Outbreaks Where Food Workers Have Been Implicated in the Spread of Foodborne Disease. Part 7. Barriers To Reduce Contamination of Food by Workers

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Abstract:

Contamination of food and individuals by food workers has been identified as an important contributing factor during foodborne illness investigations. Physical and chemical barriers to prevent microbial contamination of food are hurdles that block or reduce the transfer of pathogens to the food surface from the hands of a food worker, from other foods, or from the environment. In food service operations, direct contact of food by hands should be prevented by the use of barriers, especially when gloves are not worn. Although these barriers have been used for decades in food processing and food service operations, their effectiveness is sometimes questioned or their use may be ignored. Physical barriers include properly engineered building walls and doors to minimize the flow of outside particles and pests to food storage and food preparation areas; food shields to prevent aerosol contamination of displayed food by customers and workers; work clothing designated strictly for work (clothing worn outdoors can carry undesirable microorganisms, including pathogens from infected family members, into the work environment); and utensils such as spoons, tongs, and deli papers to prevent direct contact between hands and the food being prepared or served. Money and ready-to-eat foods should be handled as two separate operations, preferably by two workers. Chemical barriers include sanitizing solutions used to remove microorganisms (including pathogens) from objects or materials used during food production and preparation and to launder uniforms, work clothes, and soiled linens. However, laundering as normally practiced may not effectively eliminate viral pathogens.

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Advertising Public Relations and Retailing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA 2: The B. Michaels Group Inc., 487 West River Road, Palatka, Florida 32177, USA 3: Public Health Agency of Canada, Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, 160 Research Lane, Unit 206, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 5B2 4: Campden BRI, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire GL55 6LD, UK 5: 6110 Troon Lane S.E., Olympia, Washington 98501, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2010

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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