40 Percent of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks at Restaurants Linked to Infected Workers

A new study found that 40% of US foodborne illness outbreaks at

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A new study found that 40% of US foodborne illness outbreaks at restaurants between 2017 to 2019 started with a sick employee. The majority of food safety policies are based are modeled on the FDA’s Food Code, which aim to reduce foodborne infections in retail settings. More than 91% of restaurants reported that they had a policy mandating that workers let them know when they are sick. Sixty-six percent of restaurants said that they documented these rules in writing. Most managers also reported that their establishment had instituted a rule to prevent ill employees from working or performing certain duties.

These findings support previous research that showed such policies were inadequate. “Although a majority of managers reported their establishment had an ill worker policy, often these policies were missing components intended to reduce foodborne illness risk,” the researchers wrote. “According to the researchers, restaurants can improve their outbreak prevention efforts by requiring mandating proper hand hygiene and forbidding infectious employees from working. The researchers found that preventing the spread of infection in restaurants demands “not only includes adoption and enforcement of comprehensive written ill worker policies but also enhances training, management plans to continue operations when a worker is absent (e.g., on-call staffing), and adoption of a food safety culture where absenteeism due to illness is not penalized”.

Full Story: NBC News