January 31, 1995
STRICTER RESTAURANT REGULATIONS PROPOSED TO COMBAT FOODBORNE ILLNESSES
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- To help protect consumers from the threat of foodborne illnesses, the Illinois Department of Public Health has proposed stricter regulations for restaurants and other retail food outlets on how food should be handled and cooked.
Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, said the potential for foodborne illness from improperly handled, stored or prepared food and the health risks to persons particularly vulnerable to foodborne bacteria prompted the revisions in the Illinois Food Service Sanitation Code and Retail Food Store Sanitation Code.
Key provisions of the proposed changes include --
The proposed changes are based on the recommended U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Food Code and have been published in the Illinois Register. Public comment will be collected until March 6, followed by a review by the Illinois General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. The new regulations are expected to be effective this summer.
While the new rules are under review, the Department has encouraged local health departments to educate retail food store and food service operators of the changes and to immediately promote voluntary compliance.
Dr. Lumpkin said thousands of Illinoisans suffer from foodborne illnesses each year and some are more likely to become seriously ill or die, generally because their immune systems are weakened or not fully developed and cannot fight off the bacteria.
"It is important for all of us to know about food safety," Dr. Lumpkin said. "But it is especially important for people who are particularly vulnerable to foodborne disease."
Dr. Lumpkin said at-risk individuals should not eat raw animal foods or partially cooked foods because they may contain parasites and bacteria that could cause illnesses such as salmonellosis, hemorrhagic colitis and listeriosis.
To be avoided are raw foods--such as marinated fish, oysters, clams and steak tartare--or partially cooked foods--such as lightly cooked fish, rare meat and soft cooked eggs--and foods made with raw or undercooked eggs, such as Caesar salad, chocolate mousse or egg nog.
Dr. Lumpkin said consumers should not rely on smell or appearance to determine if food is bad because harmful bacteria and parasites most often do not smell or appear bad. He said thorough cooking or pasteurizing food from animals, prevention of cross contamination and proper handling of food will prevent most foodborne illness problems.
Foodborne illness can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever or cramps; symptoms most often appear within a few hours to two days after eating contaminated food.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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