The FDA has a goal of reducing the overall noncompliance rate for each type of food establishment by 25% by 2010, using the 1998 survey as a baseline, according to the report. For example, in 1998, the overall noncompliance rate for all the risk variables in elementary schools was 20%; the FDA would like to reduce that to 15% by 2010. The agency plans to do a third nationwide survey in 2008. The new findings echo those of a similar survey conducted in 1998 and reported in 2000, according to the FDA. “The same risk factors and data items identified as problem areas in the 2000 report remain in need of priority attention,” the report says. “This indicates that industry and regulatory efforts to promote active managerial control of these risk factors must be strengthened.” Contaminated equipment was also common, according to the report. For example, failures in this category were observed in 21.9% of fast-food restaurants, 37.3% of full-service restaurants, 23.4% of delis, 24.4% of retail meat and poultry departments, 18.9% of hospitals, and 13.5% of elementary schools. For example, the FDA found failures to comply with handwashing guidelines in 73% of full-service restaurants and 34% of hospitals. Further, inspectors saw cases of noncompliance with guidelines for cleaning food-contact surfaces in 58% of retail deli departments and 25% of elementary schools. Within the general area of contaminated equipment, improper cleaning and sanitizing of food-contact surfaces was the most widespread specific problem. Noncompliance ranged from 25% in elementary schools to 35.2% in retail seafood departments, 37.2% in nursing homes, and 58% in deli departments. Sep 16, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – A nationwide survey by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that risk factors for foodborne disease, such as inadequate handwashing by workers and keeping food at unsafe temperatures, are very common in the nation’s restaurants, retail stores, and institutional food services. Observations by FDA personnel at more than 900 food operations in 2003 showed that sizable percentages of them failed to comply with guidelines for food holding time and temperature, personal hygiene, and keeping equipment clean, according to a 200-page FDA report released this week. In the personal hygiene category, inadequate handwashing was the most common specific problem in all nine types of facilities, the report says. For personal hygiene overall, samples of the noncompliance rates included 31.2% for fast-food restaurants, 41.7% for full-service restaurants, 23.5% for deli departments, and 17.5% for hospitals. Team members gathered information on 42 food safety variables by directly observing facility operations and, in some cases, by talking with managers and workers. The variables—described in the FDA Food Code—were grouped into several risk factors, including improper holding time and temperature, poor personal hygiene, inadequate cooking time, contaminated equipment/prevention of contamination, food from unsafe sources, and “other/chemical” hazards. Failure to heed guidelines for food holding times and temperatures appears to be the most common problem noted in the report. The FDA found problems of this kind in 63.8% of full-service restaurants, 64.4% of delis, 41.7% of fast-food restaurants, and 40.3% of hospitals. The most common specific problems were “improper cold holding of potentially hazardous food” (for example, not storing food at 41ºF or lower) and failure to date-mark refrigerated ready-to-eat foods after 24 hours. See also: Inadequate cooking time was a less common problem than most of the others, the FDA says. Inspectors reported it, for example, in 15.8% of full-service restaurants and 6.3% of hospitals. The use of food from unsafe sources was also reported relatively infrequently. The FDA survey team visited nine types of food establishments: fast-food and full-service restaurants; hospitals, nursing homes, and elementary schools; and retail deli, meat and poultry, seafood, and produce departments. The report notes that the ideal measure of food safety performance in the foodservice industry would be the actual level of foodborne illness. But because foodborne illness is “grossly underreported,” illness data are an unreliable indicator. Thus the FDA chose to assess foodborne disease risk factors, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The FDA compared food safety data from establishments that had a certified food protection manager from a recognized program with data from establishments that lacked such a manager. The comparison suggests that having a certified manager improves the control of certain risk factors, especially poor personal hygiene. This effect was seen most clearly in restaurants, meat and poultry departments, and produce departments, the report says. “FDA Report on the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice, Restaurant, and Retail Food Store Facility Types (2004)”
Rumors of a case of coronavirus surfaced at The Lorenzo Monday night after the general manager sent an email out to residents erroneously confirming that a resident had contracted the illness. (Vincent Leo | Daily Trojan) “Our international student population and our Asian American student population are being affected by this because [we’re worried about our] relatives back in Asia,” she told meeting attendees. Van Orman explained that while there are at least five confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., the situation is not as severe as it is in Wuhan, China, and other parts of the nation, where the virus first spread. “The Department of Public Health is the only agency that has the authority to release the results,” Van Orman told the Daily Trojan. “In the event that there were students affected, they would let us know. They would put out a public press release like we saw over the weekend for the non-USC … individual.” Several racist and xenophobic memes have circulated on the University’s Facebook meme page and a Latinx group chat, targeting Asian students because of the virus’ origin in China. While the virus originated there, Van Orman said targeting Chinese international students with hateful comments about the illness is problematic and only exacerbates panic surrounding the disease. Huerta said she was initially confused when USC reported that there was a false alarm and that she wanted an additional confirmation from The Lorenzo. Once she received the second email from the apartment complex, she and her roommates felt relieved, she said. These memos were also addressed at Tuesday’s Undergraduate Student Government Meeting during which Sen. Angela Chuang asked attendees to be mindful of what they post online. Lorenzo resident Mayra Huerta, a senior majoring in human biology, said she got back to her apartment near 8:30 p.m. and saw multiple ambulance vehicles outside. When her friends sent her a screenshot of the email, she said she felt fearful. “I wish … they would’ve just confirmed reports before sending an email,” Huerta said. “It would have been helpful because I feel like a lot of people freaked out. And I know a lot of [locals] got in their cars and went home.” Health officials confirmed two cases of coronavirus in Los Angeles and Orange counties Sunday. There has been no evidence of person-to-person transmission in these two cases. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control is investigating more than 100 potential cases of coronavirus, with five cases confirmed, 70 under investigation and 32 with negative results. However, no one affiliated with USC is currently under investigation, Van Orman said. “All my roommates, we all came out, we all freaked out,” Huerta said. “We all took out the Clorox wipes and disinfected everything, and we were kind of panicking, and it was just like a state of panic.” On the night of the false alarm, some concerned students created a petition requesting that USC cancel classes. It garnered nearly 10,000 signatures. Chief Health Officer Sarah Van Orman said that if an individual from the USC community were to contract the virus, Student Health would first inform the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, which would inform the public of any development involving the coronavirus. “There’s social distancing,” she said. “I think there’s confusion because of the measures being taken in China, where they have a localized population with thousands of cases, versus the measures that we might, for example, take in the United States, where we have had a handful of cases that have been contained. They’re very different situations.” In addition to Huerta, other students reported seeing paramedics and members of the Los Angeles Fire Department outside the apartment complex that evening. According to DPS Daily Crime and Fire Logs, a student was transported to a local hospital near 9 p.m. after reporting a sore throat and fatigue. Following rumors that a case of coronavirus broke out near USC Monday night, the University affirmed that news of an outbreak would not come from an apartment management team but from L.A. County public health authorities first. The Lorenzo later retracted their notice, apologizing for the release of false information. The Lorenzo declined to further comment on the incident and redirected communication to USC Media Relations. “We’re very concerned that we’re hearing that students from China or students from the Wuhan province are being targeted,” Van Orman said. “It’s very easy to try to kind of point fingers at a group of people or individuals and think that if we just keep them away that somehow we’ll all be safe, and that’s really dangerous and discriminatory.” Posts about the false outbreak filled social media, including the USC memes page on Facebook. One on the memes page read “University of Spreading Coronavirus” and another included a photo depicting fake face masks engraved with USC’s initials. USC Student Health plans to increase communication to continue to ease student concerns on the outbreak and relay the preventative measures being taken. USC is currently working with LADPH to monitor developments in Los Angeles. L.A. has not placed a quarantine for those returning from Wuhan or any affected areas. However, Van Orman encourages individuals experiencing symptoms to seek immediate medical care. Van Orman said the ill student was screened for coronavirus symptoms through a checklist developed by the L.A. County Department of Public Health per protocol, saying what occurred on the scene may have led to miscommunication. On Monday night, students feared that the virus may have spread to the USC community after off-campus housing complex The Lorenzo emailed tenants erroneously stating that a resident had contracted the virus. Natalie Oganesyan and Kate Sequeira contributed to the report.