Fight Back Against Foodborne Illness During National Food Safety Education Month
Hygiene Expert offers Simple Tips to Improve Food Handling and Cleaning with a Focus on Hygiene
PHILADELPHIA -- September is National Food Safety Education Month, an annual campaign to heighten the awareness about the importance of food safety education for the restaurant and foodservice industry, making it the perfect time to remind foodservice business owners and facility managers of the potential dangers of foodborne illnesses and what they can do to prevent them.
"Public hygiene, specifically in areas where consumers eat, is top-of-mind with the American public," said Donna Duberg, a member of the Tork Green Hygiene Council and assistant professor in Clinical Laboratory Science at Saint Louis University. "Restaurant owners stand to lose a lot if they aren''t paying attention to what is important to their customers."
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) From a business perspective, foodborne illnesses can create major problems for those in the food service industry, from bad publicity to employee absenteeism, both of which can have a crushing impact on the bottom line.
In the past, once a reported instance of salmonella poisoning struck the news, it became extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a restaurant to recover from the negative publicity. When other issues such as H1N1 (swine flu), MRSA and avian flu are factored in, the potential impact of poor restaurant hygiene becomes even more alarming. As 32 percent of all food poisoning incidents are due to poor hygiene2.
Duberg believes it is imperative for business owners to take their current hygiene standards to the next level and offers these tips:
-- Use paper not cloth. Contrary to popular belief, cloth towels are not as hygienic as single-use nonwoven wipes when it comes to cleaning. Bacteria can live for days on a surface and for weeks on cloth. Because cloth rags and towels used for cleaning are generally kept in dark places and are not always completely dry before they are put away, they become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Single-use wipes clean surfaces and are then discarded.
-- Help high-risk patrons steer clear of undercooked foods. Remember to always cook food to the required minimum internal temperature and use a thermometer to ensure you''ve reached that appropriate heat. Wash properly. If cloth must be used, remember that cloth used for cleaning should be sanitized by washing in hot (at least 160 degrees), soapy water.
-- Color code your products. Using color-coded cleaning products, such as wipes, can be very helpful in the prevention of cross contamination as each color can be designated for separate uses or certain areas of the restaurant.
-- Eliminate cross contamination. Since bacteria can live on cloth for a considerable amount of time, the risk of cross contamination is far greater with cloth than with nonwoven wipes. Cloth allows for bacteria from back-of-the-house tasks to easily migrate to the dining area.
For more information on how to take the proper steps to keep your organization properly sanitized and learn about the products to keep germs at bay, visit www.torkusa.com
2 Survey conducted online November 10-12, 2009, within the United States by Harris Interactive via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus service on behalf of SCA Tissue North America among 2,495 U.S. adults, ages 18 years and older of whom 2,442 visit restaurants. Results were weighted as needed for region, age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents'' propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
SCA is a global hygiene and paper company that develops and produces personal-care products, tissue, packaging solutions, publication papers and solid-wood products. SCA has many well-known brands, including the global brands TENA and Tork. In 2009, global sales were $14.5 billion. SCA conducts sales in 100 countries and has 50,000 employees. More information can be obtained at www.sca.com
The Tork brand offers a complete range of products and services within hygiene and cleaning for away-from-home washrooms, healthcare, food service and industry. Through customer understanding and particular expertise in hygiene and sustainability, Tork has become a market leader in many segments and a committed partner to businesses in over 90 countries. Tork is a global brand in the SCA portfolio. To keep up with the latest Tork news and innovations, please visit www.torkusa.com
SCA created the Tork Green Hygiene Council (TGHC) to assist in its ongoing commitment to providing hygienic and environmentally responsible away-from-home washroom solutions. Comprised of top professional and academic authorities from across the country on green building, corporate sustainability, hygiene and germ prevention, the TGHC is a council of four experts that offer holistic and trusted perspectives on how businesses can create sustainable and healthy work and home environments. More information can be obtained at www.torkgreenhygienecouncil.com