Tag Archives: Food Contamination

Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Restaurant Study By CDC Finds “Widespread Risky Food Handling Practices” In Over 50% Of Kitchens; Failure To Follow FDA Guidance On Preventing Cross-Contamination

“…For the chicken study, EHS-Net researchers interviewed 448 restaurant managers. They found that many were not following FDA guidance Restaurant Kitchen Health Risksabout preventing cross-contamination and cooking chicken properly and that managers “lacked basic food safety knowledge about chicken”…40% of managers said they never, rarely, or only occasionally designated certain cutting boards exclusively for raw meat, and more than 50% said that thermometers were not used to determine the final cooking temperature of chicken. Further, only 43% of managers knew the recommended final cooking temperature…”

A set of studies released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners points to widespread holes in restaurant food safety systems, such as risky handling of ground beef and chicken and too-warm shipping temperatures for leafy greens.

Among the key findings, according to the study and a CDC summary:

  • Eighty-one percent of restaurants used subjective measures of hamburger doneness, and 49% said they never checked the final cooking temperature
  • At least two risky handling practices were seen in 53% of restaurants
  • In 62% of restaurants in which workers used bare hands to handle raw ground beef, they did not wash their hands after handling it.
  • Only 1% of restaurants reported buying irradiated ground beef, and 29% were unfamiliar with the product
  • Chain restaurants and those with managers certified in food safety had safer practices than others.

At the same time, the CDC announced plans for a new surveillance system designed to help state and local health departments identify underlying factors that contribute to foodborne disease outbreaks in restaurants and other food service venues.

The research findings, published this week in the Journal of Food Protection, deal with the handling of ground beef, chicken, and leafy greens and with sick food workers.

For more:  http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2013/12/cdc-finds-holes-restaurant-food-safety-systems


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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Restaurants Must Make Food Safety A “Core Value”; Lack Of “Hand Washing, Food Holding Temperature Controls” Remain Biggest Risk To Customers

“…Hand washing and proper holding temperatures — the basics of food safety — have not changed in 30 years, said Moore of Eat’n Restaurant Kitchen Health RisksPark. The key is keeping the message fresh so that employees pay attention…with a workforce largely under the age of 25, employers need to make sure their messages are quick and easy to grasp. Moore said he relies on lots of colorful visuals, and customized posters, comics, video clips featuring celebrities, games like Pandemic 2, and stuffed-animal germs and microbes are among his favorites…”

Food safety “needs to be part of your core values,” William Moore, director of safety and security for Eat’n Park Hospitality Inc., the Homestead, Pa.-based parent of the 75-unit Eat’n Park family-dining chain, said during his keynote speech. “If it’s not in your core values, your mission statement, then it’s not a priority.”

The symposium occurred against the backdrop of a Cyclospora outbreak that had sickened 642 people in 25 states, leading to 45 hospitalizations but no deaths, throughout the summer. The cause of the outbreak was still under investigation at press time, although a salad mix from Taylor Farms de Mexico served at Darden Restaurants Inc. in two states had been implicated in about 240 of the illnesses.

Tugging at the heartstrings doesn’t hurt either, said several attendees. Al Baroudi, Ph.D., vice president, quality assurance and food safety for The Cheesecake Factory Inc., the Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based operator of 175 upscale casual-dining restaurants, shows his audiences an image of the hundreds of children and adults that have died during foodborne illness outbreaks to drive home the point that lives are stake.

For more:  http://nrn.com/food-safety/7-steps-ensuring-restaurant-food-safety?page=2

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Restaurants “Cause 250% More Foodbourne Illnesses” Than Eating At Home A New CSPI Study Finds

“…the CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) found there are roughly two and half times more illnesses caused by outbreak_alert_2013_final-page-001foodborne illnesses picked up by dining at restaurants than by eating at home…restaurants were involved in 1,786 outbreaks during the decade, events associated with at least 32,919 illnesses. Private residences were involved in 922 outbreaks resulting in 12,666 illnesses…another 1,229 outbreaks occurred in multiple locations —schools, jobsites, catered events, etc.—and were responsible for at least 42,301 illnesses…”

Some of CSPI’s other findings include:

  • Foods regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were responsible for twice as many fully investigated outbreaks as those regulated by the U.S.Department of Agriculture.
  • Dairy and produce outbreak levels remained relatively unchanged, while most of the declines came in seafood, beef, pork and poultry,
  • Pound for pound, seafood remains the most risky food, followed by poultry, produce and dairy.
  • The most common contaminant/vehicle pairing is Salmonella in poultry.

For more:  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/03/fewer-people-may-be-getting-sick-from-poisoned-food/#.UVGbf0nn8eE

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Iowa Restaurant Linked To Meat Contaminated By E. Coli That Nearly Killed Woman; Beef Processing Plant Used Mechanical Tenderizer

“…Although blading and injecting marinades into meat add value for the beef industry, that also can drive pathogens — including the E. coli O157:H7 that destroyed Lamkin’s colon — deeper into the meat…if it isn’t Risks of E. coli contamination in restaurant beefcooked sufficiently, people can get sick. Or die.

Big Beef and other processors are co-mingling ground beef from many different cattle, some from outside the United States, adding to the difficulty for health officials to track contaminated products to their source. The industry has resisted labeling some products, including mechanically tenderized meat, to warn consumers and restaurants to cook it thoroughly.

Three years ago, at age 87, Lamkin was forced to begin wearing a colostomy bag for the rest of her life after a virulent meat-borne pathogen destroyed her large colon and nearly killed her. What made her so sick? A medium-rare steak she ate nine days earlier at an Applebee’s restaurant.

Lamkin, like most consumers today, didn’t know she had ordered a steak that had been run through a mechanical tenderizer. In a lawsuit, Lamkin said her steak came from National Steak Processors Inc., which claimed it got the contaminated meat from a U.S. plant run by Brazilian-based JBS — the biggest beef packer in the world.

“You trust people, trust that nothing is going to happen,” said Lamkin, who feels lucky to be alive at 90, but beef companies “are mass-producing this and shoveling it into us.”

The Kansas City Star investigated what the industry calls “bladed” or “needled” beef, and found the process exposes Americans to a higher risk of E. coli poisoning than cuts of meat that have not been tenderized. The process has been around for decades, but while exact figures are difficult to come by, USDA surveys show that more than 90 percent of beef producers are now using it.

Mechanically tenderized meat is increasingly found in grocery stores, and a vast amount is sold to family-style restaurants, hotels and group homes. The American Meat Institute, an industry lobbying group, has defended the product as safe but recently said it can’t comment further until it sees results of an assessment by the meat safety division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/12/08/4469815/mechanical-tenderizers-linked.html#storylink=cpy

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: North Carolina Restaurant Settles “Food Contamination” Class-Action Lawsuit For $375,000; Hundreds Had To Be Vaccinated For Hepatitis Virus

“…the lawsuit alleged that the restaurant chain exposed customers to potentially contaminated food or people, cost them wages and medical expenses, and caused fear and physical pain…a $375,000 fund has been set up by the restaurant’s parent company… to settle a class-action lawsuit…”

A lawsuit has been settled involving hundreds of people who had to be vaccinated after eating at a Fayetteville restaurant last year. The Fayetteville Observer reported those who were immunized after eating at the Olive Garden restaurant are eligible for payments of up to $250.

Hundreds of people got vaccinations after learning that one of the restaurant’s workers had tested positive for the virus, which causes liver inflammation.

Florida-based GMRI denied any wrongdoing but said it wanted to settle to end the litigation.

For more:  http://www.northjersey.com/news/health/174592761.html

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Michigan Restaurant Closes Down After Confirmed “Norovirus” Outbreak Sickens Over 200 Customers

“…customers reported symptoms of vomiting, nausea, cramps, and diarrhea. More than 200 individuals have come forward with symptoms since last week. Nearly all patients recovered within a day, but one individual was hospitalized for dehydration…”

An outbreak of foodborne illness at a Mexican restaurant in Holland, MI was confirmed to be norovirus, the Ottawa County Health Department reported on Tuesday. Officials are no longer seeking any reports of illness on this case. However, Susan Felgner, representative to the health department, noted, “[t]he overwhelming public response was critical…to the investigation.”

The owners of Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant have voluntarily closed its doors and have not announced when it will re-open.

Norovirus is a highly contagious disease transmitted through contaminated food and water or contact with infected surfaces. The virus causes gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach, and leads to symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and fever.

For more:  http://www.healthmap.org/news/norovirus-outbreak-hits-restaurant-michigan-8212

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Oregon Restaurants Fight New Rule Requiring Cooks To Wear Gloves Before Touching Food; Hand-Washing Practices Are Central Concern

“…the Oregon Health Authority’s Foodborne Illness Prevention department said the measure was created to prevent the spread of norovirus, the most common cause of food poisoning. It’s often spread through improper hand washing by employees after they use the bathroom… a 2003 health authority survey in which restaurant inspectors found at least one hand-washing violation at nearly two-thirds of Oregon eateries…”

Oregon restaurant owners and chefs recently earned a small victory, delaying by several months a new state rule that could make dining out more expensive, create waste and, despite its good intentions, do little to protect public health.

The rule, initially set to take effect Sunday, would require cooks to wear gloves or otherwise avoid touching food with their bare hands. But restaurant owners argued the requirement won’t prove safer than the state’s current rigorous hand-washing practices — and the science seems to back them up.

At least a half-dozen recent studies have concluded the same: Counterintuitively, wearing gloves does little to prevent the spread of bacteria compared with effective hand washing. Wearing gloves has been found to reduce the number of times people wash their hands, while warm, moist conditions create a hothouse for bacteria to grow. A 2005 report from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center that analyzed grilled tortillas found more staph, coliform and other harmful bacteria on the samples prepared by workers wearing gloves.

“Gloves lead to a bulletproof-vest feeling,” said Bryan Steelman, owner of the Mexican eatery Por Que No? and among the restaurateurs leading the charge against the new rule. “Cooks think, ‘I have a glove on. I don’t need to wash my hands.'”

For more:  http://www.oregonlive.com/dining/index.ssf/2012/06/oregon_restaurateurs_fight_new.html

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Oklahoma Restaurant Chain Faces Multiple Lawsuits After “Salmonella Outbreak”; 68 People Confirmed Infected By Centers For Disease Control (CDC)

 “..(the Plaintiff)..sued the restaurant in February, claiming that she was sick  for two weeks after eating at Taco Bell. She’s seeking more than $75,000 in  damages…”

The Centers for Disease Control said that 68 people — including 16 in Oklahoma  — were infected with salmonella after eating at a “Mexican-style fast-food  restaurant chain.”

Taco Bell is facing a second lawsuit after a Shawnee family said their child  contracted salmonella in Oklahoma. The family said their 9-year-old got sick from eating at the restaurant.  The child spent three days in a hospital with a 105-degree fever, according to  the lawsuit.

A lawsuit filed by a Norman woman who claimed she contracted salmonella  after eating at Taco Bell was transferred to federal court.

In a court filing, Taco Bell denied it was liable for Smith’s illness.  The company asked a federal judge to dismiss it from the lawsuit.
Read more: http://www.koco.com/health/30917551/detail.html#ixzz1t4R5gjdr

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Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Alabama Restaurant Guests Are Exposed To “Hepatitis A” Through An “Infected Employee”

Hepatitis A is a communicable disease that spreads from person-to-person. It is spread almost exclusively through fecal-oral contact, generally from person-to-person, or via contaminated food or water. Symptoms may not occur for several weeks after exposure and may include abdominal discomfort, fever, malaise, muscle aches, and a yellowing of the skin called jaundice. In rare cases, hepatitis A causes liver failure.

In the wake of a report linking a potential mass exposure of hepatitis A to a Northport McDonald’s restaurant, food safety expert and attorney William Marler is calling on McDonald’s to vaccinate its employees against the virus.

On March 28, the Alabama Department of Public Health released a statement indicating that people who ate at a Northport McDonald’s, located at 2000 McFarland Boulevard, from February 28 through March 14 may have been exposed to hepatitis A through an infected employee. Customers who ate breakfast at the McDonald’s on March 16 may also have been exposed.

Hepatitis A is the only foodborne illness for which a vaccine exists; however infection can only be prevented if the vaccine is given within 14 days of exposure. Therefore those individuals who were potentially exposed on March 14 and March 16 should contact a medical provider immediately to receive treatment. Those who may have been exposed prior to March 14 should have developed symptoms by now if they have contracted the virus.

“From both a public health perspective and business perspective, it makes sense for restaurants to vaccinate their employees against hepatitis A,” said Marler. “It is much simpler to take the initial proactive precaution rather than gamble on a mass scare that equates to potential illness, loss of business, and public uncertainty.”

For more:  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/3/prweb9347722.htm

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: “Class-Action Lawsuit” Filed Against New York Hotel And Water Park For “Norovirus Outbreak” Stemming From “Contaminated Food And Pool Water”

“…The state Department of Health documented more than 600 cases of norovirus in March 2008, apparently stemming from contaminated food and pool water at the park’s hotel complex…”

“…alleges that Great Escape, and its parent company Six Flags Inc., failed to maintain proper sanitary conditions and didn’t warn guests once the outbreak became known…”

Attorneys representing more than 100 people filed a class-action lawsuit Wednesday in state Supreme Court in Warren County against the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark over a 2008 norovirus outbreak.

“Here, many people, especially children, suffered brief but violent periods of illness,” said Don Boyajian, one of two attorneys representing those who were infected.

Those infected experienced brief but violent fits of vomiting and diarrhea.

Dozens of people filed lawsuits following the incident. Those claims were consolidated into a single case — the class-action lawsuit, which has been in the works since 2009.

Boyajian did not specify the amount of damages being sought. He said damages would depend on the virus’ impact on each individual.

Attorneys representing Great Escape were not available on Wednesday for comment.

Read more: http://poststar.com/news/local/class-action-lawsuit-filed-against-great-escape-over-norovirus-outbreak/article_997adaa2-4226-11e1-8bea-0019bb2963f4.html#ixzz1juoN2fka

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