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EcoSure Food Safety Monitor
September 2016

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

September 2016 Food Safety Monitor newsletter

New EcoSure program helps foodservice providers protect against norovirus
EcoSure food safety experts collaborated with experts across Ecolab and industry to develop a comprehensive Norovirus Control Program. While we have been hearing a lot about norovirus in the news, do you know what it is? What many people call “stomach flu” is actually norovirus, a highly contagious illness that can be easily passed from family member to family member to co-workers and others. Norovirus is currently the leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S., causing about 58% of all outbreaks, and is on the rise as one of the most common foodborne pathogens—leaving many foodservice providers vulnerable. It is something that should be top of mind for any foodservice operator and staff; however, about one-third of food safety professionals do not identify norovirus as one of the three most common foodborne pathogens.

Any outbreak can have serious impact on your business—putting guest and employee safety, reputation and sales at risk. With norovirus being very contagious from both touch and becoming airborne, it is important to mitigate the risk of norovirus and promote a culture of prevention. The Norovirus Control Program includes education, training and tools to help prevent norovirus outbreaks and effectively respond should an incident occur.


Whole genome sequencing: The Basics
With some recent outbreaks, there seemed to be illnesses popping up around the country that were identified as being the same outbreak. How do we determine how these illnesses are connected? A process called whole genome sequencing (WGS) is used. Without turning this into a genetics lesson, a genome is the genetic material of an organism including its DNA, genes and other genetic components. Genomes of organisms are unique rather like fingerprints. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control are using this technology to more precisely identify foodborne pathogens and their sources during foodborne illness outbreaks. By applying it in novel ways, there is the potential to help reduce foodborne illnesses and deaths over the long term both in the U.S. and abroad by more accurately defining the scope of outbreaks and providing actionable information so the most effective preventive controls can be implemented.


Is the five-second rule true?
Just a bit of fun research…thanks to Barfblog (yes, it’s a real site––check it out), I am sharing research findings on the old five-second rule – that food dropped on the floor and picked up before five seconds is still safe to eat. Or is it? 

Professor and food microbiologist Donald W. Schaffner and graduate student Robyn Miranda of Rutgers University took a closer look at "the rule.” Research results show that no matter how fast you pick up food that falls on the floor, you will pick up bacteria with it. Findings of the Is the five-second rule real report appeared online this month in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.


Free public health webinar: Preparing for flu season   
An average 66 million Americans get the flu each year. Contracting the flu can lead to absenteeism in schools and workplaces with $7 billion in costs for sick days and lost productivity. Learn how to help prevent the flu in your workplace with this free webinar presented by Ecolab.

This webinar will help you learn proactive measures you can take to help reduce risk. Other topics of the webinar will include "Influenza 101," predicting the scope of the coming flu season, and 6 tips to help you improve hand hygiene and disinfecting procedures in your facility.

Thursday, October 13 2016 - The webinar will last approximately one hour and will include a Q&A session.

There is no charge for this webinar, but you must register in advance.

If you have any questions regarding this event, please email us.

Ask the Expert: Adhesive bandages and gloves

Question: If an employee is wearing an adhesive bandage on a hand where the wound is not infected, must the bandage be changed at every handwash?  

Answer: If the bandage is impermeable (there are specific bandages for this), it does not need to be changed every handwash as long as the bandage is intact and is adhering properly to maintain impermeability. The same applies whether the wound is infected or not. By the way, elastic bandages on the hand or wrist do not allow for proper handwashing, and any employee wearing this type of bandage should be restricted to non-food handling tasks.