What 62% Of Restaurant Workers Do Could Make Them Sick

It’s the time of year where sickness runs rampant, and for many, that doesn’t prevent people from eating out at restaurants. Even worse, many of your employees may try to not miss a shift, despite being unfit for work due to everything from a runny nose to much more serious sicknesses that might prevent them from keeping their own meals down.

Mother Jones has taken a look at some of the ways illnesses and disease can and do spread at restaurants nationwide, A look at these numbers can show you where you might want to focus your attentions when it comes to staying clean in your kitchen and beyond.

Nearly two-thirds of restaurant workers who handle raw beef aren’t washing their hands afterward”

Touching raw beef and then moving on to other foods allows for the easy spread of E. Coli, especially when going from raw ground beef to cooked dishes. Any customers that eat a dish that’s been contaminated with raw beef are at risk, and beyond that, vegetarians and those who don’t eat beef would not be pleased to find out that raw beef had effectively touched the food they’ve eaten.

About 40 percent of restaurants don’t usually use separate cutting boards for raw chicken”

Raw chicken is particularly prime at spreading salmonella, and cutting carrots, celery, and such right after chicken breasts, thighs, and wings can just expedite illness. Beyond that, disposable gloves can help prevent the spread and keep employee’s hands clean.

Most managers don’t know the safe cooking temperature for chicken”

165 degrees Fahrenheit. Memorize it, write it down, post it on a board in the kitchen. All chicken leaving the kitchen must meet this temperature at the minimum by a thermometer.

“Almost half of chefs don’t use a thermometer to make sure a burger is cooked… and as a result, a bunch of burgers are coming out raw”

Color and feel could be good indicators of how well a hamburger is done, but it’s not the be-all end-all. A burger is undercooked when it is less than 155 degrees Fahrenheit, and when a customer requests a medium-rare one, it’s significantly more likely that a the meal would be in this danger zone.

40 percent of sick food workers didn’t go home because they have no sick leave. Seriously. The cook is vomiting.”

To be blunt, vomiting and diarrhea are instant reasons to be taken off of a shift. Various reasons, such as limited or no sick pay or sick time available to simply not desiring to leave their coworkers without their help. In any case, if a coworker reports they particularly have one of those symptoms, they need to be removed from work. A simple promise that they’ll have a job when they feel better might be all it takes to assure them that it’s important for them to heal at home and not spread illness at work.

Vegetarians aren’t off the hook”

Vegetables still have a particular safe temperature, with 41 degrees Fahrenheit being the highest you’ll want to receive a shipment.

With the new year, you may want to go down your list of safety guidelines and make sure you are following many of these. People are more likely to get sick when their bodies are already weakened by the stress of the holidays and the cold  of the season, so if anything, reviewing these with your staff may ensure you don’t spread any illnesses from your restaurant.