Feeling sick to your stomach? Where did you have lunch?
A new report released by the CDC finds nearly half of all foodborne illnesses in the U.S. each year are in some way associated with restaurants and delis.
Research identifies issues with how food is prepared and handled, worker health policies (like coming to work when they’re sick), and hand-washing. In response, the CDC has released a series of tools to increase awareness and improve food safety in restaurants.
The agency has created the National Voluntary Environmental Assessment Information System (NVEAIS) to help authorities regulate food quality and safety standards. The system provides a place to enter data about what happened and the events that most likely led to a foodborne outbreak so the CDC can interpret the information. Early next year, the public and members of the food industry can use free online materials to learn more about causes of foodborne outbreaks.
“Inspectors have not had a formal system to capture and report the underlying factors that likely contribute to foodborne outbreaks or a way to inform prevention strategies and implement routine corrective measures in restaurants, delis and schools,” said Carol Selman, head of CDC’s Environmental Health Specialists Network team at the National Center for Environmental Health.