“…While a wide variation of food and water quality practices exists from country to country, it’s a misconception that safety concerns are limited to poor areas in developing regions. Many germs have no boundaries, so the NSF StaySafer program will play an important role in establishing a universal set of standards that can be used as a benchmark and complement local requirements…”
From the buffet salad bar greens to the ice clinking in drinks served poolside, hotel administrators are finding that protecting guests from food and water illness outbreaks is a continuous challenge.
It’s also a necessary undertaking to demonstrate the hotel’s commitment to its patrons’ well being. Travelers won’t soon forget the awful stomach cramps if they experience a sickness during their stay, and such episodes can cause nearly irreversible damages to a hotel’s reputation.
For more: http://bit.ly/1kVhmFd
For a brief video on some of the steps you can take to help prevent Norovirus outbreak at your hotel, check out the video below:
Petra Risk Solutions’ Loss Control Manager, Matt Karp, offers a P3 Hospitality Risk Report – ‘Preventing Norovirus at Your Property’.
P3 ( Petra Plus Process) is the Risk Management Division of Petra Risk Solutions – America ’s largest independent insurance brokerage devoted exclusively to the hospitality marketplace.
For more information on Petra and P3 visit petrarisksolutions.com or call 800.466.8951.
“…Done correctly, a (restaurant) cook leaves the line, washes his hands, enters a walk-in and dons a clean apron and gloves. He then assembles the pizza on a manufactured crust using tongs and a ladle set aside for that item. Once baked, the pizza is cut with a specific knife on a clean cutting board…He recently had his third-party toppings maker rework its recipes to ensure they were gluten-free…”
Many restaurant chains are instituting rigorous policies for preparing and serving gluten-free offerings as awareness of gluten allergies and intolerance rises.
And while several operators said only about 1 percent to 3 percent of customers request gluten-free items, all insisted that taking extra effort to make such foods safely is good for business — and will keep them in compliance with upcoming mandates from the Food and Drug Administration.
At 60-unit Costa Vida, gluten-free corn tortillas are cooked first thing in morning so the comal can be sanitized and readied for flour tortillas. Corn tortillas are then stored in a closed container and opened only when necessary.
For more: http://nrn.com/health-amp-nutrition/restaurants-tighten-gluten-free-operations
“…For the chicken study, EHS-Net researchers interviewed 448 restaurant managers. They found that many were not following FDA guidance about 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
“…Hotel owners and operators must be aware of potential N.fowleri hazards in bodies of water on or around their premises. If you offer guests access to recreational bodies of warm fresh water, we recommend making N.fowleri informational brochures available at your front desk; you may even consider providing complimentary nose plugs. Of course, it is absolutely essential that you keep all swimming pools and hot tubs properly chlorinated. Don’t assume that the water in hot tubs and/or hot springs is sufficiently hot to kill N.fowleri; the amoeba can survive temperatures well in excess of 115°F (46°C) for short periods of time…”
Naegleria fowleriis an amoeba common to warm bodies of fresh water, including lakes and unchlorinated or poorly chlorinated swimming pools. This amoeba can infect the human nervous system and induce a lethal form of encephalitis when a victim insufflates contaminated water deep into the nasal cavities; while infection is relatively rare, only one percent of all victims survive. This parasite has made the news in recent years with the moniker “brain-eating amoeba” because it feeds on the proteins that help form neurons in our brains.
Both travelers and hotel owners/operators need to understand the conditions that encourage N.fowleri infection, as this amoeba presents a significant health hazard and a potential liability. N.fowleri thrives in warm fresh water; it cannot survive in very cold, salty, or properly chlorinated water. Infections typically occur in stagnant bodies of water, often after swimmers have stirred up sediment (which contains N.fowleri spores), and usually involve an activity like jumping, diving, or wakeboarding. In 2012, two people in Louisiana died from N.fowleri infection after using contaminated tap water with their neti pots. Death almost always occurs one to twelve days after infection.
This past summer, a four year-old boy in Bernard Parish, Louisiana, died of PAM (primary amebic meningoencephalitis, the extremely lethal result of N.fowleri infection) after playing on a Slip ‘n Slide. A twelve year-old boy in LaBelle, Florida, died of PAM after kneeboarding in a water-filled ditch near his home. One very lucky twelve year-old girl from Arkansas managed to survive an N.fowleri infection, making her the third survivor in the recorded history of the disease.
For more: http://hlconverge.com/
“…a hotel is not an operating room, and bugs may lurk, despite tip-top cleaning efforts.” The amount of guests who check in at hotels from different parts of the world may increase the exposure of germs…Cleaning items used by housekeepers such as sponges and mops were also found to have high levels of bacteria which increases the risk of infection as they go from room to room using the same sanitizing equipment…”
On average, hotel housekeepers spend 30 minutes cleaning each room — about 14 to 16 rooms in an eight hour shift. In a study conducted at the University of Houston, researchers took 19 bacteria samples from items found in three hotel rooms in three states: Texas, Indiana and South Carolina. While high levels of bacteria were discovered in bathroom sinks and floors, the dirtiest areas were light switches and TV remotes, which contained 112.7 colony-forming unites of bacteria (CFUs) and 67.6 CFUs, respectively. Moreover, light switches had the highest levels of fecal matter bacteria with 111.1 CFUs.
“Guests should not assume that their hotel room, not to mention all common surfaces around the hotel such as doorknobs, front-desk pens … while (hopefully) clean, are not sterile,” Matilde Parente, MD, a California-based physician, biomedical safety consultant, and author board certified in pathology and integrative holistic medicine, told Medical Daily.
Read more at http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/16908/20130626/hotel-health-risks-chronic-illnesses-long-stay.htm#Iobk2OkS3QmG1emv.99
“…employees of the hotel were putting chlorine in the pool without the pump on. When the pump was turned back on, chlorine came out too fast instead of gradually…”
Nine people were sickened Sunday after coming into contact with too much chlorine at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa in Hoover.
Hoover Fire and Rescue were called out Sunday afternoon to the hotel pool where nine people had become ill.
Five people were treated on the scene. Two adults and two children were transported to local hospitals.
The pool was closed down for a short time but has since been reopened.
For more: http://www.myfoxal.com/story/22427405/nine-people-sick-after-coming-into-contact-with-chlorine-at-a-hoover-hotel-pool
“…Air nicotine levels in smoking rooms were significantly higher than in non-smoking rooms; (but) they were also 40% higher in non-smoking rooms of hotels operating partial smoking bans than in those operating total bans…findings demonstrate that some non-smoking guest rooms in smoking hotels are as polluted with [third hand smoke] as are some smoking rooms…”
Non-smoking rooms in hotels operating a partial smoking ban don’t protect their occupants from tobacco smoke, reveals new research published online in Tobacco Control. The researchers analyzed the surfaces and air quality of rooms for evidence of tobacco smoke pollution (nicotine and 3EP), known as third hand smoke, in a random sample of budget to mid-range hotels in San Diego, California.
Ten hotels in the sample operated complete bans and 30 operated partial smoking bans, providing designated non-smoking rooms.
Non-smokers who spent the night at any of the hotels, provided urine and finger wipe samples to assess their exposure to nicotine and a cancer causing agent found specifically in tobacco smoke—known as NNK—as measured by their metabolites cotinine and NNAL.
The findings showed that smoking in hotels left a legacy of tobacco pollution in both smoking and non-smoking rooms. A partial smoking ban did not protect the occupants of non-smoking rooms from exposure to tobacco pollution.
For more: http://blogs.bmj.com/tc/2013/05/14/new-study-partial-smoking-bans-in-hotels-fail-to-protect-guests-from-tobacco-smoke/?q=w_tc_blog_sidetab
“…broken exhaust fans in the building’s boiler room allowed the room to fill with carbon monoxide…a guest staying (next to boiler room) was hospitalized for similar (flu-like) symptoms…but no one made the connection to carbon monoxide exposure, and the guest was not tested…firefighters suspect the carbon monoxide level was high since Friday or earlier…”
Guests at a south Fort Myers hotel may have been exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide at least three days before the building was evacuated Monday. Firefighters responded to Crestwood Suites Extended Lodging off U.S. 41 around 12:45 p.m. Monday and discovered high levels of the deadly gas.
Guests were allowed back inside after firefighters shut off the gas and ventilated the building, but two people were hospitalized for exposure. The two hospitalized guests, who were staying near the boiler room, are in good condition and were hospitalized for observation as a precaution, Knudsen said.
Knudsen said firefighters checked carbon monoxide levels after the two guests called Lee County EMS complaining of flu-like symptoms. Responding firefighters noticed the guests’ proximity to the boiler room and suspected their symptoms were caused by an environmental factor.
Firefighters measured the carbon monoxide level in the boiler room at 2,000 parts per million, and in the lobby at 300 parts per million. Exposure to anything above 600 parts per million carries a high risk of death, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry website. Patients can experience symptoms including drowsiness, weakness, nausea, headaches and coma at levels of 160 to 1,000.
For more: http://www.news-press.com/article/20130226/NEWS0117/302260021/Cause-guests-flu-south-Fort-Myers-hotel-Carbon-monoxide
“…an employee had accidentally poured chlorine into a container of muriatic acid, causing a chemical reaction…since chlorine was diluted and poured down a drain by an employee, the Region of Peel’s hazardous materials team has also been sent to the hotel…”
A mishap with pool chemicals has forced some of the staff and guests at the Hilton Garden Inn on Traders Blvd. E. to be evacuated from the hotel this morning.
Everyone on the first floor of the building was evacuated as the Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services Department and police arrived. The second floor has now been evacuated after guests reported smelling chlorine. A Mississauga Transit bus has been sent to the hotel at 100 Traders Blvd. E., just east of Hurontario St., to accommodate those who have been forced outside. A decontamination area has been set up to help with the clean-up.
An ambulance has taken one person to Credit Valley Hospital.
For more: http://www.mississauga.com/news/article/1547378–hotel-evacuated-after-pool-chemical-mix-up
“…Few of the roughly 4.9 million rooms in 51,214 lodging properties with at least 15 rooms have (carbon monoxide) alarms…From 2010 through Nov. 8, 2102, there were 30 incidents of fire departments or government officials finding elevated levels of CO at U.S. hotels…in the 30 incidents, more than 1,300 people were evacuated, eight died, and at least 170 were affected by CO, treated by medical personnel or hospitalized…”
Neil Hampson was inside his room at a lodge in Alaska during a salmon fishing vacation three years ago when his carbon monoxide alarm sounded. Hampson, a Seattle doctor and expert on carbon monoxide, went to the basement and found the CO level four times higher. He says he turned off the gas for the water heater, and CO levels throughout the building “dropped precipitously.”
A plumber later found that the water heater was improperly vented, he says, and the lodge owner installed CO alarms in each sleeping room. Guests and staff at the lodge near Alaska’s Kenai River were fortunate Hampson carries an alarm which detects the odorless, colorless poison gas that can cause brain damage or be lethal.
Only a handful of state or municipal laws require them, although more than 1,300 people were evacuated nationally from hotels because of high CO levels in recent years.
CO, often called “the silent killer,” is such a threat that the National Fire Protection Association says CO alarms should be near bedrooms in every home.
For more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/hotels/2012/11/15/hotels-carbon-monoxide-alarms/1707863/