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SALMONELLA AND THE FOOD INDUSTRY

 

 

Courtesy: CDC.PHIL

SALMONELLA CAUSES 400 DEATHS

Salmonellosis is a disease caused by bacteria commonly known as SalmonellaSalmonella live in the intestinal tracts of humans and other animals.  Salmonella are transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces.  Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal.

Salmonella are the most common cause of foodborne illness (better known as food poisoning) in the United States.  There are an estimated 1.4 million cases of Salmonella each year in the United States alone.  With that, there are an estimated 400 deaths a year.(1)   Salmonella affects all age groups but can be more serious for infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.

WHAT CAUSES SALMONELLOSIS?

The most common causes of Salmonella from the food industry are:

Eating foods that are contaminated with salmonella. These foods include:

  1. Eggs
  2. Poultry, or other meat
  3. Unpasteurized juice, and milk
  4. Cheese (Dairy products)
  5. Contaminated raw fruits and vegetables (melons, and alfalfa sprouts)

There are a lot of farm animals that carry Salmonella naturally.  A person only has to eat a small amount to these bacteria to get sick.  Listed below are some guidelines that you can implement in your restaurant to help prevent this disease:

  • Cook poultry, eggs, and beef to minimum internal temperatures.
  • Do not serve any product containing raw eggs.
  • Avoid cross contamination between poultry and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Sanitize all utensils and surfaces between use.
  • Wash hands with warm soapy water after touching products that can possibly contaminate.
  • Use gloves to handle foods.
  • Do not allow sick staff members to work.

The only way to keep your kitchen safe is to put policies and guidelines in place, train, and then follow up.  Please remember that there is a right way to wash your hands.   If taught the correct handwashing procedure and enforced by management, most food handlers will adhere to this procedure.

THE RIGHT WAY TO WASH HANDS:

i)       Wet hands and arms with water temping at least 110 degree Fahrenheit.

ii)      Apply ample soap.

iii)     Scrub hands and arms for at least 10 to 15 seconds.

iv)     Rinse well.

v)      Dry using a single-use-paper towel or air hand dryer.

When and how often do you change gloves:

i)       At the beginning of any new task

ii)      As soon as gloves become soiled

iii)     As soon as gloves are ripped or torn

iv)     Every four hours during continual use, or more often if necessary

v)      After touching any raw meats, seafood, or produce

Always have single use gloves in different sizes available for your staff.  Some counties expect your hands to be washed in between every glove change.  Check your local regulatory requirements.

Some restaurant owners, managers, or staff members may think that it is silly to give a lesson on hand washing, but it is much safer to feel silly rather than to ignore potentially hazardous behavior.  Although washing hands alone will not prevent spreading salmonella, every step can help.

I know you don't want to see a headline like this:

Investigation of a Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Hadar Infections Associated with Turkey Burgers

April 4, 2011

REFERENCES:

(1)  CDC.gov

See Chart:  When Should I Wash My Hands?

See Chart:  Correct Handwashing Procedures

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