Staff reporting illness policy
All kitchen managers, staff and volunteers working with food are required to report to the person in charge, or PIC, about their health as they relate to diseases that spread through food. This allows the PIC to implement practices to reduce the risk of transmission. Reportable information requested could include date of onset of symptoms, diagnosis or exposure to an illness.
Staff reportable history of illness
Norovirus and all species of Salmonella have been added to the mandatory reportable illness list which includes hepatitis A, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Shigella. Reportable symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat with fever or jaundice as well as pus filled wounds that are located on the body in a place that could come into contact with food or food contact surfaces. Additionally, kitchen managers, staff and volunteers that work in a facility serving a highly susceptible population, which includes school that prepare food for preschool aged children, also need to report potential exposure to foodborne illness to the person in charge.
Notify the health officer
The PIC or Certified Food Safety Manager, or CFSM, is also required to notify the health officer or the health department when a food employee has jaundice (yellowing of skin) or diagnosed with one of the mandatory reportable disease.
Conditions of exclusion, or when to call in sick
Kitchen managers, staff and volunteers are required to exclude themselves or be excluded by the PIC if they show symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting or jaundice. Additionally, all food workers are to be excluded based on any diagnosis, even if asymptomatic, of Norovirus, all species of Salmonella, hepatitis A, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and Shigella. For schools that also serve food to preschool aged children, an additional requirement is for exclusion due to a sore throat or fever.
Conditions of restriction
Restriction is when a food worker is moved to tasks where there is no risk of transmitting a disease that is transmissible through food, such as stocking shelves. A PIC should restrict a food worker when a food worker has a lesion that is inflamed or contains pus that cannot be covered or if they have a sore throat with fever.
Aiding with an illness investigation
The PIC, CFSM and all kitchen staff and volunteers are required to cooperate if there is a confirmed or suspected illness or outbreak associated with the food service. This is part of the permitting requirements and is a condition of being able to serve food to the public.
Sometimes, the symptoms that require exclusion or restriction are symptoms of other conditions that are not spread through food, such as diarrheal side effects from medicine or pregnancy leading to vomiting. With the code revision, kitchen managers, staff and volunteers may provide written medical documentation from a health practitioner to the PIC, CFSM or the regulatory authority to return to work without restrictions.
Responding to contamination events
New with this code revision, there is now a requirement to have a written procedures for employees to follow when responding to vomiting or diarrheal events that involve the discharge of vomitus or fecal matter onto surfaces in the food establishment. The procedures should include the specific actions cafeteria managers and staff must take to minimize the spread of contamination and the exposure of staff, students, food and surfaces to vomitus or fecal matter. For school districts or private schools with multiple locations, please ensure there is a current copy at each location.