How Safe is Grocery, Deli, Convenience Service Station Food?

Perhaps you read the heartbreaking story of a father who ate nacho cheese from a gas station and died from botulism. 

Clostridium botulinum is the technical name for the bacteria that releases a toxin causing botulism. It is an uncommon, almost rare form of food poisoning. But is often universally deadly indeed.

Most of us have done it. We have grabbed a quick hot dog from a convenience store or gas station. We’ve picked up a quick salad from a grocery store deli. Perhaps we’ve grabbed some fruit from the grocery store and eaten it on the way home before washing it. All of these scenarios carry a risk of food borne illness.
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How Safe is the Food Served in our Schools?

We all want our children and grandchildren to be safe when they attend school.

But news headlines cause concern: “Workers blamed for food poisoning at Waipahu Elementary School”, “Questions Remain over Hollister High School Illness Outbreak”, “Food Poisoning Outbreak at Stanford — Norovirus Suspected”, ”Investigation Continues into what Sidelined 58 Teachers in Catered Luncheon.

For school administrators, teachers, parents and grandparents the headlines raise doubt.

USDA
Source: USDA

What is the frequency of these outbreaks?

In a 2016 CDC report there were nine outbreaks in 2014.

In the most recent CDC report August 2017 there were 16 food borne illness school outbreaks with 622 illnesses. While the reports are based on data that is two years old this is an increase from the previous year’s report.

What are deeper root causes?

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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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Dirty hands are everywhere

Dirty hands are everywhere. We touch our hair, our nose or other body parts. We use the bathroom and casually wash our hands. We touch door nobs, handrails, light switches and money, never really thinking about who touched it last. We shake hands or share community bowls of popcorn and wonder how we got sick.

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Wonder How Clean Those Stadium Kitchens Are?

Writers for ESPN reviewed the Public Health Department inspections of 107 major league stadiums within the United States. Their review underscores the deplorable state of filthiness that puts sports enthusiasts at risk for food borne illness.

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