Posts Tagged PFE-Verified

Foodborne Illness – About more than food safety practices

Food Safety Magazine came out with a fascinating article last week (the first in a series of three), titled The Tragedy of Foodborne Illness: Much Is Preventable.

According to the article, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that over 3,000 people die each year in the U.S. from foodborne illness. That is an average of eight people per day. An estimated 128,000 people are hospitalized each year. That is an average of 350 people per day.

The numbers are incredible when you think about it. How is that OK?!

One of the parts of the article that should shock you most:

Unfortunately, many restaurant food handlers are not following best food safety practices. As a result, according to CDC 48% of food borne illness is traced to restaurants.

48%.

While following simple food safety rules – such as a food handler staying home when sick, thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables, cooking meat properly, and watching time and temperature rules – can prevent many epidemics … it still doesn’t tell the entire story.  Pests and vermin in restaurants can also be the cause of many illnesses. Cockroaches in a kitchen can lead to gastroenteritis-related illnesses such as food poisoning and dysentery. Flies are noted for their propensity to spread Salmonella, but also carry and distribute Shigella and Escherichia coli (E. coli), the bacteria responsible for illnesses like dysentery and E. coli-based food poisoning.

Have you ever experienced an unfortunate bout of Salmonella or “food poisoning” after eating out? Salmonellosis is just one bacterium that rodents can carry and pass along to humans through food contamination. The CDC reports of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCMV) and Rat-Bite Fever (Haverhill fever) as well as other serious illnesses that can result from rodent-to-food-to human transmission, such as the more rare and sometimes fatal Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease) and Hantavirus (Pulmonary Syndrome).

Following all of the food safety rules listed above is a start to preventing foodborne illnesses, but so much more needs to be done. While some restaurants are proactive, most are unfortunately not… which is why we have created PFE. PFE identified the need for greater accountability, and developed a comprehensive plan designed for responsible, concerned restaurant owners who want to be proactive. PFE-Verified restaurant owners want their customers to know that they are taking the extra step to insure the safety and well being of their patrons.

 

Posted in: food safety, restaurants

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The Numbers Are In: They’ll Make You Sick

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The numbers are in and it’s a good news-bad news situation.  Let’s focus on the positive first:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the numbers last week and meat-related foodborne illnesses have decreased since they started paying close attention to what was happening in relation to these sicknesses caused by our food, in the mid-nineties.  That’s good news.  Unfortunately, when looking at Salmonella and other new bacteria that are making their way onto the scene, the big picture of food poisoning isn’t looking as bright :  Overall, food poisoning cases are on the rise.

 

Salmonella poisoning, a dangerous bacteria that many of us are familiar with, is the most popular cause of food poisoning, accounting for 40% of all reported cases.  Last year, there were 7,800 reports, 33 deaths, with an estimated 200,000 unreported cases.  The existence of salmonella in restaurant kitchens can be the result of uncooked or undercooked meat, and the bacteria is also—yep, you guessed it—carried and transmitted by rodents.  It’s one of the reasons why that monthly pest-control service is so critical for commercial food establishments; vermin cannot be traipsing across food or food storage and prep areas.

 

Campylobacter is another bacteria that has made a surge in recent years.  Also contracted by uncooked or undercooked meat and able to be transmitted by animals, 35% of reported food poisoning cases are now being blamed on this scourge; the CDC claims that six of the 7,000 cases reported in 2012 resulted in death.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 25 to 30 unreported food poisoning events for every one that is recorded.

 

The way the stats look, the CDC believes that, every year, 48 million people in the United States (that’s one out of every six people) actually suffers food poisoning due to contamination.  Out of those millions of people, approximately 3,000 die from the infection each year.

 

Congress has been working with the FDA over the past couple of years to reduce foodborne illnesses at the manufacturing and farming stage.  That’s a positive initiative that will hopefully decrease these numbers somewhat.  What Congress can’t control is the handling of food and the environment of the food once it reaches its destination.  That’s where the public must be a catalyst for change.

 

In so many states, due to budget cutbacks and lack of funds, restaurant kitchens and other food service establishments are only inspected once every three to five years.  It’s just the reality of the situation, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t solutions.  We can ask the restaurants to provide visibility on their conditions; no one wants a brutal dose of Salmonella or Campylobacter poisoning!  We must ask the questions; it really has become a life or death matter.

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PFE-Verified Hits The Airwaves

UPDATE:  Here is the link to the show!  Click here.

 

 

On Friday, April 5th, we were fortunate enough to be a guest on The Good Living Show on WSAR 1480AM  Talk, produced by “powerhouse voice” Patricia Raskin and hosted by Jennifer Laurenco.  The Good Living Show focuses on health and wellness, lifestyle, fashion, and business strategies conducted in positive ways.  PFE-Verified was so happy to be able to share our message in such a positive environment.

 

It’s a fine balance of needing to educate the public about just how many illnesses are transmitted via cockroach and rodent infiltration in restaurant settings and delivering the information without being completely off-putting.  The truth is this:  Though talking about dirty restaurant kitchen conditions is, admittedly, an unappetizing discussion that conjures up unpleasant visions, denial in the form of, “I don’t want to know,” or “I don’t want to think about it,” can lead to really harmful, unhealthy results.  Ignorance isn’t bliss.

 

A 2009 New York Times article accurately identified what we encounter every day.  When restaurants cut costs, pest control services are the first operational service to go, despite their critical importance.  In Friday’s interview, our spokesperson, Wendie Tobin, spoke of this challenge.  There are conscientious restaurants and food-service establishments that recognize the threats posed by unsanitary kitchen conditions and address those issues with a contract of scheduled pest-control service.  Some restaurants employ pest control only on an as-needed basis, and many businesses attempt to take matters into their own hands.  In Rhode Island, it’s illegal for a layperson to spray pesticides in a commercial food area; there’s a reason why licensed exterminators go through a certification process!  Unfortunately, there is also a class of restaurant owners that ignore the rodents, insects, and other critters, altogether.

 

During our time on The Good Living Show, we made sure to give a shout out to each of our initial wave of valued PFE-Verified restaurants, which can be viewed on our database page.  They are committed to their customers’ health by keeping clean, pest-free food storage and prep areas.  (We are excited to add more wonderful restaurants in 2013.)  Advancements often materialize in response to public need.  We all need to be asking restaurants to do better.  Ask your favorite dining establishment to be PFE-Verified. If they have a contract of pest control services, it’s a minimal effort for them to be verified.  It offers peace of mind and reassurance for you, support and promotion for clean, pest-free restaurants, and a positive initiative committed to the hygienic and better living that we require of our own homes.

 

As we await a link to last Friday’s interview—we’ll post it as soon as we have access—we encourage you to check out The Good Living Show producer Patricia Raskin’s website.  She’s doing some great things.

 

From her website:

 

Patricia Raskin, host of the Patricia Raskin Positive Living™ radio show, is a nationally recognized multi-media radio talk show host, award-winning producer, media coach, speaker and author. She is recognized by her peers and listeners as the “powerhouse voice” behind lifestyle, health and wellness, inspirational, and personal growth talk radio.

Patricia helps people turn their obstacles into opportunities and challenges into solutions to make their dreams come true through her renowned interviews with the “best of the best” motivational and self-improvement experts. Patricia has interviewed nearly 2,000 guests on her Patricia Raskin Positive Living™ television and radio programs; including Jane Seymour, Jack Canfield, Dr. John Gray, Joan Lunden, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Maya Angelou, Dr. Andrew Weil, Dean McDermott, and Richard Bach.

 

Patricia has also authored two books, Success, Your Dream and You and Pathfinding: 7 Principles for Positive Living, in addition to writing nearly 700 newspaper columns and producing and hosting over 500 television shows and documentaries.

Patricia’s Patricia Raskin’s Positive Living™ programs have aired on Fox, PBS, and NPR affiliates, and WTKF, 107.3 FM. Patricia Raskin Positive Living program can currently be heard Saturdays 3-5pm ET on Southern New England’s leading radio station, 630 WPRO AM, 99.7 FM, www.630wpro.com, Mondays @ 2pm ET on www.VoiceAmerica.com, and “Postive Business” Fridays on AM790 3-5PM.

 

 

 

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