I have heard so many stories about restaurant or food service workers who are sick with vomiting or diarrhea and are still preparing food for others. Sometimes they are not allowed to call off. Sometimes they work anyway because they need the money. Sometimes managers know they are sick but won't let them go home. It all makes me afraid to eat out! If you recall, the once extremely popular Chipotle restaurants had a worker sick with norovirus who contaminated people's food and started an outbreak! Chipotle's business has never recovered from that mess. It isn't just about business and money. These workers and managers might not realize that what is an ordinary stomach bug to them, can KILL some people? People with compromised immune systems, young children, and the elderly are more likely to DIE from a stomach bug. So, there is no excuse for working in food service if you have a stomach bug. If you don't have enough workers for your restaurant, CLOSE IT for the rest of the day.
If you know of a sick food service worker, you should first try to convince them to go home. If they won't listen to you and you are are 100% sure that they are sick, you can call the restaurant owner and tell them what is going on. Some fast food chains have hotlines you can call. You can also call the local county health department and tell them.
Another option is to to tell ME. If you can give me the person's name and email address, I'll send them a message with educational facts about stomach bugs and how they shouldn't be preparing food for others when they are sick. I will never mention that YOU told me about it or gave me their email.
--Annie Pryor, Ph.D. Biochemistry,
Author of the Stop the Stomach Flu website