Managing the threat of foodborne illnesses

Understanding basic food safety rules and laws will keep employees and customers safe from the threat of foodborne illnesses.

Ask the food employee to stop work immediately and leave the food establishment. Permit a return to work no sooner than 24 hours after symptoms have ended.

What should a manager do when a food employee reports symptoms of jaundice?

  • Have the food employee stop work immediately.
  • Inquire about how long the employee has been experiencing jaundice or associated symptoms of jaundice.
  • Have the food employee leave the food establishment if he or she has had jaundice or has been experiencing symptoms of jaundice for less than 7 days.
  • Report cases of jaundice to the regulatory authority and have the food employee’s return to work approved by a regulatory authority.

What should a manager do when a food employee reports symptoms of sore throat with fever?

  • Place the employee on restricted duty, that is, no working with or around food.
  • Allow food employees to return to work with written medical documentation from a health practitioner.   
  • If the food employee works in a facility that serves a highly susceptible population such as very young, older adults or those with compromised immune systems, exclude the food employee from the food establishment.

What should a manager do if a food employee has or reports an exposed boil or infected wound that is open and/or draining on the hands or arms?

Restrict any employee from working with food that has an infected skin lesion, like a boil or infected wound that is not properly covered. The manager can lift the restriction once the infected area is properly covered or healed.

What should the manager of a food establishment serving a highly susceptible population do if an employee reports an exposure to foodborne illness?

Restrict the food employee and make sure that training is provided about:

  • The foodborne illness and related symptoms;
  • Hand washing procedures;
  • The prevention of bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods; and
  • The length of restriction and what is required to have the restriction lifted.

The manager must restrict food employees exposed to:

  • Norovirus, for at least 48 hours from the time of exposure;
  • Shigella spp. or E. coli O157:H7, for at least 3 days from exposure;
  • Salmonella Typhi, for at least 14 days from exposure; or
  • Hepatitis A virus, until after training has been given about symptoms, the use of bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food to avoid contamination, proper hand washing, or until at least 30 days from the initial exposure.

SOURCE: WWW.FDA.GOV