Food Safety month marks the chance to shake-up food safety practices
The “Notorious Virus” theme immediately sets the tone for National Food Safety Month (NFSM) in September. The norovirus has certainly achieved notoriety status; the ultra-contagious virus earns plenty of mentions in the news, often linked to restaurant food outbreaks.
With flu season about to rear its ugly head, the timing couldn’t be better to focus on food safety. Slightly more than half, 51percent, of food workers admit to going to work when they are sick, according to a 2015 Alchemy Study. “Can’t afford to lose pay,” was a main reason for working while sick. And food workers remain the prime piece of the puzzle when it comes to norovirus outbreaks; 70 percent of outbreaks are caused by food workers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Clearly no one should prepare food for others while sick. In fact, the CDC recommends waiting at least two to three days after recovery to avoid exposing anyone.
In June, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted that the live flu vaccine, known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season due to low effectiveness vs. a flu shot. While the CDC has been working all summer to ensure supply will meet demand, operators who encourage employees to receive a flu shot may want to consider doing it earlier this year.
For a do-it-yourself vaccine, the CDC points to hand-washing. (read more about hand-washing in Consultant’s Viewpoint, p.24). It even has its own day: Sat., Oct. 15 is officially Global Handwashing Day.