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Subpart B - Employee Health

Healthy food workers are one of the most important ingredients in foodborne illness prevention. Even with strong food safety practices, ill food employees may unintentionally spread illness if they work while sick.

To protect public health, ill food employees must either be restricted from certain food handling activities or excluded from working in food establishments.

Employee Illness
According to the Food Code, employees must notify their supervisor or the Person in Charge (PIC) if they have:
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat with fever, or jaundice; or
  • Lesions containing pus such as a boil or infected wound that is open or draining and is on the hands, wrists, exposed portions of the arms or on other parts of the body; or
  • Hepatitis A virus; or
  • Salmonella Typhi (Typhoid Fever); or
  • Shigella; or
  • Enterohemorrhagic or Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli.

In addition to the items listed above, a food employee that works in a food establishment serving a Highly Susceptible Population, must report to the PIC if they:

  • Have been diagnosed with Norovirus or any other form of Salmonella; or
  • Have consumed or prepared food implicated in a confirmed disease outbreak; or
  • Have attended or worked in a setting where there is a confirmed disease outbreak; or
  • Live in the same household as someone who works at or attended a setting where there is a confirmed disease outbreak; or
  • Live in the same household as or have consumed food prepared by a person who is infected or ill with:
    • Enterohemorrhagic or Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli; or
    • Shigella; or
    • Salmonella Typhi (Typhoid Fever); or
    • Hepatitis A virus or jaundice.
Notifying the Health Officer and Health Department

The PIC must notify the local health department and the health officer when a food employee is diagnosed with:

  • Enterohemorrhagic or Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli; or
  • Shigella; or
  • Salmonella Typhi (Typhoid Fever); or
  • Hepatitis A virus or jaundice; or
  • Norovirus or any other form of Salmonella (food employees working with Highly Susceptible Populations).
Excluding Ill Employees

The PIC should exclude any food employee who is known to have:

  • Diarrhea or vomiting; or
  • Jaundice; or
  • A diagnosed of:
    • Enterohemorrhagic or Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli; or
    • Shigella; or
    • Salmonella Typhi (Typhoid Fever); or
    • Hepatitis A virus or jaundice
  • A sore throat with fever; or
  • Norovirus or any other form of Salmonella (food employees working with Highly Susceptible Populations); or
  • A previous infection with Salmonella Typi within the past 3 months without having antibiotic therapy.

Some illnesses (such as the ones listed above) require the regulatory authority to exclude the ill employees from working in the establishment until medically cleared. If a facility has different sections (such as in a department store) the employee that is excluded from food service may be permitted to work in an area that is away from food preparation, service, or storage areas.

However, a food employee with a symptom of gastrointestinal illness, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or jaundice, may work in a food establishment without special restriction, provided that the food employee furnishes written medical documentation to the health department from a health practitioner that the symptom is due to a medical condition not transmissible through food, such as Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, or hepatitis C.

Diseases Transmitted Through Food
For more information on illnesses transmitted through food, please visit: FDA Food Safety. Some common illnesses are: Norovirus, Hepatitis A, Salmonella, Shigella, Staph. Aureus, and certain types of E.Coli.

Certain medical conditions, such as Crohn’s Disease, Hepatitis C and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, can cause gastrointestinal symptoms that do not spread illness.  If an employee with these conditions provides medical documentation to the regulatory authority, the employee may work in food service without special restriction.

         
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