The size and complexity of the food industry’s transportation, retail, and food service sectors are immense. Over 20 million Americans are employed in over 1 million retail establishments nationwide, contributing more than $1 trillion to the US economy every year. Similar to growers and food manufacturers, food employees working in food transit, food service, and retail food establishments have a responsibility to use proper food handling practices that reduce foodborne illness risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified five key factors that contribute to foodborne illness. These include obtaining food from unsafe sources, poor personal hygiene, inadequate cooking, improper holding of food, and contaminated food surfaces and equipment. Results of studies that have evaluated risk in transportation, retail, and food service operations correlate well with the CDC risk factors. As a result, effective food safety programs must actively control risk by employing time/temperature control, good personal hygiene, cross-contamination control, and effective cleaning/sanitizing programs. Education and changing behavior of food employees are the most important prerequisites for successful risk reduction.
Foodborne Infections and Intoxications (Fifth Edition), 2021, Pages 523-544,