Posts Tagged ‘E. Coli outbreak’

What Is Being Done to Prevent Infectious Meats?

July 28, 2011

While is it important that restaurants maintain proper food safety protocols to protect customers, members of the meat industry should also do their part in preventing pathogens from reaching consumers.  This includes making sure animals are raised, transported, and slaughtered with food safety in mind.


It is commonly accepted that healthy animals are less likely to carry food borne pathogens than animals that are sick.  Therefore, those who raise animals need to be sure that their stock is being properly cared for.


The type of food an animal eats could be a part of this.  A recent study by the USDA Agricultural Research Service showed that the use of wet distillers grain with solubles (WDGS) may be linked to a higher occurrence of O157:H7, the most common strain of E. coli.


Other ways animal raisers may try to ensure the health of the animal are through antimicrobials, probiotics, and vaccines.  However, these practices may not lead to a long term reduction of pathogens.  In addition, the use of antimicrobials may actually lead to the development of pathogens that are resistant.


The cleanliness of the cages animals are held in when traveling to slaughter and the condition of the lairage, the pens animals are held prior to slaughter, are also considerations.  Dirty animal cages could lead to further contamination.


The government is also concerned about increased safety in meats.  In January, the USDA proposed new regulations for finding E. coli strains in meat beyond that of O157:H7.


Some experts say that these new regulations shouldn’t put too much extra burden on the meat manufacturers because, when used properly, methods used to control O157:H7 are also effective in controlling other strains.


Regardless of what the feds or anyone else does, restaurants need to do their part to ensure tainted meat does not have a seat at their table.  Watching where the meat comes from and properly handling it once it is received can help the restaurant protect customers from food related illness.


The Guests No One Wants

July 26, 2011

With the recent outbreak of E. coli in Europe, food safety may be at the forefront of the restaurateur’s mind.  No one wants to be responsible for someone getting sick on their watch, and so maintaining food safety practices in the restaurant as well as checking the suppliers’ should be a priority.


A restaurant owner or manager who wants to stop pathogens from being served should do what it takes to prevent it from coming into the kitchen in the first place.  Checking with the suppliers to make sure they are obtaining and shipping products in the correct manner can be an important step.


It is also important to make sure farming practices are up to standard.  After all, E. coli and other bugs can get onto produce via contaminated water.  Thus, irrigation practices and water testing should be in place to make sure products are safe.


Of course, the responsibility isn’t placed only on the suppliers.  Restaurants must do their part to make sure food is being prepared properly.  This includes making sure hands are properly washed, surfaces are properly cleaned, produce is properly washed, and food is properly cooked.


A major part of this is to make sure the restaurant staff is adequately trained.  It is important for them to understand the importance of food safety and why the different protocols are in place.  One slip-up could cause the downfall of an entire food safety procedure and get someone sick.


There are different ways to make these facts real to the staff in the restaurant.  Posters and signs do some good, but can be easily forgotten.  Object lessons and linking the information to real life examples may make the lesson stick better.


No one wants their restaurant to be pinned with a food safety outbreak, but it is one of the risks of the job.  Making sure the restaurant staff as well as any suppliers and distributors are keeping up food safety precautions can lower that risk significantly.