Tips on Preparing Foods Safely – Part 2: Be Healthy and Wash Hands Properly to Prevent Norovirus

Norovirus is in the news again. Our goal is to keep it out of your foodservice operation.

Norovirus is the leading cause of disease outbreaks from contaminated food in the United States.

Ways to Prevent Norovirus:

Hand washing and being healthy are the most important steps in preventing Norovirus. Properly cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces also reduces the risk of Norovirus in your operation.

Hand washing Tips:

  • Food handlers should wash their hands:
    • before starting work,
    • before and after handling raw and ready to eat foods, and
    • after being interrupted from a food handling task or any other time hands are contaminated.
  • Food handlers should wash hands with soap and water carefully with warm water (100 degrees) using these steps:
    • wet hands and arms,
    • apply soap
    • scrub hands and arms vigorously for 10 -15 seconds, concentrating under fingernails,
    • rinse hands and arms thoroughly
    • dry hands and arms with a single use paper towel.

Healthy Workers are Key:

Your food handlers should not work if they have any symptoms of Norovirus.

Common symptoms of Norovirus include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Throwing up
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches


Symptoms can last between 24 and 48 hours. The Center for Disease Control states that the virus can stay in your stool for at least two weeks after you feel better.


This is part two in our summer series of blogs focusing on preparing food safely.

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