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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Are Lynchburg Restaurants Safe? Part 2

This series on Lynchburg Restaruant safety was inspired by a reader that voiced concerns of the health status of food service employees that prepare and serve your food. We have taken a deep look into this we have found that few if any restaurants depend only the word of the worker, if they may have a disease or condition that could affect your food safety. The code of Virginia allows this and relies on the employee and the employer to assure you that there is no health issues that may impact on you as a consumer.

There is no health screenings required to allow or certify someone to prepare or serve your food. And as far as we know, we have not found any restaurants in the Lynchburg area does anything further, such as requiring medical screenings, to be assured that people with transmitable diseases do not prepare or serve your food.

The FDA has a guideline for states to use called the Food Code: The FDA reports that 48 states has adopted the food code, including the state of Virginia. It is important to note that there is full reliance on the employee and the employer to make these determinations, and no futher medical checks required.

Here is part of the code

Responsibility of the Person in Charge to Require Reporting by Food Employees and Applicants.*
employer requires employee reporting of:
The permit holder shall require food employee applicants to whom a conditional offer of employment is made and food employees to report to the person in charge, information about their health and activities as they relate to diseases that are transmissible through food. A food employee or applicant shall report the information in a manner that allows the person in charge to prevent the likelihood of foodborne disease transmission, including the date of onset of jaundice or of an illness specified under ¶ (C) of this section, if the food employee or applicant:
health status

employee is ill
(A) Is diagnosed with an illness due to:
(1) Salmonella typhi,
(2) Shigella spp.,
(3) Escherichia coli O157:H7, or
(4) Hepatitis A virus;
employee has symptom of:
(B) Has a symptom caused by illness, infection, or other source that is:
intestinal illness
(1) Associated with an acute gastrointestinal illness such as:
(a) Diarrhea,
(b) Fever,
(c) Vomiting,
(d) Jaundice, or
(e) Sore throat with fever, or
Boil or infected wound
(2) A lesion containing pus such as a boil or infected wound that is open or draining and is:
(a) On the hands or wrists, unless an impermeable cover such as a finger cot or stall protects the lesion and a single-use glove is worn over the impermeable cover,
(b) On exposed portions of the arms, unless the lesion is protected by an impermeable cover, or
(c) On other parts of the body, unless the lesion is covered by a dry, durable, tight-fitting bandage;
employee previously ill
(C) Had a past illness from an infectious agent specified under ¶ (A) of this section; or
activities
employee at high risk of becoming ill:
(D) Meets one or more of the following high-risk conditions:
prepared or consumed food that caused disease
(1) Is suspected of causing, or being exposed to, a confirmed disease outbreak caused by S. typhi, Shigella spp., E. coli O157:H7, or hepatitis A virus including an outbreak at an event such as a family meal, church supper, or festival because the food employee or applicant:
(a) Prepared food implicated in the outbreak,
(b) Consumed food implicated in the outbreak, or
(c) Consumed food at the event prepared by a person who is infected or ill with the infectious agent that caused the outbreak or who is suspected of being a shedder of the infectious agent,
lives with ill person
(2) Lives in the same household as a person who is diagnosed with a disease caused by S. typhi, Shigella spp., E. coli O157:H7, or hepatitis A virus,
lives with person involved in disease outbreak
(3) Lives in the same household as a person who attends or works in a setting where there is a confirmed disease outbreak caused by S. typhi, Shigella spp., E. coli O157:H7, or hepatitis A virus, or
traveled outside United States or to U.S. territory
(4) Traveled out of the United States or to a United States' territory within the last 50 calendar days to an area that is identified as having epidemic or endemic disease caused by S. typhi, Shigella spp., E. coli O157:H7, or hepatitis A virus based on information published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as the document titled Health Information for International Travel.

This information we consider would be unreliable without medical screening. Part 3 of this report will be published tommorow.


(Restaurant reviews and safety)

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