Posts Tagged salmonella

Everything You Wanted to Know About Roaches But Were Afraid to Ask



Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I suspect it’s an almost universally held opinion that roaches are outright ugly.  Once we progress past the hysteria and fearfulness that exists around the images of these critters, then what?  Are they really these filthy little beasts they’re rumored to be?  After all, don’t some people EAT roaches? (The answer is yes.  Cockroaches are also allergens, prompting asthma attacks in many people.)


There are people who claim that cockroaches aren’t dirty.  Roaches aren’t independently dirty in the same way that a toilet bowl isn’t dirty on its own.  It’s all about the conditions, habits, and practices of roaches that have earned them their well-deserved reputations.  They are famous for the acts of picking up, tracking, and depositing all sorts of bacteria and it begins with their dining establishments of choice.


Cockroaches aren’t discriminating; they’ll eat just about anything.  They’ll heartily munch away on garbage, leftover scraps of food, grease, glue, paper, soap, books, leather and, yep, even hair.  Water is their lifeblood, so if there’s a source, they’ll be there.  As a nod to their durability, they can survive up to six weeks without food and two weeks without a head!  Since they can gain access into houses, restaurants and anywhere else where there’s food through a crack that’s 1/16th inch wide, they rarely face a starvation scenario. (Of course, if headless, eating is no longer an option!)


Since roaches hang in such unsavory environments, they pick up harmful bacteria—most commonly salmonella.  Salmonella infection is the most common foodborne illness according to the CDC and its recorded cases are on the rise.  Roaches have sticky legs that are particularly adept at holding on to this harmful bacteria and tracking it and their own fecal matter into the environments they love the most:  anywhere there is food!


Restaurants are havens for cockroach infestations.  They store and prepare large quantities of food, offer multiple opportunities for entry, and ample space for them to scatter and breed.  It’s why so many cases of salmonella food poisoning are sourced from dining out.


Monthly pest control services—PFE-Verified restaurants maintain their establishments in this fashion—is the only way to combat the armies of pests that will always be drawn to all that commercial kitchens have to offer.  The PFE-Verified database is such a valuable resource. What better way to be reassured that you are dining with peace of mind in a clean, roach-free, establishment?



Posted in: food safety, restaurants, Uncategorized

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The Numbers Are In: They’ll Make You Sick



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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