New International Food Safety Network Infosheet — Food safety at festivals and fairs

It’s fair and festival season.  For the past 25 years, the last weekend of July has marked the Hillside Festival, a weekend-long outdoors concert at Guelph Lake.  I’ve never been.  I’ve had lots of friends attend and have often felt like I’ve missed out on hearing some great bands.  Part of the reason is that I’m not a huge camping fan; it always seems to rain when I camp.  And then I whine to whomever I’m camping with.

Prior to an ultimate frisbee game on Monday night, I was warming up with a friend who attended this year’s installment of Hillside.  As we jogged she told me all about the weekend: The bands were great, but the best part of the weekend was the food.  She described a set-up where many local restaurants have temporary booths and were serving up selections of their normal menus to the hungry concert-goers. 

This conversation made me think about last year’s Salmonella outbreak linked to the Taste of Chicago.  Temporary kitchens can be problematic for the staff who work in them when it comes to controlling food safety risks.  Equipment may not be readily available, line-ups add to the time pressure, spaces can be cramped and handwashing sinks might be hard to access (or even find).

Coupling my conversation with a link that Doug came across about fair food safety in Wisconsin led to today’s infosheet, which can be downloaded here.

After the infosheet was created, Doug sent on another link about a Shigella outbreak in Oregon — which has been linked to visiting the Oregon County fair.  Depending on the information that follows in the upcoming days, maybe next week’s infosheet with focus on that outbreak.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.