Restaurant association releases statement in response to CDC norovirus report
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Vital Signs report this week stating that most norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food occur in food service settings, CDC director Dr. Tom Friedan is quoted as saying, “Norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food in restaurants are far too common. All who prepare food, especially the food service industry, can do more to create a work environment that promotes food safety and ensures that workers adhere to food safety laws and regulations that are already in place.”
The report prompted the National Restaurant Association, the leading business association for the restaurant industry, to release the following statement:
“For the restaurant and foodservice industry, there is no greater priority than food safety and our customers’ and employees’ well-being,” said Scott DeFife, Executive Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, National Restaurant Association.
“The National Restaurant Association and foodservice operators take food safety very seriously. In its report, the CDC notes the demonstrated success of training and certification of kitchen managers in preventing norovirus outbreaks, which we support and encourage. Through the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe food preparation training program, over 5.6 million foodservice workers across the U.S. have been trained in the safe handling and serving of food. The program provides specific recommendations on ways to prevent norovirus, including proper hand washing and exclusion of sick employees.
“The National Restaurant Association supports the FDA Food Code, which also details these prevention measures, and we believe more states should move to fully adopt the FDA Food Code.
“In addition, the National Restaurant Association played an active and constructive role in developing the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) guidelines, released last year in partnership with state, local and federal public health officials and other industry stakeholders.
“We agree with many of CDC’s suggestions as to what can be done. However, we believe that some of the language is misleading and that norovirus is not common in the industry, as the report claims. The report shows that the overwhelming majority of norovirus outbreaks during the studied time period were non-foodborne. Restaurants serve 130 million meals each day, and while any instance is serious, there are very few instances of norovirus contamination.” For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page