Official statistics help us keep an eye on the state of food safety in our country. Recently, Food Safety News published a summary of a CDC report detailing the most common causes of food borne-illness. There are a few interesting findings in this report, but when breaking down this summary, we noticed two causes of illness that can be prevented or controlled with proper food safety training.
Using Food-Illness Statistics for Food Safety Training
In the statistics released from this five year study, over 100,000 confirmed cases of food poisoning were recorded. Out of these cases, 5,699 were hospitalized and food-borne illness was responsible for 145 deaths. If we break down these cases to root causes, we can begin to see patterns that we can use for effective food safety training to target common pathogens.
Chicken was the cause of 12-percent of these cases, causing us to believe that many of these situations were the result of under-cooked poultry. It is vitally important to train your staff how to handle chicken properly. There are numerous cross-contamination risks involved in processing raw chicken. Process raw chicken away from areas where ready-to-eat product is being prepared and always store raw poultry on the bottom shelf. Finally, making sure to verify that your chicken has been cooked to 165-degrees is vitally important. We recommend that you use a thermocouple thermometer when verifying the temperature of chicken. These thermometers are highly accurate and ideal for measuring thin chicken breasts and smaller pieces of meat.
The study also shows that the Norovirus was responsible for over 27,000 cases of food-borne illness. Training can go a long way towards preventing Norovirus poisonings. Teach your staff to stay home when they are sick, wash their hands properly and frequently and to avoid bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. Enforcing these three easy-to-do food handling procedures greatly reduces the risk of spreading the Norovirus.
While this study points out quite a few other causes of outbreaks, proper training reduces the risk of poisoning via improperly prepared chicken or the Norovirus. Are there any other ways you use statistics to target food safety training in your facility?