Re: Do Hepatitis C Infected People Belong in the Food Preparation Business??

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Posted by Michael Bock on April 13, 2001 at 14:24:54:

In Reply to: Do Hepatitis C Infected People Belong in the Food Preparation Business?? posted by CoonAss Chef on December 26, 2000 at 16:04:14:

: Having recently moved to the Midwest, I was quite surprised with the strict health department. Never before had I heard of being 'gigged' for having bread on display in a European Bakery. Knowing this, I felt that the health dept. would see a life threating disease as a hazard to the general public & co-workers. Apparently not. Granted, when Universal Health Precautions are used the risk is very minimal. My fellow worker who has known for over 6 months that he has this almost always fatal disease DOES NOT use these precautions. He has not been vaccinated for Hepatitis A which is Food Borne, does NOT wear gloves or wash his hands on a regular basis. In fact, in 3 months of my tenure at this restaurant I have not seen him wash his hands EVER! Yet I have seen him cut his finger & his palm which were not tiny paper cuts.
: My PASSION has always been Creating new & unusual tasting dishes. My degree in Nursing & in Culinary Arts have given me a very deep awareness of the potential risks involved in the preparation of food whether in a restaurant or a private home. I spoke to management about my concerns & 'GEE REN, WUNDER WHAT HAPPENED???' The schedule for the following week was posted & I had No Hours. HMMMM
: I don't feel my concerns are unwarrented. I wish no harm to my co-worker nor do I think he should be fired for being an unfortunate victim of such a hideous disease. Yet I feel people with communicable diseases need to practice safe work habits as we all should.
: I'd like to hear the thoughts & opinions of others in the Food Industry.

I feel that proper food saftey and sanitation is of paramount importance. I also believe that it is not brain surgery nor should it be. The vast majority (if not all) outbreaks of food borne illnesses are not only preventable but EASILY preventable. Attention to detail, proper training and implementation of sound, well-thought-out saftey procedures should do the trick. Having said that, I do not understand a few things in your post. You say that Hep C is almost always fatal. Then who is this guy walking around and working who has had it for 6 months?! Is he part of the walking dead?! In the words of Keith Richards, maybe he should see a doctor. Secondly, there are some people who feel that all people working in the food industry should be vaccinated for Hep A. I strongly oppose this. Most foodborne Hep A comes from contaminated shellfish. So you want to force me to recieve a vaccination which strongly increases my chance contracting Hep A from the vaccine itself, violate my right to control what goes in my body all because there is an outside chance that the oyster beds off of Nova Scotia might be contaminated (something that only proper testing and regulation of oyster purveyors can control)and which the vaccination would be useless in preventing!!! I think not. Proper management is the key. Obviously, it is ludicrous (and illegal) for someone who has a communicable disease (of any kind) to work directly with food and it sickens my stomach that YOU would be reprimanded for calling to their attention. Of course this might force managers and owners to spend more on prevenitive health care, proper training, proper equipment etc. which would only benifit the public and restaurant employees and who wants that!!!

Keep the faith!

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