Helping You and the People Around You to Stay Healthy
Food Safety: Facts and Fantasies
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foodborne illnesses cause 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths each year in America (Mead et al. 1999). Sixty percent of the reported outbreaks attributed to a specific location occur in food service venues (Bean et al. 1996, Olsen et al. 2000). Considering these statistics, it is no wonder that maintaining customer confidence is a primary concern facing the food service industry today.
Good personal hygiene is fundamental in preventing food borne illness outbreaks. The issue of poor Hand Washing compliance must be addressed aggressively anywhere food is prepared and served, including restaurants, hotels, food processing facilities, hospitals and cafeterias. Numerous challenges exist in order to increase hand washing and drying compliance and reduce the risk of foodborne illness outbreaks.
Top reasons for Hand Washing resistance:
- Materials for washing are unavailable or inconveniently located.
- No clear signage or reinforcement exist.
- Poor hand washing and drying habits.
- High turnover rates.
- Too busy.
- Hands hurt/skin damage.
- Health risks are not understood or recognized due to the lack of education.
Mead PS, Slutsker L, Dietz V, McCaig LF, Bresee JS, Shapiro C, Griffin PM, Tauxe RV. Food-Related Illness and Death in the United States. Emerging and Infectious Diseases 1999; 5(5):607-625.
Bean, N.H.; Goulding, J.S.; Lao, C.; Angulo, F.J. Surveillance for foodborne-disease outbreaks-United States, 1988-1992. MMWR CDC Surveill Summ, 45(5):1-66, 1996.
Olsen SJ, Mackinnon LC, Goulding JS, Bean NH, Slutsker L. Surveillance for food-borne disease outbreaks--United States,1993-1997. Mor Martal Wkly Rep CDC Surveill Summ 200 Mar 17;49(1):1-62.
*Michaels, B., Blevins, M., Bartleson, B., Todd, E., Guzewich, J., Griffith, C. (2002). The Role of the Infected Food Handler in Foodborne Illness Outbreaks, Part I Risk Factors and Patterns of Transmission.