Occupational Health & Safety

Food Safety in Restaurants Study Reveals Startling Data

The study, published in the Journal of Food Protection, points to a lack of safe procedures for raw ground beef and leafy greens in many restaurants

According to an article from Food Safety News, a recent study done by the CDC has found unsettling statistics regarding safe food handling in restaurants. According to the CDC’s study, over 60 percent of restaurant workers that handled raw ground beef with their bare hands had failed to wash their hands before touching other foods, including cooked ground beef.

The study was completed by the CDC’s Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net), which is an organization that evaluates the risk of foodborne illnesses in restaurants. The organization studied hundreds of restaurants nationwide, and their findings were published in the Journal of Food Protection’s December edition.

The organization released data on both the handling of raw ground beef and leafy greens, according to Food Safety News. The first article, titled “Ground Beef Handling and Cooking Practices in Eight States,” reported: 71 percent of managers said their workers had to report a gastrointestinal illness system, while 28 percent said their workers did not have to report being sick. In addition, 20 percent of managers had a consumer advisory posted about eating undercooked beef, while 77 percent did not. Even more alarmingly, in 42 percent of restaurants utensils were not washed between touching raw ground beef and ready-to-eat foods and 40 percent of hamburgers ordered medium rare were undercooked.

The second article, titled “Handling Practices of Fresh Leafy Greens in Restaurants: Receiving and Training,” studied 439 restaurants and reported that 50 percent of leafy greens arrived at temps about 41 degrees Fahrenheit and 30 percent arrived above 45 degrees. In addition, there were 127 food illness outbreaks linked to leafy greens between 2004-2008, over half of which came from restaurants. 

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