The Norovirus is covered thoroughly in online ServSafe training, it sickens more people each year than any other food-borne illness cause. Since this virus mainly spreads through contact with an infected food worker rather than a natural occurrence in food product, there are numerous challenges in preventing it from contaminating prepared food product.
Online ServSafe Training Guide to the Norovirus
The most common source of the Norovirus comes from human contact or the failure to properly sanitize work stations after use. The usual ways that this pathogen comes into contact with food includes:
- Contact with microscopic traces of infected blood, vomit, or other bodily excretion
- Contact with contaminated surfaces
- Contact with saliva or unwashed hands of an infected person
There are two lessons that are covered in our online training that should be apparent from looking at these regular causes of the Norovirus. First, do not work while sick. The chances of spreading the Norovirus increase when ill workers handle food product. The possibility also exists that your staff could still spread the virus after symptoms have dissipated. The Norovirus hangs around in the infected people’s blood and digestive systems for a few days after they have appeared to have recovered, so it may be necessary to take a few extra sick days after contracting this illness.
The second important lesson to learn is one that should be practiced even if there is little chance of spreading the Norovirus. Hand washing must be done diligently and properly after using the restroom, eating, smoking or participating in any activity that causes you to touch your mouth or other unsanitary areas of your body. Steps also should be taken to see that there is no barehanded contact with food product. Make sure that you have plenty of utensils and food-service gloves available so that potentially infected hands stay away from your product.
While the main causes of Norovirus poisoning come from human contamination, our online ServSafe guide would be incomplete if we did not mention potential hazards in food before it reaches your facility. There is a chance that an infected farmer or other worker could handle raw fruits and vegetables before they reach your business. In this case, you must make sure that all raw produce is properly washed and stored. Shellfish can also naturally absorb the Norovirus from the water that they are harvested from, especially in the warmer months of the year. Shellfish should be prepared properly and care should be taken to reduce the risk of cross-contamination with other food product.