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 Clean Are Those Stadiums?

We had a first-time experience at the Denver Broncos stadium within the last month. It was fun. Getting there early, we had our first brat and lathered it with condiments at the condiment table. No problem. At half-time we ordered another brat but had to wait while it was thawed out and then cooked. OK. But the condiment table looked like a bomb had exploded. I passed on the condiments and ate the brat and bread dry.

I have to ask, have you ever wondered about food safety at the stadium?

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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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How Do Food Handlers Rate Their Own Food Safety Practices?

Risky food preparation practices were commonly reported by food service workers and reported in a study conducted by Environmental Health Specialists at the State and Federal level.

Safety food practise

When asked key hygiene questions, food workers said that at work:

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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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Choosing Safe Fast Food When Traveling by Automobile

If your traveling by automobile with a family, it is tempting to pack a cooler with foods. With three kids, now adults, we always did.

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Why a Restaurant Food Safety Grade of C is Worrisome

What does it mean to have a Food Safety C grade?

In school, a C grade means average. A normal distribution curve has 68% of all grades as a C.

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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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Why is an A+ Important as a Restaurant Food Safety Letter Grade?

For the first time ever, the dining public will now be able to choose a restaurant using a 36 month history of health department food safety scores, converted to a cumulative letter grade. As diners walk the streets in eleven major metro areas this week, they will see window decals honoring those restaurants that have achieved an enviable level of excellence.

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