You may ask yourself, why is personal hygiene really that important? When visiting a new restaurant or a food retail store, an employee’s personal hygiene has a great influence on the perception of the stores cleanliness as a whole. Businesses in the food industry should always strive to avoid any issues related to personal hygiene. Programs and training must be in place to improve personal hygiene, which include knowledge of foodborne illnesses, employee’s responsibility, management responsibility, and third-party services.
The Big 5
Let’s begin with the “Big 5” foodborne pathogens stated by the CDC and the FDA. These five foodborne pathogens include norovirus, the Hepatitis A virus, Salmonella, Shigella, and Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7. Other less infectious pathogens that can also be transmitted by food employees to consumers through contaminated food include Staphylococcus aureus (staph infection) and Streptococcus progenies.
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, throwing up, and stomach pain. About 20 million people contract norovirus each year, most from close contact with infected people or by eating contaminated food. Norovirus is the leading cause of disease outbreaks from contaminated food in the U.S. Infected food workers cause about 70 percent of reported norovirus outbreaks. Contrary to a lot of belief, hand sanitizers are largely ineffective against norovirus, which is why proper handwashing with soap and water is a necessity.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests the virus from contact with objects, foods, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person. It is a must that all employees thoroughly wash their hands and fingernails after using the restroom. Some counties in the U.S. require all food handlers to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A.| | | Next → | Single Page