Food Handler Testing Program

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Food Handler Testing Program

Food Handler Testing Program

Step 1

The most recent comprehensive analysis available of typhoid fever in the United States found that the cause of most cases of the disease that did not result from travel abroad could not be accounted for. About 19 percent of U.S. typhoid cases were linked with outbreaks among groups of people. The largest such outbreak, involving 47 people, was attributed to orange juice contaminated by a food handler. Since the typhoid germs are in the stool, only people with active diarrhea who are unable to control their bowel habits (e.g., infants, young children, certain handicapped individuals) should be isolated. Most infected people may return to work or school when their stools become formed as long as they carefully wash their hands after using the toilet. Food handlers, health care workers, and children in day care must obtain the approval of the Health Department before returning to their routine activities. Since infected persons may shed the bacteria for months to years, the Health Department requires repeat stool testing for at least 3 months for all patients with typhoid.

A number of problems can arise when implementing the food handler testing program (Hedberg et al 2006 2697-2702):

A poor understanding of? and reasons why the testing process is in place

Competing pressures of time ... employees' cut corners'? especially during busy periods

diminished sense of responsibility among young professionals

structure of the labor force ... In particular? a large number of casual staff and high turnover

On many problems ... small food businesses? employees are often required to serve clients handle

money and clean? as well as cooking or lack of control over suppliers of food and food practices

A poor access (in some food companies) for cleaning products? hot water and other materials necessary to maintain high standards of food safety.

Step 2

The problems that the food handler testing program for typhoid bacilius faces can be overcome by appropriate training and education of the masses. The food handlers need to be educated on the need of this process and the various ways through which they can prevent the spread of the diseases (Bader Blonder Henriksen Strong 1978 408-410).

Step 3

Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has taken up an aggressive approach to dealing with typhoid outbreaks. It attacks typhoid fever on one to one basis. Typhoid fever is reportable to the local board of health (LBOH). The MDPH requests that health care providers immediately report to the LBOH in the community where the case is diagnosed, all confirmed or suspect cases of typhoid fever, as defined by the reporting criteria in Section 2A. Laboratories doing examinations on any specimens resulting from residents that give way evidence of S. Typhi infection report such evidence of infection directly to the MDPH within 24 hours. MDPH regulations (105 CMR 300.000) stipulate that typhoid fever (S. Typhi) is reportable to the LBOH and that each LBOH must report any case of typhoid fever or suspect case of typhoid ...
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