EcoSure Food Safety Monitor
october 2017

The EcoSure Food Safety Monitor is a free monthly newsletter written by EcoSure Food Safety & Public Health experts. EcoSure is a division of Ecolab.
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October 2017 Food Safety Monitor newsletter

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Food Safety Tips for Halloween and Fall Party Goers and Party Throwers

 

Beware of spooky cider! Unpasteurized juice or cider can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. Always serve pasteurized products at your parties.

 

No matter how tempting, don't taste raw cookie dough or cake batter that contain uncooked eggs.

“Scare" bacteria away by keeping all perishable foods chilled until serving time.These include finger sandwiches, cheese platters, fruit or tossed salads, cold pasta dishes with meat, poultry, or seafood, and cream pies or cakes with whipped-cream and cream-cheese frostings.

Bacteria will creep up on you if you let foods sit out too long. Don’t leave perishable goodies out of the fridge for more than two hours (1 hour in temperatures above 90°F).

Visit the FDA website for more Halloween food safety tips.

 

 

MandyEcoSure Welcomes Mandy Sedlak

This month EcoSure welcomed Food Safety and Public Health Manager Mandy Sedlak to its team. Mandy has a demonstrated record of success in food safety and brings an Industry perspective to EcoSure. Mandy will add her own personal touch to the Food Safety Monitor and provide additional value to our customers through her food safety insight and expertise.

New Illinois Law Requires Food-Allergy Training For Restaurants

Illinois passed a law regarding new food-allergy training requirements that impacts all 27,000+ Illinois restaurants.As of July 1, 2018, at least one certified food-service sanitation manager trained in allergen safety and awareness must be available on the premises at all times that the food service establishment is in operation.

Since at least one certified food service sanitation manager must be on site at all times, it is recommended to have all current certified managers trained by July 1to assure proper coverage.Additionally, the law does not indicate any grace period for new managers.Therefore we recommend you have any new managers complete the allergen training upon hiring/promotion to ensure they meet the requirements.

Food Allergy Research & Education estimates 15 million people in the United States have food allergies, including 5.9 million children. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) also reports food allergies among children are on the rise.Illinois is the latest state to add a food-allergy training law.Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, Virginia and Maryland have all enacted similar laws. To be proactive, you may want to look at requiring this training to all certified managers regardless of state.

Learn more about the new Illinois law.

 

 Hepatitis A and Food Service Workers (infectious hepatitis)

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You may have seen news reports concerning a Hepatitis A outbreak in the Southern Calif. area specifically San Diego and L.A. areas. Here are FAQs concerning Hepatitis A as it relates to food handling and safety.

What is Hepatitis A?

There are several Hepatitis viruses (Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E) that cause human liver disease. Of the five virus types, only Hepatitis A can be transmitted by food through the fecal-oral route and is considered a major foodborne disease agent.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A disease begins with mild symptoms, such as fever, headache, weakness, nausea and vomiting, after an average incubation period of four weeks. The infectious dose is presumed to be as low as 10 to 100 virus particles. The classic yellowing of the skin (jaundice) and dark-colored urine may appear at the onset of symptoms or later. Abdominal tenderness may occur, due to enlargement of the liver or spleen. The illness is usually more severe in adults than children. More than half of those children infected with Hepatitis A virus will show no symptoms, but infected individuals will shed the virus in their feces for a period of time.

How is the virus transmitted?

Transmission of Hepatitis A occurs primarily from direct or indirect fecal contamination. The virus particles are shed in the feces by infected individuals for several weeks often before the onset of disease symptoms. The FDA states that water, salads and seafood are the most common vehicles. However, many outbreaks have been associated with ready-to-eat foods (foods that do not receive a substantial heat treatment prior to consumption). Contamination of foods can occur at any point in the production, harvesting, processing or preparation of foods if handled by infected workers or food handlers, although the preparation step is probably the most common phase in which food handler contamination occurs.

How can Hepatitis A be controlled?

Hepatitis A virus cannot grow outside of the human host, thus time and temperature controls are not relevant. Control of Hepatitis A infection relies on prevention of contamination of the food through good sanitary practices, adequate personal hygiene and effective handwashing.Infected food workers must be excluded from handling food. Vaccines that provide immunity against hepatitis A are available. While the CDC suggests that vaccination protects against the spread of Hepatitis A virus, widespread vaccination of food handlers has not been recommended to-date, mostly because the disease is not common. Vaccination of handlers may be considered as a precautionary measure in areas that experience a Hepatitis A outbreak.

Reporting Hepatitis A:

Hepatitis A is a reportable disease in the United States and other countries. A doctor treating an infected individual or a retail establishment manager who is aware of an infected worker must contact the local health department. Food handlers should inform their managers if they contract or are otherwise exposed to Hepatitis A.

 Contact us or visit Ecolab's microbial risk web pages for more information on Hepatitis A .

Here are additional resources for further information on Hepatitis A:

CDC
WHO

 

Paying Attention to Food Recalls

shellfishThis is a reminder to sign up for food recall notices from the FDA. Food recalls are not limited to unusual foods or obscure producers.Unfortunately contamination has been seen in common items like flour, ice cream and frozen strawberries.Recalls may be related to undeclared allergens, foodborne illness outbreaks, suspicion of contamination, or physical contaminants. Sometimes recalled items have already been moved through the food chain to become ingredients in other foods.Pay attention to recalls since these foods may end up in your facility.

There are services available as well who will communicate with you regarding recalls that may impact you and your brand.

For more information, visit the FDA Recalls, Market Withdrawals & Safety Alerts site.


 

Ecolab Food Safety Matters Quarterly Webinars

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Are you taking advantage of this free educational opportunity?
Free Continuing Education hours!

Food Safety Matters webinars are free quarterly web presentations featuring food industry, academic, regulatory and culinary experts presenting topics surrounding the diverse aspects of food safety. You may view archived webinars and receive continuing education certificates for live or delayed viewing.

Register to receive Ecolab Food Safety Webinar Invites.

The next Food Safety Matters Webinar:

WHEN: November 14th at 11 a.m. EST
TOPIC: 
Keeping your Workplace Safe for Employees and Guests

 

Sign up to receive webinar invitations.

Ask the Expert: Whole Fruit for Purchase

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QUESTIONWe offer whole fruit on our food buffet. Should they be individually wrapped, displayed under a sneeze guard, etc.? Do you have any information or best practices?

ANSWERHere is what Food Code says about it:

Food Display 3-306.11. Except for nuts in the shell and whole, raw fruits and vegetables that are intended for hulling, peeling, or washing by the consumer before consumption, food on display shall be protected from contamination by the use of packaging; counter, service line, or salad bar food guards; display cases; or other effective means.”

Self-service bars as part of a cafeteria-type line are generally put in the category “for immediate consumption.”Bananas and citrus which are intended to be peeled do not need packaging, i.e. wrapping. Where the “intent” is for people to eat the fruit right away, the kitchen should wash them.Health departments may have different requirements about individual wrapping but Food Code lists ways of protecting the food which should include some way of minimizing hand contact. As we get into flu season, individually wrapping them would certainly minimize contamination from the multiple hands that may go into a basic of fruit. People often pick up and inspect multiple pieces of fruit before selecting theirs.

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