Establishments that produce food for the public are routinely inspected by governmental agencies to assure that food is safely prepared and served. Inspections are conducted using a food code to evaluate the conditions found during the inspections. Missouri has adopted a retail food code based on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 2009-model food code as the minimum standard for food establishments that serve food directly to the end consumer. Some Local Public Health Agencies (LPHA) have the authority to adopt stricter versions of a food code and some have done so with the adoption of a local ordinance. The Department’s Manufactured Food Program operates under sections of the Code of State Regulations (CSR) that are based on the appropriate sections of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) used by the FDA. More detailed information on regulations can be found on the industry page of this site.
Retail food establishment owners and managers use the retail food code as a reference standard for their daily operations. Chapter 2 of the code specifically deals with the requirements for managers and personnel for health and hygiene in the establishment. The person in charge of the establishment with an ill employee works with their regulatory official to assure that the proper course of action is taken. An employee must report to their employer symptoms such vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, sore throat with fever, and lesions with pus on the hands. Employees must also report to their supervisor when they are diagnosed with an illness caused by one of the five disease-causing organisms in the following list: Norovirus, Salmonella Typhimurium, shiga toxin-producing (STEC) Escherichia coli, Shigella and Hepatitis A. Section 2-2 of the food code focuses on the requirements that the operators and employees of all food establishments must comply with. Compliance with these sections will reduce the likelihood that illnesses will be transferred to customers by foods contaminated during preparation and service. The methods that are used to control the risks vary based on the duties, illnesses and/or symptoms of the ill individual. Ill employees must be evaluated to determine if they need to have their duties restricted or they should be excluded from the establishment. The decisions to restrict or exclude employees depend on many things. They can be based on factors that can include whether the employee: exhibits symptoms of an illness that could be transmitted through food, has been a diagnosed with an illness but no longer exhibits symptoms, has been diagnosed with an illness but never developed the symptoms or, has been exposed to an illness of concern by close contact with a diagnosed case. This structured approach to dealing with employee illness assures that every action is taken to provide safe food and protect public health.
Reinstatement is the process by which the person-in-charge and the regulatory agency remove the exclusion or restriction. The food code clearly outlines what must occur before the ill individual can resume their normal duties. The Department or LPHA should be consulted on reinstatements of these individuals.