Top Norovirus Food Prep Tips
Those who prepare food at home or work are most likely to spread norovirus and/or cause norovirus outbreaks. It is essential that everyone, but especially food preparers, understand what norovirus is and how to prevent it from spreading.
Here are the top norovirus safety tips to consider:
- Continue safety precautions even after symptoms have subsided, as the virus can still be spread days after you feel better.
- If you’re sick with vomiting or diarrhea, do not prepare meals for others. Wait at least two days after you’ve recovered before handling food for others.
- Wash your hands after you use the bathroom or change a diaper for at least 30 with hot water and soap. Washing them for one minute is preferable. Lather them up and wash them like you mean it; not casually. Get under those fingernails too, as germs love to hide there.
- Food preparers: Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and before touching food. Repeat: Wash your hands thoroughly with hot water for one minute before touching food.
- If soap is not available, you can use hand sanitizer, as it does reduce the number of germs, though hand sanitizer does not kill all germs and should not replace hand washing. In other words, don’t skimp on the thorough hand washing.
- Before serving or eating fresh fruit or vegetables, wash them thoroughly. Feel free to use a clean scrubber on them lightly.
- Cook shellfish like oysters thoroughly.
- Regularly clean and sanitize the kitchen, including counters, dishes, utensils, and other objects and surfaces in the kitchen.
- If you’ve vomited or had diarrhea, disinfect the area using a bleach-based cleaner. If you don’t have such a cleaner, you may make your own solution with 1 gallon of water to 5 tablespoons to 1.5 cups of bleach.
- If you use table cloths and napkins, wash them in hot water regularly.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you must, wash your hands thoroughly beforehand. If the norovirus germs are on your hands and you touch these, you’re most likely going to get sick.
- If it’s norovirus season (winter), and you want to eat out at a restaurant, choose foods that are well-cooked. The most common norovirus outbreak foods are raw foods like salad ingredients and shellfish.