Certified managers may reduce restaurant food hazards

first_imgNov 28, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Restaurants that have a certified kitchen manager (CKM) seem to have a lower risk of serving food that triggers infectious illnesses, according to a study comparing restaurants that were involved in disease outbreaks with those that were not.”We were much less likely to find a certified kitchen manager in a restaurant that experienced an outbreak,” said Craig W. Hedberg, PhD, lead author of the research report in the November issue of the Journal of Food Protection. He is an associate professor of environmental and occupational health in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis.Certified kitchen managers—those who have completed a food safety training course—are required in some states but not all, the researchers say.Hedberg, along with researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of Tennessee, examined 22 restaurants involved in disease outbreaks between June 2002 and June 2003 and 347 restaurants with no recent outbreaks. The study was a project of the CDC’s Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net), which covers all or parts of nine states.”This was the first systematic attempt to look at the environmental evaluations in restaurants with outbreaks and compare that to a large body of similar data from restaurants with no indication of any outbreak going on,” Hedberg told CIDRAP News.The researchers used a combination of interviews and direct observation to assess restaurant operations and policies related to food safety. Observers followed the preparation of certain food items, Hedberg said.The EHS-Net specialists identified 107 restaurant-linked outbreaks in their areas (out of 179 outbreaks overall), but staff size limited the number investigated to 22. Nonoutbreak restaurants were defined as those with no history of outbreaks for the preceding 3 years and no complaints of food-related illness within the past year.Outbreak and nonoutbreak restaurants were similar in many respects, but 71% of the nonoutbreak restaurants (243 of 347) had a CKM, versus 32% (7 of 22) of outbreak restaurants, the researchers found.The findings “suggest that the presence of a CKM reduces the risk for an outbreak and was the major distinguishing factor between the outbreak and nonoutbreak restaurants,” the report says. In particular, CKMs seemed to be associated with a lower risk of outbreaks linked to norovirus and Clostridium perfringens, two of the three most common outbreak pathogens. Also, bare-hand contact with food was less likely to be a factor in outbreaks in restaurants that had CKMs.Most restaurants, regardless of outbreak history, relied on on-the-job food safety training for workers, the authors found. They surmised that CKMs probably improved the quality of this training, leading to less bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods and better control of food temperatures.However, in restaurants with outbreaks, the presence of a CKM didn’t seem to reduce the role of infected food handlers as contamination sources leading to the outbreaks, according to the report.In addition, the researchers found that most restaurants had policies requiring food workers to report illnesses and barring staff members from working while sick, but those policies appeared to make little or no difference in the rate of outbreaks or in the role of infected food handlers as contamination sources. Most restaurants, both outbreak and nonoutbreak, did not offer sick leave for food workers.The findings suggest that food safety training programs need to put more emphasis on managing food worker illnesses, the authors say. On the basis of previous studies on gastrointestinal illness, they estimate that 50,000 US food workers are likely to work while infected with norovirus.Carol Selman of the CDC, senior author of the study, said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Conference for Food Protection, which advises the FDA, have recommended that all states require restaurants to have CKMs. She said the findings may help sway those who have been “on the fence” as to whether to adopt that requirement.”It basically lent credence to what had been recommended by the FDA and the Conference for Food Protection,” Selman told CIDRAP News. She is a senior public health advisor in the division of emergency and environmental health services of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health in Atlanta.However, while the findings suggest that CKMs may help prevent norovirus outbreaks, “the key determinant appears to be the presence of an infected food worker,” the researchers write. “This conclusion must be confirmed by further studies involving a larger series of outbreaks.”Selman said EHS-Net is an offshoot of the CDC’s Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, or FoodNet, which collects data on all laboratory-diagnosed cases of common foodborne diseases in all or parts of 10 states. EHS-Net includes at least one environmental health specialist and one epidemiologist in each participating state or area, she said.Hedberg said EHS-Net was set up to help explain some of FoodNet’s findings about exposure to foodborne pathogens, especially “a number of suggestions coming out of FoodNet that restaurants were playing an important role in the epidemiology of foodborne diseases.”Previous studies have failed to find consistent links between restaurant inspection results and disease outbreaks, the authors say. Their study was designed to identify both system failures that led to outbreaks and underlying reasons for the failures.Hedberg CW, Smith SJ, Kirkland E, et al. Systematic environmental evaluations to identify food safety differences between outbreak and nonoutbreak restaurants. J Food Protection 2006 Nov;69(11):2697-702 [Abstract]last_img read more

E-wallet OVO Indonesia’s most popular payment option: Survey

first_imgIn the survey, 17.8 percent of respondents said they preferred the OVO e-wallet over BCA’s online banking service klikBCA (12.2 percent), ATM transfers (10.4 percent) and the DANA e-wallet (8.6 percent).An earlier survey by market research firm Ipsos Indonesia, however, found that people’s “top of mind” e-wallet was GoPay, as most people used e-wallets for the first time to pay for app-based taxi services such as Gojek.Read also: No discounts, no problem: E-wallet users stick around despite less cash backOVO’s growing popularity has largely been backed by its partnership with Grab and e-commerce platform Tokopedia. A recent survey by global fintech organization Rapyd shows that e-wallet OVO is the most preferred payment method in Indonesia. The survey also found that online payments are more popular than bank payments in emerging markets in Asia.The survey report titled Asia Pacific E-commerce and Payment Guide 2020 showed that OVO was the most used e-wallet for online and offline payments during March and April, followed by debit cards, ATM transfer and the GoPay e-wallet.“While debit cards are frequently used, they score low in popularity, highlighting the stronghold e-wallets have on everyday transactions,” the report states. The report also showed credits cards remained the most popular form of payment in Japan, Singapore and Taiwan, while e-wallets were the preferred choice in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.“While developed countries have been using cards for years and seem to be slower in adopting alternatives, consumers in emerging economies leapfrogged the cards stage altogether and use mobile wallets or bank transfers,” the report stated.The report suggests that only 4 percent of Indonesians have international credit cards and that debit cards are usually preset to disallow online purchases.According to the 2019 e-Conomy SEA report by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company, 47 million people in Indonesia have bank accounts but not credit cards, investments and insurance, while another 92 million people are unbanked, meaning they do not have bank accounts.Fintech has been gaining in popularity over the years as it enables the unbanked and people in remote areas to access financial services, with the e-Conomy report predicting Indonesia’s digital economy grow to $130 billion by 2025.Digital payments in Southeast Asia are expected to reach US$1.1 trillion in value by 2025, according to the study. Accounting for just over $22 billion in 2019, e-wallet transactions are likely experience a more than fivefold growth and exceed $114 billion by 2025. (eyc)Topics :last_img read more

After final preparations, Trojans set out for Hawaii

first_imgEight months and five days since its last game, the USC football team flew to Hawaii Tuesday night to prepare for its season opener Thursday. Taking into account all the negative news the team has received and change it has undergone during the off-season, eight months seemed like an eternity to some players.“We’ve all waited a long time for this,” sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley said. “It seems like the offseason was two years long.”The Trojans held a final walkthrough Tuesday afternoon before getting on the plane. That practice concluded a two-week preparation experience for the team, and coach Lane Kiffin can understand if players’ minds were already in Hawaii during yesterday’s practice.“I think that we started this thing so early,” Kiffin said. “Last week we went through a whole Hawai’i week — Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday practices — and we did it again this week so this was their second Thursday practice in a row. They weren’t right [last week], they were very comfortable and weren’t very crisp. That’s how you get beat.”For Kiffin, pretty much the only thing that he has yet to see for the season opener is the opponent, but this has only contributed to his excitement about stepping on the field as USC’s head coach.“I’m most excited to get it going,” Kiffin said. “It’s kind of different than I pictured it because of everything we’ve gone through since [I accepted the job] but it’s a lot of relief.”For the players, this ends one of the most mentally tough camps they have been a part of. Because of the limited numbers on the team, Kiffin and his staff tightly controlled the physical aspect of fall camp and instead gave the players a lot more time in the weight and media rooms.“This was definitely mentally tougher than last year,” Barkley said. “We didn’t do as much hitting or running as last year but the mental load challenged a lot of guys, and I think it was really important to building us as a team.”Barkley said the team watched Matt Leinart’s performance against Hawai’i when the Trojans won 63-17 in 2005 and gained some tips from that. But because USC hasn’t had much full-speed game experience this year, the Trojans hope they can execute everything on the field that they haven’t been able to during camp because of small numbers.“Some of the question marks revolve around just playing well: tackling on defense, not turning the ball over on offense and not trying to do too much because of anticipation that this game is finally here,” Kiffin said.Barkley has repeatedly stated that this is a business trip. He believes the team is prepared for this game and is confident his teammates won’t get distracted in Hawaii.“I’m confident they’ll have their heads down and not do anything crazy,” Barkley said. “We’re on a pretty tight schedule. Friday will be the time to celebrate after the game.”last_img read more

Home sales plunge again

first_imgThe August average is 28,160 sales. “It looks like we’re pretty close to a floor level of purchase activity right now. Market uncertainty has squeezed out most discretionary buying,” DataQuick President Marshall Prentice said. August’s median price increased an annual 2.7 percent to $500,000, but slipped 1 percent from July. In Los Angeles County, sales fell an annual 34.4 percent to 6,647 transactions, but the median price increased 5.8 percent to $550,000. The price gain reflects more sales at the higher-priced end of the market. After correcting for those price distortions, DataQuick said that in real terms, prices across the region started falling in January and are now about 3.5 percent under the year-ago level. In Ventura County, the median price fell an annual 4.7 percent to $575,000 and sales declined 31.2 percent, to 789 transactions. Riverside and San Bernardino counties, hard hit by rising foreclosures, posted the biggest sales drop in August. Home sales plunged across Southern California to their lowest level in 15 years and prices declined in all but two markets as the nation’s growing credit mess bogged down more buyers, sellers and lenders, an industry tracker said Wednesday. The big Los Angeles County market also saw a steep sales drop, but it did post the region’s biggest price gain, according to DataQuick Information Systems. Last month, sales in the six-county region plunged 36.3 percent to 17,755 transactions and slipped 0.6 percent from July, the La Jolla-based company said. That’s the smallest number of sales for any August since 1992, when 16,379 homes sold, the lowest for any August in DataQuick’s statistics, which go back to 1988. The strongest August was in 2003, when 39,562 homes sold. In San Bernardino, sales plunged 47.2percent to 2,096 transactions, and the median price fell 1.6 percent, to $360,000. In Riverside, sales tumbled 46.4 percent to 2,834 transactions, and the median fell an annual 6.1 percent to $394,523. Foreclosure resales accounted for 8.8percent of August’s sales activity, up from 8.3 percent in July, and up from 2.2percent in August of last year. Foreclosures do not yet have a marketwide effect on prices, although foreclosure discounts appear to be emerging in some local Inland Empire and High Desert markets, DataQuick said. DataQuick analyst John Karevoll said sales will remain low for the next six months, or maybe longer, and that prices will fall in most areas. The big question now is how much equity will be retained in the runaway price environment of the first half of this decade. “Do we keep 90 percent or 80 percent of of that?” Karevoll said. “For the vast majority of California homeowners, that’s a pretty good problem to have.” greg.wilcox@dailynews.com (818) 713-3743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more