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The number of foodborne illnesses attributed to norovirus/enteric pathogens in Marion County continue to increase. Clearly, our present strategy for prevention is lacking. Through reassessment and to maximize limited resources for specific improvements in food safety, Marion County Environmental Health Services proposes an inspection/consultation focus on issues related to norovirus and other enteric pathogen foodborne illnesses. This strategy will concentrate on changing behaviors in the workplace that have been documented to be associated with norovirus and other enteric pathogen foodborne outbreaks.
The project’s purpose is to establish a baseline against which efforts to change behaviors and practices directly related to foodborne illness can be measured. It recognizes the need to fill a void that currently exists in the assessment of program effectiveness for controlling these risk factors. Pre and post survey data will be utilized to analyze the efficacy of this prevention strategy.
Currently, all licensed restaurants are required to be inspected on a semi-annual schedule. This would not change with this proposed strategy. Changes would be made in the content of the inspection. Present administrative rules allow one alternative type inspection per year for licensed restaurants. This alternative inspection would be focused on changing behaviors in the food service workplace that are associated with norovirus and enteric pathogen outbreaks. These behaviors include ill working employees, lack of sick leave policies, employee illness logs, handwashing and the training of foodhandlers and managers on procedures and corrective actions needed to prevent outbreaks. One alternative semi-annual inspection would be provided to every licensed restaurant in Marion County during the 2007/2008 fiscal year. Half of these restaurants would be completed by 12-31-07 and the remainder before 6-30-08.
Norovirus Food Safety Alert
Draft Sick Leave Policy
Employee Illness Log
Norovirus Fact Sheet
Stop Norovirus Outbreaks in Food Service Facilities
Outbreak Prevention Self-Inspection
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