May 8, 2018 |

When A doesn’t stand for ‘Achievement’

By Mandy Wolf Detwiler

restaurant refrigeration, cooler

Hepatitis A scare has restaurants, diners on edge

As a restaurant owner or manager, you’ve probably got a lot on your mind. There’s maintaining a solid front of the house, scheduling, keeping food costs down and, of course, creating an amazing menu.

With so many potential problems on one’s mind, there’s a lot that can slip through –– and that includes sanitation. Here in our hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, we’ve had more than 300 cases of Hepatitis A amongst food service workers, including those employed by fast food and full-service restaurants (in comparison, the CDC reported 4,000 cases in 2016). It’s a foodborne illness, one of the “Big Five” along with the Norovirus, Salmonella, Shigella and E.coli. No one wants to be in the news for pathogens, especially since they can be controlled with some simple tips.

  • First, make sure your employees are washing their hands. That means every time they wipe their jeans, swipe their brow, handle a dollar bill or clear a table. Hand sanitizer doesn’t kill the Hep A virus, so a simple pump of a bottle won’t cut it.
  • Use clean towels and spray cleaner to clear tables. That dirty rag your employees are using from one table to another could be spreading disease. At the least, it’s gross.
  • Using sliced lemons (or other fruits or garnishes at the bar)? Have servers use clean tongs rather than their hands. In a study published in the Journal of Environmental Health, a study  of cut lemon and lime wedges showed microbial growth on 70 percent of those tested.
  • Avoiding cross-contamination seems like common sense, but are your employees actually following that rule? Your managers and assistant managers aren’t just managing people. They’re managing your reputation as well.
  • Date, date, date. Use the FIFO method –– first in, first out.
  • Dented, rusted or swollen cans should be discarded. No excuses.
  • At closing, assign someone to spray down door handles, including those in the bathrooms, the front door, the walk-in and/or the ovens. It only takes 15 minutes to keep employees from getting sick –– and passing that on to your employees.

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