Food Services Solutions Articles

Foodborne Illness: a Practical guide for reporting, restriction, and exclusion of sick employees (Part 2; Diagnosed foodborne illnesses)

provecho fss healthy living foodborne illness

There are 5 foodborne illnesses that are considered highly infections since they can be infected in low doses and they typically produce hundreds of thousands of pathogens in the feces of infected individuals. The common symptoms are diarrhea and/of vomiting. These are the big 5 foodborne pathogens by the FDA:

  • -Norovirus;
  • -Salmonella Typhi (typhoid-like fever);
  • -E. coli O157:H7, Enterohemorrhagic or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli;
  • -Shigella spp. (causes shigellosis); and
  • -Hepatitis A virus (usually showing jaundice).

Employees are prohibited to work if they are diagnosed with a foodborne illness until a medical professional allows them to get back to work. They are also required to report to management any exposure to these pathogens. This includes sharing a home with someone diagnosed with a foodborne illness, work, or have eaten at a place where a foodborne illness outbreak happened.  

The PIC (Person in Charge) must restrict food employees when exposed to:

  • -Norovirus, for at least 48 hours from the time of exposure;
  • -Shigella spp. or E. coli O157:H7, for at least 3 days from exposure;
  • -Salmonella Typhi, for at least 14 days from exposure; or
  • -Hepatitis A virus, until after training has been given about symptoms, the use of bare hand contact with RTE food to avoid contamination, proper handwashing, or until at least 30 days from the initial exposure.

The regulatory authority and the PIC have the authority to exclude or restrict a food employee from a food establishment to prevent the transmission of foodborne illness. Please refer to the decision tables linked on the additional resources for specific sickness and symptoms.

Additional resources: