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Foodborne Illness - Handwashing for Life

Foodborne Illness - Handwashing for Life

®Five Faces of

®Five Faces of Foodborne IllnessIs eating out safer than eating at home? Actually it can be thanksto the diligence of operators, regulators and foodservice workers.Unfortunately, even with the best intentions not all foodservice issafe. The five faces of foodborne illness is based on USA statisticsprovided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):54 billion Safe Meals served54,000,000,000, at 884,000 locations. Eating out is one of our favorite activities:over 40% of adults eat in a restaurant every day. While most meals arewholesome, some cause illnesses. Just over 50% of the American fooddollar is spent on food prepared or served away from home.76,000,000 foodborne illnesses1 of every 4 people will "catch" a foodborne illness this year. Typically, you startto feel sick, develop diarrhea and/or vomiting, and start feeling better all in thesame day – the “24 hour flu” that isn't the flu!• The “visible” costs grossly understate the reality:• Lost work: estimated at billions of dollars each year!• Lost customers: will never return to “that restaurant”!3,800,000 Doctor visitsAbout 5% of the people who get sick from food see a doctor: they may be weakand dehydrated from the “food flu”, or they may have a more serious illness,such as Hepatitis A. Most recover in one to three weeks but chronic conditionsoften are an unexpected consequence.• Regulatory action: tracking & shutting down “that restaurant”325,000 HospitalizationsSome people become very sick, especially children less than 6 years old,pregnant women, adults over 60, and people with other medical conditions,such as liver disease, cancer, organ transplants or immunodeficiency. Manysuffer long lasting effects, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease andGuillain-Barre syndrome, causing life-long suffering and cost.• Legal action: litigation, fines and settlement costs5000 DeathsWhile most people recover from foodborne illness, many don't. About 14 peopledie each day from something they ate or drank. Highly susceptible people aremost at risk, but some foodborne diseases have unusually high mortalityrates even among the healthy (these include listeria monocytogenes,vibrio parahemoliticus, and E. coli 0157 H:7)• Media: the worst publicity...continues for weeks.• Lost customers: “other” restaurants chosen.• Depression: personal toll on owners/managers/staffHANDS-ON SYSTEM STEP 1 | 3

®The Law & Foodborne IllnessUnderstanding thelaw surroundingfoodborne illness is animportant step inhelping establish yourrisk and your positionunder the law.Foodborne illnesslawsuits are on therise, and settlementscontinue to increase.A widespread outbreak of foodborne illness is a public healthcrisis. When government authorities implicate a foodserviceoperation as the cause of the outbreak, it is a crisis withimplications both legal and commercial.Breaking the law is clearly a risk, but the bigger risk is any injuryor loss of life sustained by your customer. Virtually all those whoprepare food do so within the parameters of the law. The industry'sPlan Review process assures the basics of facility compliance.Unfortunately, many operators stop there.While most operators understand that an outbreak of foodborneillness makes for bad publicity and it is therefore bad for business,few fully understand the legal standard that will determine theirliability to the people injured as part of the outbreak. Indeed manyoperators assume that so long as the operation was “state of theart”, and that they did “nothing wrong”, there is no risk of lawsuits.They also assume that if the problem that gave rise to the outbreakhad not yet been discovered, the restaurant operation cannot beheld responsible. Both of theses assumptions are wrongDoctrines of strict liability and constructive knowledge hold thata restaurant operation is liable regardless of fault or actualknowledge.“the smoking gun”continuedHANDS-ON SYSTEM STEP 1 | 4a

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