Whether it is dinner at an upscale restaurant, lunch at a cozy café, or a quick bite on the go, people enjoy going out to eat. Everyone has their personal tastes and favorite spots, but one aspect everyone can agree on is that food poisoning is always the worst outcome. The Canadian Public Health Association estimates that 4 million people experience food poisoning each year, though many cases go unreported.
Harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites contaminating food is the main cause of food poisoning. When two or more people present the same symptoms after eating in the same restaurant, it is considered an outbreak. According to A Guide for Ontario’s Food Handlers, approximately 80% of foodborne illnesses are caused by on-site food preparation.
Hand washing is necessary to prevent cross-contamination. Installing automatic faucets, soap dispensers, and hand dryers to all hand-washing stations and washrooms further prevents this. Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers are also recommended in restaurant kitchens and washrooms, as Purell’s 70% alcohol formula kills over 99% of bacteria in seconds.
Frequently cleaning work surfaces is just as important as hand washing. A Guide for Ontario’s Food Handlers recommends washing each area with soap and water, and then sanitizing. Employers must provide cleaning supplies and keep them in a convenient location for workers to access. A wall-mounted chemical dispenser can help fulfill this requirement.
Follow these additional tips to avoid contamination by handlers:
- Train all employees on how to properly wash their hands and when to do it. Handlers should scrub wet hands, wrists and fingernails with soap for at least 30 seconds before rinsing with warm water.
- Make sure employees have ample time during their shifts to wash their hands frequently.
- Provide clear hygiene standards regarding personal and hand hygiene, glove use, work attire, and sick policy to your employees. Ensure staff understand and always follow these rules.
- Wash and sanitize equipment and surfaces after each use with proper foodservice chemicals.
- Keep equipment and utensils separate based on the type of food they will contact.