Virus Related Food Safety Resources

We recognize that many food service operators are trying to decide whether they should continue operating during this time and, if so, how they should move forward.  Some have made modifications, such as closing their dining rooms and offering take-out and drive-through service only.  Some buffets that are normally self-service are being manned by facility staff.  If you choose to continue to operate, please view the guidance that is posted on the Cobb & Douglas Public Health website page entitled Food Safety: Stop The Spread Of Viruses (Including Coronavirus).

The Georgia Department of Public Health has also provided COVID-19 Guidance – Restaurants & Food ServiceEach resource contains valuable information that includes links to handouts and other resources available for your use.

Additionally, the National Restaurant Association and the Georgia Restaurant Association are offering dedicated COVID-19 webpages that offer resources geared toward the food service industry, including links for food donation and mental health organizations.

Please continue to stay informed of local county and municipal direction along with checking the CDPH website and Food Safety blog for updates.  To follow our Food Safety blog and receive notifications of new posts, just enter your email address while on the site and accept the return email.

Thank you for your continued efforts to promote food safety—and best wishes to each of you.

RESPONSE PLANS TO INCLUDE PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT

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.

 

 

 

 

Straight from the Field: Did you forget to clean something???

By Casey Saenz, EHS3

During a recent food service inspection, I was examining the ice machine (which is a routine part of an inspection) and happened to notice a small buildup of black mold on the machine’s interior panel.  From past experience, I know that if there is a small amount of mold where I can easily see it, then there’s a good chance that there will be a much bigger beast lurking further inside the ice machine.  To better assess my concerns, I used the camera on my cell phone to take a picture of the upper interior area where the ice drops.  Lo and behold….

Ice machine

This 4-point violation was marked under item number 4-2B (Food-contact surfaces: cleaned & sanitized) on the food service inspection form.

There have been gastrointestinal illness outbreaks from pathogens, such as Norovirus, that have been traced back to the consumption of contaminated ice.  People sometimes forget that ice is a food, just like the ones that are listed on a restaurant’s menu, that can become contaminated with disease causing microorganisms from a contaminated surface or someone’s unwashed hands.  This photo serves as a great reminder to always clean your food contact surfaces on a regular basis, especially the ones that are not very visible!

Care Facility Outbreak Prevention Training Scheduled for February 7, 2017

The spread of a infectious diseases in a care facility can have a serious impact on the health and well-being of their residents, as well as their staff. Just last year, there were two large Norovirus outbreaks in Cobb County facilities, so our Environmental Health and Epidemiology divisions have teamed up to present a Care Facility Outbreak Prevention Training on February 7th from 1:30-3:30 PM at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.  There is no charge for the training; however, registration is required.  The registration form can be found at this link:

Care Facility Outbreak Prevention Training Registration Form

Frozen Strawberry Recall Affects Georgia Restaurants

ALERT: Frozen Strawberries Recalled Due to Hepatitis A
 
Frozen strawberries have been recalled by the International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing (ICAPP).  The recall is due to possible contamination with Hepatitis A.  These strawberries have been distributed since the beginning of the year and quite a few food service facilities in the Atlanta Metro area have received them.
Please see the following links containing product details and response instructions:  

Dirty Hands Can Be Scary!!!

Sometimes the scariest monsters are the ones you can’t see! Disease causing microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, may be lurking on your hands or the hands of others, but all you need is twenty seconds worth soap, water, and friction to stop these microscopic monsters in their tracks!

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health, in conjunction with the City of St. Louis Health Department have created a seasonal campaign to remind people that “Dirty Hands Can Be Scary“.  Please take some time to check out the campaign’s website to learn how a little more frequent (and thorough) hand washing can go a long way toward keeping you and your family healthier and happier.

Direct website link:

http://dirtyhandscanbescary.com/