What do Food Poisoning Epidemics Have in Common?
In my last blog, I discussed restaurant chains that have gained notoriety for their alleged food poisoning outbreaks. Is there a common thread?
The Jack in the Box epidemic was caused by undercooked hamburger.
Employees from Subway passed on Hepatitis and Shigella from their stool.
The Taco Bell and Taco John’s epidemics were from contaminated lettuce.
Contaminated clover and alfalfa sprouts were allegedly eaten at Jimmy John’s.
A McDonalds outbreak was caused by contamination from sick employees.
The Sizzler epidemic was caused when a mixer was used on raw meat and other foods.
Hepatitis, commonly found in stool, caused the Chi-Chi’s outbreak.
Following the FDA food code and or corporate educational programs would likely have prevented most of these events. There are threads.
- Sick employees should not work.
- Proper hand washing should be followed.
- Gloves should be used for ready to eat foods.
- Produce should be appropriately washed.
- Meat should be appropriately cooked.
- Efforts should be made to prevent cross contamination.
These are simple rules. I am sure corporate educational and quality assurance programs likely addressed these issues but a disconnect between the well-intentioned corporate office and the food handler/server in the restaurant is apparent.
There must be a better educational and quality assurance methods.
Food Safety Courses need to dynamically address inspection deficiencies.