Eating Out? Spooky Scary Truths About Your Favorite Franchise Food
Do you know where restaurant chain and franchise food grows? Do you know how this food is harvested, packaged, shipped and stored? Several recent outbreaks of Salmonella, E. coli and hepatitis A bring good reason to take a deeper look into the food safety and handling practices of large chain restaurants.
Within the past six years, the increase in foodborne illness outbreaks caused by the mishandling of foodstuffs has occurred at at least three well-known restaurant franchises:
- Subway restaurants in 28 Illinois counties were linked to 109 confirmed Salmonella illnesses; 2010.
- Chipotle Mexican Grill was linked to E. coli outbreaks in Minnesota, California, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, Kentucky, Oregon and Delaware. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 55 people were infected in the initial outbreak. The CDC notes, “a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants was a likely source of both outbreaks.” However, the investigation did not identify a specific food or ingredient linked to the outbreak. Most speculate that Australian beef caused the contamination; 2015.
- Tropical Smoothie Café has been linked to 70 cases of hepatitis A in Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Investigators traced the source of the hepatitis A virus to frozen strawberries imported from Egypt; 2016.
Countries outside of the U.S. may not have the same stringent requirements for harvesting and packaging procedures like many U.S. suppliers. Patagonia Foods, a frozen fruit supplier based out of San Luis Obispo, works in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices and USDA and FDA regulations. In Northern Nevada, local franchise Keva Juice works with Patagonia Foods to ensure that produce is safe for consumption. Before you head to a restaurant chain or franchise, take a moment to learn about where their food is coming from – you may find some very valuable, and eye-opening, information!
Tropical Smoothie: www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/outbreaks/2016/hav-strawberries.htm