What does food safety mean to you? When dining out, the last thing anyone wants to worry about is whether their menu selection will make them sick. However, food safety in restaurants and other foodservice establishments is an ongoing challenge. In fact, in 2019, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) reported that the spread of Hepatitis A had reached outbreak levels. Should you be worried?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis A (a vaccine-preventable illness) is a transmittable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A is often transferred to food when infected food handlers touch food or equipment with fingers that have been contaminated with feces. Consuming only a small amount of the virus can make a person sick. An infected person may not show symptoms but can be very infectious; therefore, it is important not to consume food or beverages from an infected person.
Hepatitis A can display symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, dark-colored urine, or light-colored stools within a few days. Steps one can take to help protect themselves and others are:
- Properly wash your hands before preparing or consuming meals and after using the restroom
- Exclude individuals who have been diagnosed with hepatitis A and or jaundice from the food-producing establishment
- Obtain a vaccination for hepatitis A
- Seek medical care if the hepatitis A infection is suspected
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working to provide updated standards to address our food safety needs. The FDA released the 2017 Food Code update, creating changes based on current scientific understanding and food safety practices. For further reading, be sure to check out the HGIC Hot Topic: FDA Releases 2017 Food Code for highlights.
Clemson Cooperative Extension is pleased to offer ServSafe® training across South Carolina to educate restaurant managers, chefs, dietitians, culinary arts instructors, school food service managers, Family and Consumer Science instructors, and others on safe food handling practices. Extension Service is dedicated to providing education to meet the legal requirements for “Certified Food Protection Manager” under federal guidelines outlined in 2-102.12(B) of the FDA Food Code.
ServSafe® is a nationally recognized food safety certification training for foodservice industry personnel created by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and is delivered by Clemson University Extension Agents. This training delivers critical information and real-world resources to transform food safety knowledge into action.
Visit www.clemson.edu/extension/food/servsafe/training to check listings for class options in your area.