Skip to comments.What Does a Potential Swine Flu Pandemic Mean to Restaurant Operators?
Posted on 04/28/2009 2:13:44 PM PDT by doug from upland
What Does a Potential Swine Flu Pandemic Mean to Restaurant Operators?
Swine flu is all over the news and discussed at the water cooler, and some people are scared. Presumably some restaurant-goers and employees are among those needing reassurance. Here are some ways to help. -- Restaurants and Institutions, 4/27/2009 12:45:00 PM
Today, swine flu is all over the news and discussed at the water cooler. It's the top search term on Twitter, and it has tweeters scared. Some are afraid to go to work or school--or are using it as a good excuse not to attend. Others are wondering if the pork they ate will make them sick. Some are even asking if it's safe to go to a Mexican restaurant.
Presumably some restaurant-goers and employees are among those needing reassurance. The Reed Business Information Foodservice and Hospitality Group offers some tips for keeping guests and staff informed, preventing problems using safe practices and preparing for the worst.
What You Can Do to Stay Healthy
The Centers for Disease Control recommends these everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
* If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. GENERAL INFORMATION
Information from the Centers for Disease Control Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in the United States and internationally. Investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the infection and whether additional people have been infected with swine influenza viruses. CDC is working very closely with officials in states where human cases of swine influenza A have been identified, as well as with health officials in Mexico, Canada and the World Health Organization.
Statement from the National Pork Board Amid public concern about the reports of swine influenza in humans, the National Pork Board wishes to reassure the public that pork is safe and will continue to be safe to consume. The CDC and other health organizations continue to caution that the virus is contagious and is spreading from humans to humans. The CDC has said it has not found any evidence to indicate that any of the illnesses resulted from contact with pigs.
Go Ahead and Eat That Pulled-Pork Sandwich The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that despite the name "swine flu," there is no evidence that this type of influenza subtype is present in U.S. pigs. Humans can't get this virus from eating pork, the CDC says.
SOLID FOOD-SAFETY PRACTICES
Food Safety Fundamentals As part of Food Safety Month, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies presented a special interactive panel discussion covering today's most pressing food safety issues, including the fundamentals.
The 10-Minute Manager's Guide To Food-Safety Training There are countless reasons to make sure hourly employees, and not just managers, are well-trained in food safety and sanitation. One reason: Hourlies are as responsible--if not more so--for food production as kitchen managers.
Restaurant Food Safety: Best Face Forward "You have to monitor your fundamentals constantly because the only thing that changes will be your attention to them. The fundamentals will never change."
Random Handwashing Is Risky Business No standards for clean hands or handwashing frequency exist, which means the process remains random. Is there any wonder poor hand hygiene remains the most frequently cited contributing factor in foodborne outbreak investigations?
Technology Adds a Measure of Management Date marking. Time clocks. Temperature recording. Measuring is an established practice for all important processes in foodservice. Except when it comes to measuring one of the critical interventions against foodborne illness, handwashing.
Operating a Food Safe Environment Most everyone agrees creating a food-safe environment is fundamental to an operator's success. But a number of factors unique to the operator's business help determine exactly what steps comprise their fundamental approach to food safety.
Food Safety: The Extra Mile Chick-fil-A builds kitchens, processes and standards to keep its customers safe from foodborne illness and from each others germs.
CONTROLLING THE MESSAGE
Editorial: Viral Marketing We shouldn't be afraid to talk about swine flu. We should embrace the opportunity to share how the industry ensures we have the safest food supply in the world.
PREPARING FOR THE WORST
Flu Threat: Now Is The Time To Prepare A pandemic would likely devastate many areas of the world and requires crisis management planning on a global level. For the hotel industry, the effects could be even greater with both guests and employees to consider. So what can hoteliers do?
Business Checklist in Case of Pandemic In the event of pandemic influenza, businesses will play a key role in protecting employees' health and safety as well as limiting the negative impact to the economy and society. Planning for pandemic influenza is critical.
Ready or Not: Crisis Management A crisis can hit even the best food-safety system. Well-prepared operations can minimize the damage.
Voice of Experience: Crisis-Management Lessons from Wendy's Denny Lynch has learned a lot about crisis management in his 28 years at Wendy's, some of it the hard way, such as the well-publicized incident of a woman finding part of a finger in a bowl of chili. Lynch shares in his own words lessons learned from such experiences.
IMPACT ON BUSINESS
Mexico Swine Flu Outbreak May Deepen Economic Decline Mexico's outbreak of deadly swine flu may curtail tourism and compel shoppers to stay home, further damaging an economy already reeling because of a U.S. recession that has cut demand for exports.
Answers to Swine Flu Questions The World Health Organization has called it a "public health emergency of international concern." Seemingly out of nowhere, the swine flu virus has spread from person to person in Mexico and the United States, triggering global concerns as governments scramble to find ways to prevent further outbreak.
United, Other Airline Stocks Drop on Swine Flu Fears Shares of United Airlines and other major air carriers plummeted Monday morning on worries that a swine flu outbreak would restrict air travel.
What Restaurants Can Do
The National Restaurant Association outlines these steps to follow to prepare for a possible pandemic.
* Maintain a healthy work environment. Ensure adequate air circulation, and post tips on how to stop the spread of germs. Promote hand and respiratory hygiene for your employees, and ensure easy availability of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (not just in the places already required by law).
* Be informed about government and industry pandemic preparedness activities and plans. Utilize information provided to you by industry resources, be familiar with your state and local pandemic plans and maintain contact with the appropriate officials. Monitor news and developments coming from the federal government on pandemic preparedness such as pandemicflu.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
* Communicate openly and proactively with your employees. Educate your workforce about the threat of pandemic flu, what you are doing to prepare the business, and what they should do to protect themselves and their families. Evaluate your sick leave and family leave policies now and communicate what you will expect during a pandemic. Update your employee contact system (whether it's a phone tree, e-mail or other system) and be sure to have a plan in place to reach employees quickly whether they're at home or traveling.
* Develop an internal pandemic planning task force. This task force should include a representative from each key functional area of your business. They should review this government-supplied business checklist.
* Identify your company's essential functions and the necessary employees to perform them. Depending on the nature of your business, take into account the likely shifts in demand for your products during a pandemic.
* Determine what outside activities are critical to your business and evaluate what your business can do to maintain normal functioning. For instance, when there are interruptions in the supply chain or transportation systems, how will that affect your business? Be sure to consider what reserve supplies might be necessary to stockpile (e.g., cleaning supplies, gloves or other protective equipment, "to-go" containers, etc.) as well as possible interruptions of essential government services, such as water or power, which might force restaurant closure.
* Build in training redundancy to prepare for inevitable absenteeism. During a pandemic, not just sick employees will stay home -- others might need to care for the sick or for children if schools close. Others stay home for fear of contracting the flu. Experts expect absentee rates of 25 percent to 30 percent.
* Establish and maintain an open dialogue with the local communities where you operate. Determine which officials will be making decisions about food services, transportation and other essential services on a local level, and maintain an up-to-date contact list. Form a plan on how you can best use your resources to help the community in the event of a pandemic.
* Consider ways to minimize loss of revenue during times of "social distancing." This might include menu modifications to respond to customer concerns or item shortages; increasing takeout availability and promotion; and delivery offerings, if possible. Consider how your methods would work with the infrastructure needed for processing remote ordering.
* Try to allow for employees to work remotely when possible. While this is not possible for most restaurant workers, evaluate and establish policies and tools in advance that will allow employees with administrative or financial work responsibilities to do so from home. Be sure to consider the hardware needed and the possible stresses for your existing computer network.
I’d skip the salad bar and buffet line, if you have ever watched people sneeze and cough on the food, lick their fingers and spoons, and dig in...
Back in the kitchen and prep area- you do not ever want to know...
Thanks doug from upland.
This does not bode well for the trash collectors.
to increase? or were just being sarcastic? I love ‘that country’ food unfortunately.
Man, dude - you gonna give up Carnitas at El Michuahachan on Valley Blvd?
I haven’t eaten meat since 1991.
Swine Flu Ping...
Protect Yourself from “Salad Bar Disease”
Protect yourself from the salad bar disease! Also known as the stomach flu, which is a highly contagious group of bugs known as noroviruses. Their calling card? A sudden bout of vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. About 30 to 40 different strains are in our environment, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Like it or not, its often spread from fecal matter that comes from people who dont wash their hands after using the bathroom. The good news? This four-step plan can spare you the misery.
* Skip the salad bar. It turns out the most likely place for noroviruses to lurk in restaurants is the salad bar. Why? Because raw foods easily transmit the virus since theyre not exposed to heat, which kills the virus. Plus salad bar counters are crawling with bacteria. To protect yourself, order a made-to-order salad from the kitchen instead of picking through veggies that everybody has had their hands on. Also, check the restaurants restroom! A study from the CDC confirms if the bathroom isnt clean, the kitchen is worse!
* Wash up at the right time. The most crucial times to wash your hands are before brushing your teeth, eating, preparing food, and after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or doing the laundry. When youre lathered up, get under your nails too.
* Build up your defenses. To boost your resistance to noroviruses, have a daily cup of yogurt containing live bacteria cultures. Keeping your digestive system well stocked with good bacteria increases your ability to fight off bad bacteria.
* If youve been around someone whos sick, break out the bleach! Noroviruses can linger for days on surfaces like your kids toys, telephones, cell phones, and doorknobs. So if youve been around a sickie, wipe everything down with a solution of one part household bleach to 50 parts water.
* Aside from this four-step plan, beware of this food. Eggs. Eggs are associated with more than 600-thousand cases of food poisoning each year and more than 300 deaths. So make sure you cook your eggs completely.
Gay Journalist’s Incredible
Attempts To Infect
Candidate With Flu
Snotty Little Germ Spreads Liberal Hate
By Rod Dreher
During the Clinton impeachment battle, the online magazine Salon gratuitously revealed that leading House Republican Henry Hyde had an extramarital affair 30 years ago.
Was that playing dirty?
“Frankly, yes,” the mag’s editors conceded in an editorial. “But ugly times call for ugly tactics.”
Salon, ever a trailblazer, has just gone beyond character assassination against conservative politicians, and has begun going after them with germ warfare.
This week in Salon, syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage wrote of his undercover stint with the Gary Bauer campaign in Iowa. While lying in a Des Moines hotel room suffering from the flu, Savage caught the candidate on TV speaking out against gay marriage.
That did it. The openly gay Savage decided his mission was clear: “Get close enough to Bauer to give him the flu, which, if I am successful, will lay him flat just before the New Hampshire primary.”
Savage regales readers with tales of coughing on everything in the Bauer office, even licking doorknobs when nobody was looking. He sucked on a pen he later handed to the candidate.
“My plan was a little malicious — even a little mean-spirited,” Savage wrote. “But those same words describe the tactics used by Bauer and the rest of the religious right against gays and lesbians.”
My, what tidy moral reasoning. Hate your opponent’s rhetoric? Then do your dead-level best to put him and his staff in the hospital. Ugly times, after all, call for ugly tactics.
Bauer’s Iowa office was shell-shocked by the news.
“We just kind of knew him as Dan,” said Iowa campaign director Loras Schulte. “This is trash-can journalism at its worst. I have no idea what he may have tried to infect us with.”
Indeed, it’s hard to think of a stunt that could better play into the hands of authentic homophobes. Think of it: a crusading gay avenger secretly tries to pass on a virus to Christian conservatives, and is rewarded for his efforts by a trendy media outlet. It’s the kind of fevered propaganda you’d expect from the crazy “God hates fags” people.
Savage couldn’t be reached because, according to his Seattle office, “He’s lost somewhere in the Midwest.” He’d better be across Iowa state lines. A spokesman for the Iowa attorney general’s office says the jerk’s flu-bug prank opens him up to felony assault charges.
And, by signing an Iowa voter-registration form so he could participate in the caucuses, Savage committed perjury.
Salon editor David Talbot said he didn’t send Savage out to infect the Bauerites, and claims not to condone it. But he was pleased to print the story all the same, under the moniker “The Merry Prankster.”
Is giving the flu to people on purpose Salon’s idea of a “merry prank”?
My wife and I spent two days in the hospital last Thanksgiving, watching our flu-infected newborn gut it out with tubes coming out of his feet, screaming from a spinal tap the doctors had to do to test for meningitis. I wouldn’t wish that hell on my worst enemy.
But for Talbot, such sneering disregard for human suffering is just lively journalism.
“It was provocative and it raised lots of questions about the ways gays are scapegoated by the religious right,” Talbot said. “The kind of passion and fury that Dan feels I completely empathize with.”
Bob Giles of the media think tank Freedom Forum warns that Salon is setting a dangerous precedent.
Savage “is acting as a terrorist, and he’s using a journalistic cover to do it,” Giles said. “This is the kind of unedited behavior that some will try on the Internet.”
Where is the outrage? If a right-winger angry over Al Gore’s gay- rights views tried to take down the veep’s campaign by spreading disease within its ranks, then profited from it by penning a sanctimonious tell-all, the “hate crimes” hysterics would be baying for blood.
Not necessarily Salon. Talbot says he might be willing to publish such a piece from the right “if the writer did it with sufficient craft and wit.”
That’s not comforting. That’s chilling.
>>I havent eaten meat since 1991.
So many jokes, so little time :)
But I understand.
Sure makes me hungry!
Brownbag your lunch, do it from high orbit, only way to be sure.
What can restruants do?
Pray for customers, but don’t expect to see me for a while.
Every restaurant in SoCal has workers in the kitchen from Mexico. Of course, some might be Americans and might not have gone to Mexico last week, but they also might go to churches, gyms, school with people who did.
I am eating at home.
While this is not possible for most restaurant workers
Then why even mention it?
I like to support local business but this is really worrisome.
Ping (Thanks, DvdMom!)
So this Mexican suffering from the swine flu walks into a bar...
ITS BAILOUT TIME.....WHOO HOO FREE FOOD!!!
I haven't eaten meat since 1635.
Did I mention I'll be wearing a mask at dinner?
So far, knock wood.