May 28, 2010
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration held a satellite broadcast and webcast on May 27, 2010, to educate state and local health inspectors, food industry employees, consumers, and others about ways to improve health and hygiene in a retail and foodservice setting. Safe food handling practices through proper health and hygiene can help prevent foodborne illnesses.
The broadcast addressed three key areas:
- Employee health (having no ill employees working in a food establishment)
- Proper hand hygiene
- No bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods
Experts from FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local health agencies, and the foodservice industry showcased several best practices that have been used to reinforce food safety expectations. For example, food employees may be more likely to use safe food handling practices if they understand the importance of those practices. Highlighted strategies for enhancing the effectiveness of existing food employee training programs and operational procedures included:
- Stressing the importance of employees and managers setting the example for others by always following the proper food safety procedure;
- Incorporating vivid stories or sayings when teaching food safety concepts to help food employees feel the impact of their behavior and understand why the procedure is important. An example of this would be to share stories of actual outbreaks caused by food employees in similar situations;
- Clearly communicating to employees the consequences of not following proper food safety procedures. Discuss in vivid, easily understandable terms that a small mistake can result in loss of lives, business closure, personal income, and reputation; and
- Demonstrating proper food safety procedures (i.e. your expectations) to food employees and have them demonstrate these concepts back to you to ensure they understand what is expected of them.
FDA developed the broadcast to bring awareness and a better understanding about the employee health and handwashing provisions of the FDA Food Code. Much of the information presented is found in the FDA Employee Health & Personal Hygiene Handbook.
The broadcast will also be available on FDA's website and on DVD in the coming weeks. In the meantime, an on-the-record, comprehensive overview of FDA's Foods Program from FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael R. Taylor is available.