FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
September 28, 2009 Contact: William Gerrish
HARTFORD - The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is launching a campaign to reduce food borne outbreaks in restaurant settings due to ill food service workers.
“In our effort to decrease the occurrence of foodborne disease, it is necessary that food workers and managers understand their obligation to not work while ill and to report illness to management and local health officials,” said DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, MD, MPH, MBA.
DPH led a workgroup of representatives from 10 local health departments to develop an educational campaign focused on increasing the knowledge of food workers and managers regarding the symptoms that are more often linked to the spread of foodborne diseases.
The primary focus of the campaign is to:
- Inform food workers of the need to report illness
- Educate food workers how disease can be spread to customers if they work while ill
- Assist management in promoting open communication with food workers
- Provide a resource for additional information on employee health policies
- Increase reporting of illness by food workers to management
- Increase the required reporting of ill food workers by management to the local health department
Since 2002, there have been more than 40 outbreaks in Connecticut that have been associated with employees coming to work while sick or that have had employees that tested positive for norovirus, one of many diseases that can easily be transmitted through food to consumers. Ill workers have sickened many customers resulting in loss of business and in several cases restaurant closure.
Local health departments will be distributing the educational materials and discussing foodborne disease prevention efforts with food establishment operators and workers in the coming months.
For more information on foodborne illness, please contact the Department of Public Health Food Protection Program at (860) 509-7297 or visit our web site at http://www.ct.gov/dph/foodprotection.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.