Sickies should stay home

Over the past couple of weeks my kids have had pink eye and either rotovirus or norovirus. It’s been a mess. We had to miss a couple get togethers including a birthday party. The boys weren’t feeling all that bad but we didn’t really want to expose other kids to the pathogens. My friend, whose daughter’s party we missed, thanked usfor keeping our kids away and reducing their risk of dealing with the same illnesses.

According to WDIO, Minnesota Department of Health investigators believe that 60 patrons of the Greysolon Ballroom in Duluth, MN who came down with norovirus in early December can blame an ill food handler.

Doug Schultz, a spokesperson for the agency, said those folks had the Norovirus, which was probably transferred to the food by a sick worker. He said there is no evidence anyone else has gotten sick since.

We spoke with Sean Stepan, a Greysolon Ballroom spokesperson, last month. He told us they hadn’t had any parties cancel reservations, and had not seen a decline in business. Stepan said customers did ask questions about whether they should have any concerns, but offered their support.

Having a food safety culture where an ill staff member shows up and prepares food isn’t the type of place I want to eat.

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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.