City of St. Louis Department of Health Receives Award to Improve Food Safety in City
Unfortunately, Norovirus, Salmonella, Staphylococci, E. coli, and Listeria are names we know all too well. These are some of the known germs that cause illness after consuming certain foods. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that of the 31 best known foodborne disease pathogens found in food consumed in the United States, 9.4 million illnesses, 55,961 hospitalizations and 1,351 deaths occur each year.
“The St. Louis Department of Health’s Food and Beverage Control Program (DOH) works to minimize the risk of unsafe food in the community and to empower individuals with accurate and timely information to make informed food consumption decisions,” said Dr. Patrick Naabien. Food and Beverage Control Manager for the St. Louis Department of Health. “A key goal of our program is to identify potential foodborne disease outbreaks by investigating outbreaks as they occur to control them and limit the number of other people who get sick during the outbreak. Thanks to some recently received funding, DOH will be able to evaluate a resource that could help improve food safety efforts in the city. The funding will help the ministry advance its commitment to protecting public health by improving the quality and performance of services to our residents and visitors. “
DOH received an award from the National Environmental Health Association and the CDC in support of their food and beverage control program. The Department of Health will use the funds to determine whether the National Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS) is a good fit with the Department’s food safety program.
“The CDC recommends using NEARS to improve food safety in the United States,” says Dr. Naabia. “The data collected by the system can be used in outbreak investigations and routinely on a day-to-day basis in issuing permits and inspecting food service companies. NEARS can be an important resource in preventing foodborne disease outbreaks. “
DOH will use the recently granted funding to assess whether NEARS data can help identify environmental causes of outbreaks in the city, take follow-up action to reduce or prevent future outbreaks of foodborne disease, assess the ministry’s food safety program, and make improvements Based on these actions, establish policies, develop or change program policies or regulations, focus limited program resources on actions with the greatest impact, and adhere to the standards of the Food and Drug Administration’s Retail Food Program. There are currently 23 local jurisdictions in the United States using the system.