Hurricane Harvey has sparked a lot of questions regarding food and personal safety in the event of natural disasters. Please see the Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety During Emergencies on our website for information to help you with developing your own response procedures. You may also wish to go to the CDC’s Hurricane Guidance page for information on how to keep your family safe before, during, and after a storm.
We often speak to food service operators about having effective plans in place for responding to events involving vomit and/or diarrhea in their establishments. We were recently reminded by the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Environmental Health Office of the current code requirements in this area:
“Chapter 511-6-1 requires operators to have procedures in place for responding to vomiting/diarrheal accidents [511-6-1-.03(6)] in the food service establishment and IF PRESENT playground equipment and associated areas, there needs to be a plan in place for operators to follow when responding to vomiting and diarrheal events there as well [511-6-1-.07(5)(b)3].”
Please don’t forget that if establishments have playground equipment, there should be an approved plan for responding to such events if they occur there as well. The disinfectants used for such purposes are to be effective against Norovirus. Chlorine is a disinfectant that is approved to be used in response to an event, however, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of others approved for use in response plans. Click this link for an EPA list of effective disinfectants or go to the EPA’s website for more information. Also, click here for an example of a response plan provided by the Centers for Disease Control.