How to Prevent a Foodborne Illness Outbreak in Your Restaurant


As a restaurant owner or manager, you likely watch the news of foodborne illness outbreaks a little differently than the rest of the public. You’re keenly aware of what an incident would do to your reputation, and you wonder whether your restaurant would be able to survive an outbreak at all.

Foodborne illness occurs when a person develops an infection or irritation caused by contaminated food. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines a foodborne illness outbreak as “an incident in which two or more persons experience a similar illness resulting from the ingestion of a common food.” The CDC estimates that approximately 800 outbreaks occur each year.

Effective food handler training is your best defense against a foodborne illness originating at your restaurant. Not just any training will do. Use a certified program that covers the requirements for your state. Online training is a cost-effective and efficient way to deliver food safety training to your entire staff.

Manager Responsibilities in Food Safety

In addition to making sure every member of your staff is properly trained, as a manager you are responsible for creating and maintaining a culture of food safety in your restaurant. This goes beyond making sure all your employees pass the minimum training standards. Remember, foodborne illnesses are preventable when the proper steps are taken. Here’s what you can do to:

  • Go beyond basic food safety instruction with your staff by following up with daily on-the-job training where food preparation practices are continually monitored and assessed.
  • Always purchase food from safe sources. Food safety risks can originate with your vendors, so choose them carefully. Inspect all food deliveries for safety concerns.
  • Purchase and maintain the proper equipment. If employees have to take shortcuts because your equipment is sub-par, food safety mistakes will happen.
  • Check food temperature logs to ensure employees are keeping them accurately and consistently. Do not tolerate any deviation from food temperature standards.
  • Recognize employees who go above and beyond to ensure safe food preparation and delivery.

Online Training to Prevent Foodborne Illness

Our online Food Handler training program covers critical information employees need to safely handle, prepare, and serve food to your customers. This training is accredited by ANSI (American National Standards Institute) against the ASTM E2659-09 standard. Click here to learn more.

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