The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released an updated version of the Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Handbook for retail food managers and food employees. The handbook includes best practices and behaviors that can help prevent food employees from spreading bacteria and viruses, such as Salmonella and norovirus, that cause foodborne illness. This handbook has been revised to include updates from the 2017 Food Code. While the Food Code does not address respiratory illness, such as COVID19, the Employee Health section emphasizes long-standing public health principles for preventing disease transmission – hand washing; excluding ill employees from the workplace, prohibiting bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods; and reporting of illness and symptoms, among others.
Updates to the handbook include:
- The addition of nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS) as one of the reportable illnesses for action by the Person in Charge (PIC) in a retail food establishment;
- Updates to the nomenclature of E. coli from E. coli 0157:H7 to Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli;
- A new section to address written procedures for responding to vomiting or diarrheal events; and
- Information on discarding food that may have been contaminated by an employee excluded or restricted from work because of an illness transmissible through food, such as norovirus, Hepatitis A virus, Shigella app., Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, and Salmonella, among others.
The handbook also highlights effective interventions to prevent the transmission of foodborne viruses and bacteria on food and food-contact surfaces.
For more information, see Retail Food Protection: Employee Health and Personal Hygiene Handbook.