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Foodborne Outbreaks and How to Avoid Them

A restaurant that experiences a foodborne illness outbreak may never fully recover. Not only will it have to go through outbreak investigations, but the bad publicity could ruin its reputation forever. In some cases, customers may even try to sue the company for medical expenses, etc.

There are many possible causes of food poisoning and other disease outbreaks within a restaurant. Understanding these causes can make it easier for you to learn how to prevent foodborne outbreaks altogether.

There are also many different types of foodborne “bugs” people can experience. A salmonella outbreak or e. Coli outbreak from your restaurant can make patrons extremely sick. In severe cases, these illnesses can even be fatal.

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How Do Public Health Officials Investigate Outbreaks to Control Them?

Once a foodborne disease outbreak has occurred, the health department will usually step in and try to determine what caused it. In doing so, its goal is to prevent similar outbreaks.

The investigation will include everything, from looking at patterns of geographical locations (including restaurants) to checking out food production facilities and examining the type of germ that caused the outbreak to link it to a specific food or environment.

While the Center for Disease Control isn’t always able to pinpoint exactly what causes a foodborne illness outbreak, it’s usually fairly easy to link it to a problem within a restaurant if that’s the common link between the majority of the people who got sick.

If a restaurant is the source of the outbreak, it’s likely it will be shut down or heavily inspected.

What Causes Foodborne Illnesses?

Some of the leading factors of foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants include:

  • Improper/poor hygiene
  • Improper food handling
  • Food stored at inadequate temperatures
  • Food not cooked properly
  • Cross-contamination
  • Foods not cooled properly

As you can see, many of these issues come from human error. In a busy restaurant, it’s not always easy for kitchen staff and waitstaff to make sure everything is perfect, no matter how hard they strive to do so. Human error happens. Unfortunately, it can cost your business everything.

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How to Remain Compliant and Safe

One of the best ways to eliminate these potential risks is to eliminate human error. You can do so with a wireless HACCP compliance system like ComplianceMate.

ComplianceMate is a cloud-based system that features two modules: automated temperature control and digital checklists. Both can be used to your advantage when it comes to lowering your risk of foodborne illnesses.

The automated temperature sensor is gathering readings every five minutes and populate those reading through the cloud and into your dashboard every fifteen minutes, making sure your food is being stored properly 24/7. If the food dips below a safe temperature, you’ll be able to receive a phone call or text alert immediately, no matter where you are, even if it happens in the middle of the night, we keep calling until someone answers. This allows you to check on and correct the problem right away.

Temperature control is essential in any successful restaurant, and the automated monitoring featured within the ComplianceMate system takes the guesswork out of keeping your food safe.

The digital checklist feature allows you to create custom checklists for your staff, covering everything from cleaning operations to warming/cooling logs. It can be used in both the front and back of the house, so your entire staff will be on the same page. Digital checklists can help your staff when it comes to line checks, making sure the temperatures of the cooked foods are in proper range and digitally recording the time, date, and employee that took the readings.

With sleek hardware (no bulky computer systems) and easy-to-use software, ComplianceMate is the ultimate solution for keeping your business HACCP compliant and helping you to avoid the potential risks of foodborne diseases.

If you’re interested in learning more about ComplianceMate for your business, or how you can customize it to fit your needs, contact us today.