UPDATED: Coverage of Wednesday activities added
The Norovirus Summit III picked up where last week’s Conference For Food Protection left off. Presentations and workshops took on the Norovirus challenge from beating back biofilms to data-driven hand washing systems.
This workshop was part of the second annual combined meeting between the Nevada Foodservice and the Nevada Environmental Health Association.
The audience was split evenly between members of the Southern Nevada Health District and representatives from casinos, restaurants and schools. All strongly agreed on the importance of hand washing in foodservice but differed on execution.
Inspectors were skeptical about operators’ willingness to invest in hand washing. Operators were concerned about being cited by inspectors when documented compliance was less than perfect.
Inspectors expressed a desire that electronic, data-driven solutions be designed to retain the human elements involved in developing and maintaining critical operator-inspector relationships.
Demonstrations of new wireless electronic technologies in a working casino kitchen dispelled many preconceptions. Actual hand washing data fills an important gap in Active Managerial Control (AMC).
The Handwashing For Life Institute is pursuing a collaboration among Southern Nevada Health, the Nevada Foodservice Task Force and a facility in Las Vegas willing to invest in an “an electronic hand wash coaching/performance system.” This would serve Las Vegas and the country as a hand hygiene innovation center. Discussions are ongoing.
Wednesday activities: 5-star Las Vegas norovirus control
The final day of the Nevada Food Safety Task Force meeting at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas included a review of the work product from the teams that attempted to specify norovirus-free operations.
Teams of seven food safety professionals became mock restaurant entrepreneurs preparing to build and operate a new facility in Las Vegas. These investors had a low tolerance of risk and a high priority of public safety and the protection of their valued brands.
Each team first named their restaurant to help get the creative juices flowing. Three of the winners played on pathogen names: “Sam ’n Ella’s,” “No Mo No Ro” and “The Norwalk Cafe.”
The teams’ new knowledge about norovirus was translated into aggressive use of technology and measurements to fuel sustainable HACCP plans and Active Management Control.
“What gets rewarded gets done” summarized the positive positioning for hand washing verification systems. Teams chose among the four technologies which were presented. Some preferred options which individually identified staff members while others were attracted to the team approach.
Time will tell if Wednesday’s buzz about systems that motivate and verify hand washing will convert to investments which will make Las Vegas an even stronger leader in food safety.
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