Recently, two prominent news stories broke concerning Norovirus outbreaks. The first was a major outbreak that occurred on a cruise ship returning to port in California where nearly 200 passengers had been infected. The second incident took place at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where 89 students were diagnosed with the virus. We felt with this issue attracting national attention, we needed to briefly cover the Norovirus and ServSafe MN methods of preventing its spread.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, Norovirus is the leading cause of food borne illnesses in the state. This is not an issue that is relegated to large scale food service operations such as the two previously mentioned reports. The Norovirus can also be spread on a small scale, so it is essential that steps be taken to prevent its spread no matter what your position in the food industry.
Steps to Reduce Norovirus Risk
There are a few steps that must be taken in order to prevent food borne illness due to Norovirus. Many seem like common sense, but we feel that it is necessary to review ServSafe MN tips for preventing the spread of illnesses.
- Always properly wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and hot water
- Wash your hands after using the restroom
- Wash your hands before and after eating
- Wear gloves when preparing food
- Do not work when sick or exhibiting Norovirus symptoms
- If you have had Norovirus symptoms, wait 3 days after symptoms subside before handling food
The most common way the Norovirus is spread is by eating food prepared by someone with the virus, or someone who has improperly washed their hands after having contact with someone who has been infected. For a complete list of Norovirus symptoms and preventative steps, you may wish to review the Minnesota Department of Health’s Norovirus Fact Sheet.
Safe Food Training is a qualified provider of ServSafe MN training and exams; however, our regularly scheduled courses are sourced by NRFSP. Both ServSave and NRFSP exams are accepted by Minnesota Department of Health, Environmental Services for Food Manager Certification in MN. Click this link for more information on ServSafe MN.