What do you do if someone pukes at your restaurant or event?

Clean it up.  That’s the easy answer.

Exactly how is another question.  After Amy’s story of one of her students yacking in class, we started tossing around that question and using norovirus outbreaks at Georgetown and USC as hooks. Mayra and I decided to build a food safety infosheet around it.  After reviewing available guidelines from regulators and peer-reviewed research publications, we came up with some steps for cleaning up vomit. 

We based our recommedations on a norovirus-induced vomit (because aerosolized spread of virus particles is likely). 

If you are looking for a cool paper on vomit, check out: Evidence for airborne transmission of Norwalk-like virus (NLV) in a hotel restaurant (Epidemiology and Infection, 2000. 124:481-487), which discusses the spread of post-vomit norovirus (abstract is here).

A pdf of the vomit cleanup food safety infosheet can be found here.

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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.