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Norovirus prevention: Everyone should read this

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. This thread is designed to offer some very good information regarding the possibility of spreading norovirus from either a commercial or home-based kitchen where cakes and frostings are prepared. PLEASE do NOT post anything about a licensed vs. a non-licensed facility. ALL people should follow the same safe practices.

I'm not offering this information to scare anyone, just to keep all decorators informed that frosting CAN make people sick if you are not diligent about food-handler safety. Although sugar is not a good growth medium for bacteria, anyone can transmit norovirus if they do not observe proper food handler techniques and protocols.

[...Norovirus symptoms and signs include vomiting or watery diarrhea or both. Fever occurs in one-third to one-half of infected people. ---http://www.medicinenet.com/norovirus_infection/page2.htm#symptoms]

I've reviewed and condensed a lot of information. I have provided links so you may read the excerpted sections in their entirety if you wish. My apologies for the post being so long.

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STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU READ THIS ENTIRE ARTICLE:
SafeMarK Best Practices, NorovirusInformation Guide (PDF)
http://www.fmi.org/docs/supersafemark/norovirus_info_guide.pdf
* * * * * * * * * *
If you don't feel it necessary to read the Information Guide (ahhh, it's all hype. Everyone know that sugar retards bacterial growth and I have a clean kitchen!)
then read this excerpt:

An outbreak of norovirus gastroenteritis associated with wedding cakes
Epidemiol. Infect. (2005), 133, 10571063. f 2005 Cambridge University Press
doi:10.1017/S0950268805004760 Printed in the United Kingdom
[ http://www.unc.edu/courses/2010spring/envr/421/001/readings/norovirusfood.pdf] Excerpt from page 1062:

The occurrence of this outbreak emphasizes the
importance of preventing foodborne transmission of
norovirus. Certain recommendations can be made for
achieving this goal. The first is the necessity of optimal
hygiene and food-handling practices, even among
seemingly well employees. Second, food establishment
employers should adopt employee sick-leave
policies that discourage food handlers from working
while ill. Lastly, because viral shedding can continue
after recovery, employers should exclude food handlers
for at least 72 h after the cessation of symptoms
for illness suspected to be caused by norovirus.

* * * * * * * * * *
Preventing Foodborne Illness: Norovirus
Keith R. Schneider, Renée Goodrich Schneider, Mike Hubbard, and Riya Shukla
Link: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fs129

Excerpt: What foods have been commonly associated with norovirus?

.Liquid items, such as cake icing or salad dressing, often cause large outbreaks because the virus becomes evenly mixed into such foods, which are not further processed.

.Spread of noroviruses
Infection and spread may occur by:
Eating or drinking contaminated foods or beverages;
Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then using unsanitary hands in food preparation; and/or
Direct contact with a person who is infected (for example, when caring for someone who is ill, or sharing the food or utensils)
....relatively simple measures, such as correct handling of cold foods and frequent hand washing, may substantially reduce foodborne transmission of noroviruses. While such practices are easily achievable, they are ineffective if not enforced.

...Why is norovirus infection important for food handlers?
Personal hygiene
The #1 method of avoiding contamination of food with viral, bacterial and parasitic disease is for all food handlers to regularly and properly wash their hands. While regular hand washing is recommended, some events that should always be followed by thorough washing with soap and warm water for 20 seconds include:
Before handling, preparing, or serving food.
Before handling clean utensils, or dishware.
After using the restroom.
After touching your face, cuts, or sores.
After smoking, eating, or drinking.
After handling raw meatespecially poultry.
After touching unclean equipment, working surfaces, soiled clothing, soiled wiping cloths, etc.
After collecting and taking out the garbage.
Before and after assisting someone with diarrhea, after cleaning the bathroom, and after changing diapers.
What is the proper procedure for hand washing?
1. Wet your hands with warm water
2. Apply soap and wash your hands for 20 seconds.
Pay attention to hard-to-reach areas like knuckle creases, between fingers and under finger nails
Include the forearm past the wrist as you wash.
3. Rinse and then dry with a single-use paper towel. Some other hygienic tips are:
Do not share food, drinks, spoons, or straws.
If you have a child in day-care who has diarrhea, inform the day-care providers; they can make sure germs are not spread to other children.
Do not let anyone who has diarrhea use a pool or swim in a pond while they are sick.

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post #2 of 2
YUCK! thumbsdown.gif Very good info...thanks for sharing.
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