If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or need help, call 988 or message the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. For the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline, call 1-800-931-2237.
Illness from Salmonella bacteria usually occurs within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food and usually lasts four to seven days. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Young kids, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections. You can check if your flour is included in the recall list here. If you have recalled products, throw them away. As a reminder, raw flour is a very common source of salmonella infections - when they tell you not to eat raw cookie dough, flour is actually a major concern, not just raw eggs! Wash your hands, utensils, and counters after contact with flour or raw batter.
In general, for major foodborne infectious diseases like Salmonella, E.coli, Listeria, and other similar illnesses, we recommend requiring two negative stool samples at least 24 hours apart in order for the sick employee to return to work. This is consistent with what most health departments require when they get involved in cases, which is relatively common with Salmonella since it’s a national reportable illness, meaning that labs are required to notify the local health department when someone tests positive. In addition to the two negative tests, we generally require a doctor’s note and verbal confirmation from the employee that they’re symptom-free. While these sound like a lot of hoops to jump through, it’s important to do your due diligence to ensure that an employee with a confirmed infectious disease is cleared to work, especially in a food handling position.
Whether you need a full decontamination will likely depend on the type of drug used and the severity of the issue. If there’s any kind of needle or syringe, you should follow safe needle disposal procedures to ensure no employees get stuck. Your company should have OSHA-mandated needlestick disposal procedures. In some states, if a room tests positive for over a set “acceptable limit” for an illicit drug, like meth or fentanyl, you’re required to do a full decontamination, which usually means bringing in an outside professional cleaning company that’s certified in hazardous waste removal and clean-up. Most of these guidelines are aimed at labs where drugs are produced, not properties where they’re consumed, so you’ll need to check local regulations to determine if professional decontamination is needed. In the majority of cases where it’s not required by law, make sure your team is prepared if they’re cleaning up after drug use. Be sure they wear gloves, have a proper container for hazardous waste, and consider a face mask and eye protection, especially if the drug is in powdered form. If you have a contract with an outside cleaning service, give them a call to see what services they offer. Create a clear policy about cleaning and decontaminating after drug use, what to do if needles and other drug paraphernalia are found, and when to call a manager or outside experts for help.