The Best Way to Protect Your Restaurant from Outbreaks

Today there was yet another restaurant outbreak in the news. Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill in Chicago is suspected in a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli outbreak affecting at least 25 people. Not only that, on June 29, the City of Boston closed the Thai Dish Restaurant for too many food safety violations. Looking at these two examples of foodborne illness outbreaks, they are independent organizations that most likely won’t survive the financial and liability impact of closures and sick customers. Given the high stakes, how could they put themselves in this position? Local independent restaurants across America are having a hard time effectively managing food safety. Many of them don’t have … [Read more...]

Delivery 101: Inspection Tips for Food Safety

One area of food protection and food safety that often gets overlooked is delivery. Food should always be stored properly even when being delivered. All the same protections should be in place such as holding temperature, separating raw from ready-to-eat foods, and using containers that protect the food from insects or rodents. Food is delivered in many ways. Larger organizations have commissaries that produce food and then send it out to other locations using trucks, suppliers deliver large amounts of food to many restaurants all day, and many restaurants deliver meals right to customers' doorsteps. In each of these cases, the deliverer should be taking proper steps to ensure the food is … [Read more...]

Foodborne Illness Outbreaks Can Happen Anywhere

Most of the largest outbreaks we track come from contaminated food that results in many foodborne illness cases across the country, but it's important to understand that restaurants, public picnics and other food establishments run the risk of large-scale foodborne illness outbreaks when they handle contaminated food improperly. The following are foodborne illness outbreaks associated with individual food establishments: Denny's Salmonella Foodborne Illness Outbreak Three people were hospitalized with Salmonella Montevideo infections after eating at Denny's in Rochester, Minnesota. Health officials still aren't sure how the bacteria entered the restaurant, but they required Denny's … [Read more...]

Utah Food Safety Blog Updates: No Gloves for Oregon, and More

Here's an update on some food safety stories we have talked about on the blog. No Bare Hand Contact Rule Confuses Oregon Restaurants We've previously written about the debate in Oregon over wearing gloves when handling food. On July 1, 2012, the new law regulating no bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food was set to go into effect. In response, the Oregon restaurant industry banded together to fight the new law. The industry was able to get a couple of government officials to listen to their complaints. Then restaurateurs convinced these government officials that outlawing bare hand contact with food was unnecessary. As a result, Oregon chefs can now handle food with bare hands. … [Read more...]

Food Safety Alert: Bagged Salads Recalled for Listeria

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has warned people not to eat certain bagged salads due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The bagged salads were manufactured by River Ranch Fresh Foods, LLC, and was packaged and sold under the following brand names: River Ranch Farm Stand Hy-Vee Marketside Shurfresh The Farmer's Market Cross Valley Fresh n Easy Promark Sysco After routine sampling detected Listeria in 2 packages of shredded iceberg lettuce purchased from retail locations in California and Colorado, River Ranch Fresh Foods initiated a voluntary recall of the bagged salads. A complete list of recalled products that are sold … [Read more...]

Total Recall: Hold Suppliers Accountable for Their Outbreaks

  Foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants often have many casualties. The customers and restaurants assume the consequences. Paying hefty settlements to victims and the loss of reputation can cripple an organization while the supplier remains untouched. Even restaurants with the best food safety practices can't escape an outbreak, which is why we see outbreaks associated with restaurants almost every day. Jimmy John's keeps getting ripped apart for serving contaminated sprouts, but should we be blaming them for sourcing sprouts that were contaminated from their supplier? Maybe so, but when suppliers ship out product that is contaminated and it leads to an outbreak, they often find ways … [Read more...]

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’: Norovirus Rules the High Seas

I've never been on a cruise, but my mother loves them. The idea of living in a confined space with 3,000 other shipmates for an extended period of time scares me. So when I see stories about the recent tragedies with the Costa Concordia and Costa Allegra, my fears seem justified. These tragedies, however, overshadow another problem that the cruise industry deals with every day—Norovirus. This stowaway has been wreaking havoc on cruises for decades. The CDC estimates there are 20 million cases of Norovirus every year resulting in 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths. The symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramping. Most people will be sick for only a couple of days, but … [Read more...]