooked or under processed foods.

I conclude that to reduce the chances of getting your guests sick, be cautious about temperatures and use a food thermometer for cooking and holding. It really is quite simple.

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How Often Do Food Handlers Work While Ill?

An ill food handler causes nearly 50% of all restaurant-related outbreaks.

While the study is now a few years old, as reported by State and Federal Environmental Health Specialists:

Many restaurant policies concerning ill food workers do not follow FDA recommendations.

Food Handler

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Where Are We Most Likely to Get Food Borne Illness and Why?

In the 2015 (most recent data) Annual Report from the CDC, published August 2017, there were 902 food borne illness outbreaks in the USA with Norovirus being the most confirmed, single cause. Sixty (60%) percent were traced to restaurants. Sit-down dining establishments accounted for nearly half of the restaurant sources.

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What Does a Restaurant B Letter Grade Mean?

In my last blog post, I highlighted the logic behind the A+ grade. Not all restaurants can consistency achieve that level of excellence. But most B graded restaurants are still very good.

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Protecting a Brand’s Food Safety Image: Responding to Alleged Poisonings

It’s going to happen!
Someone you know will get food borne illness from eating at a restaurant this year.

If you are in restaurant management, some of your customers will get food borne illness from eating at your restaurant this year.

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Lessons Learned From the Food Safety Summit and the NRA: A Physician’s Perspective

I had the pleasure of attending the Food Safety Summit held annually in Chicago in early May. I was impressed. The Summit brought together governmental, hospitality, legal, and vendor food safety experts all with the apparent motivation to discuss and learn how to make our food safer from farm or production to the dining table.

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Physician Attendance at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago

Why would an emergency/toxicology physician attend the National Restaurant Association meeting in Chicago?

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) annual Chicago meeting brings the brightest, most talented leaders in the restaurant hospitality sector together for a week of exchanging ideas, learning, and exploring new products and services. So why would a physician attend?

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Top Food Code Standard – Avoiding Personal Contamination

The Critical FDA Food Code item #6 associated with an increased risk of food borne illness is eating, tasting, drinking or using tobacco in a non-designated area.

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