August 12, 2011
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is releasing the Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Interactive Resource Disk for use by foodservice establishments and retail food stores in preventing transmission of foodborne pathogens that are often transmitted by sick food employees. The disk includes an interactive tool to assist the persons in charge of these establishments make the correct decisions to prevent sick employees from working with food. In addition, it contains several FDA resource documents such as the 2009 FDA Food Code, an Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Handbook, a recording of a satellite broadcast on “Using Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Measures,” and education and training materials in multiple languages on employee health and personal hygiene.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention annually publishes a list of infectious and communicable diseases that are transmitted through food and the FDA Food Code lists five of the pathogens that have high infectivity and are easily transmitted to food by sick employees. These pathogens, referred to as the “Big 5,” are: Norovirus, Hepatitis A virus, Salmonella Typhi, Shigella spp., and Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7 or other Enterohemorrhagic or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.
The disk is a tool that quickly provides the information needed to prevent a sick food employee from transmitting a foodborne disease. It is not meant to be used as a tool to diagnose foodborne disease or as a substitute for consultation with a regulatory authority.