Tips for preventing the spread of this illness include:
- Proper handwashing, which includes wetting the hands, using soap and rubbing hands briskly under warm running water for the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice and then rinsing with warm water. Times to wash the hands include before handling food, before eating, when hands are dirty, after using the bathroom and after changing a diaper and after handling animals.
- Do not handle food if you are sick. Be especially careful when handling food for young children, people with weak immune systems and the elderly.
- Supervise small children when they wash their hands, to assure they are washing.
- Food service workers should not handle ready-to-eat foods with bare hands: they should use an utensil, deli paper or other device.
- Vaccinations. Some governmental jurisdictions have adopted additional requirements for food service workers. These workers are required to maintain proof of an acceptable vaccination for Hepatitis A virus.
- Proper cleaning of hands and food contact surfaces such as cutting boards, utensils and countertops.
- Proper cooking of foods. Foods that require cooking need to be cooked to the appropriate temperatures. Check internal temperatures of foods with a probe thermometer to assure food is safely cooked.
- Proper cooling of foods. Hot food can be rapidly chilled in an ice or cold water bath before refrigerating. A large pot of food like soup or stew should be divided into small portions and put in shallow containers before being refrigerated. A large cut of meat or whole poultry should be divided into smaller pieces or placed in shallow containers before refrigerating. Quickly cool cooked foods that are to be kept as leftovers. (Don’t let foods sit on the counter or out at room temperature longer than two hours. Maintain foods at 41°F. or below.
- Separation of raw meats from ready-to-eat foods and cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination. Store raw meats separately and always below ready-to-eat foods like fruits and vegetables.
- Maintaining cold foods at 41°F or below and hot foods at 135°F.
- Avoid drinking or swallowing untreated water like when swimming in a pond or lake.
- Dispose of dirty diapers properly in a closed lid garbage can and immediately wash your hands.