Salmonella Outbreak

salmonella2

One of the most important aspects from the food industry is to learn the best food’s handling practices procedures and how to prevent foodborne illness. As a cook we have to recognize the hazards that can make food unsafe such the ones that come from pathogens, chemicals and objects. Other aspect of food contamination is associated with the way a particular operation is handling the food in order to keep it safe from these hazards as well. These hazards can be controlled or minimized by taking in to consideration the employees’ personal hygiene, time and temperature abuse, and cross-contamination (Serve-safe Essentials, 2010). Therefore, I will put into discussion a foodborne illness, which put in jeopardy the health of an 11 year old and many others after got sick from salmonella outbreak.

The Food Safety News informs that 11 year old girl got sick of salmonella after consuming school meals manufactured by Organic Life, according to the parents of the child. The company Organic Life was linked responsible for this salmonella enteritidis epidemic that affected more than 30 children from six private schools within the Chicago area. The symptoms that she suffered were abdominal cramps, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever of 104 degrees. The 11 year old girl’s symptoms worsened during the past couple days after being seemed by the doctor, but her parents brought her back to the hospital because the symptoms she had continued to worsen. Finally the Doctors concluded that Sophia’s Salmonella infection was worsened by the fact that she has Thalassemia, a blood disorder that results in excessive destruction of red blood cells, according to the court documents (http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/03/family-of-child-sickened-in-chicagoland-schools-salmonella-outbreak-files-suit/#.UVB3CxyG3zw).

The interesting fact is that the food that carried the bacteria was never identified by the department of health, but an investigation which was conducted at Organic Life’s facilities by the Department of Health describes the contrary. The IDPH discovered many discrepancies such as unsanitary conditions, food under the time and temperature, lack of employees’ personal hygiene, handling ready-to-eat food with bare hands, employees disposing garbage with the same gloves that they were using for food preparation, and lack of sanitary cleaning within the premises. After this investigation the IDPH conclude that the salmonella outbreak was the result of an employee infected, which may him responsible for the contamination of different batches of food that then were served at school (http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/03/family-of-child-sickened-in-chicagoland-schools-salmonella-outbreak-files-suit/#.UVB3CxyG3zw).

Are these outbreaks due to a lack of proper HACCP procedures or an accident? These outbreaks were due to a lack of proper HACCP procedures. These critical points were not identified at the right moment by the management or the person in charge of safety in order to correct the issue. This issue could have been avoid it if the staff in charge were following the flow of food, identifying the negligence, such as time and temperature abuse, the proper sanitary guidelines while employees handling food, and lack of unsanitary conditions within the premises. In addition, it is important to recognize the different critical control points within the flow of food on this particular operation. Based on (Serve-safe Essential, 2010) a written plan is an important tool that has to be implemented in order to follow the flow of food and to identifies and controls the risk and hazards of a specific operation. The seven HACCP principles are:

  1. Conduct a hazard analysis
  2. Determine critical control points
  3. Establish critical limits
  4. Establish monitoring procedures
  5. Identify corrective actions
  6. Verify that the system works
  7. Establish procedures for record keeping and documentation ( Serv-Safe Essentials, 2010)
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