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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Top Food Code Standard – Worker Health

The Critical FDA Food Code item #7 that is associated with an increased risk of food borne illness is discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth. We covered item #8, clean hands, in a previous blog post.

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Top Food Code Standard – Hands Clean & Properly Washed

The Critical FDA Food Code item #8 that is associated with an increased risk of food borne illness is (failure to keep) hands clean & properly washed. We covered item #9, glove use, in a previous blog post.

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Top Food Code Standard – Glove Use

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).

When food service workers touch RTE foods without using gloves, they are essentially putting their fingers into the customer’s mouth. Just like dentists, food service workers are entrusted with the public health, making glove use when serving RTE foods critical.

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Restaurant Grading is Difficult to Find and Understand

In my last blog, I discussed the importance of restaurant grading in improving food safety and reducing food borne illness. While many municipalities and states post grades, the data can be difficult to find. Some of the data is variably housed on a city, county, regional, or state website. The team at Dr. Stueven’s Dining Grades have spent countless hours looking for these very important links. Unfortunately, some states and/or large municipalities apparently believe this to be confidential data and don’t display it. If you are choosing a place to dine in familiar territory, you may have a better idea what the food safety grades are, but if you are traveling and want to find a food safety rating from an unknown municipality site, it can be considerably harder!

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How Restaurant Food Safety Grades Are Changing the Dining World

A Revolutionary Idea to Post Health Department Inspection Scores

In 1998, Los Angeles County decided to require restauranteurs to post their food safety scores, converted to grades, where the public could easily see the results. There was confusion. There was anger. There was bewilderment. But after nearly twenty years, the effort has shown the public embracing the idea and restauranteurs are increasingly focused on food safety. In the past several years, the public has seen this idea spread to other municipalities. California municipalities, large municipalities like NYC, Boston, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Toronto have embraced the idea of posting grades at the restaurant. Additionally, many entire states like Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana have embraced the idea of openly sharing data and now offer website access to the public, listing scores. Unfortunately, some municipalities and states refuse to share any data.

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How Good Foods Can Go Bad: Fruits and Vegetables

Moms and nutritionists agree, “eat your fruits and vegetables”. While I share that admonition, I offer a caution – wash them first!

The second deadliest bacterial food borne outbreak in the last 40 years killed thirty people and sickened 146. In 2011, the contaminated cantaloupe outbreak reached across 28 states. FDA officials ultimately found Listeria on dirty equipment previously used in potato farming. Contaminated water was found on the floor of the packing plant while the employees moving around the plant spread it. It is suspected that a “dump truck used to take culled melons to a cattle farm could have brought bacteria to the facility”. Furthermore, bacteria growth may have been caused by the lack of a cooling step before refrigeration.

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How Good Foods Can Go Bad: Juices

I love my morning orange juice. It is tasty. It is refreshing. I believe it is healthy.

American society is embracing juices by “juicing” nearly everything as evidenced by the rainbow colors of juices we see in grocery stores, food stands and specialty cafe’s. But there is a trend for consumers to drink commercial non-pasteurized juices and that carries an increasing risk of food borne illness.

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Medical Diseases with Increased Risk of Food Poisonings

Who is at increased risk?

Patients on immunosuppressants for their disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease are at increased risk largely because of the immunosuppressant use. This topic was covered in a previous blog and will not be reiterated here.

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