Thursday, May 7, 2009

Restaurant association to offer more flu resources

The National Restaurant Association will post a "tool kit" of resources on its website in the next 24 hours to help restaurateurs deal with the swine flu, a representative said this afternoon during a webinar on the epidemic. 

He did not provide details.

The association's website is It also has a special page set up to provide information about the flu. 

The webinar also revealed that hand sanitizers can be an effective way of killing the swine-flu virus on hands, provided at least 60% of the type being used consists of ethanol. 

Bruce Cords, an infectious disease expert for webinar sponsor Ecolab, also noted that differentiating between swine flu and other forms of flu may become important when restaurants have to decide when to allow a recovered employee back to work. Viruses like norovirus can presumably last a lot longer and pose more of a risk. 

Among the other interesting tidbits:

--Encourage guests and employees to avoid a recontamination while washing their hands by leaving the water running. The hand washer should grab a paper towel, thoroughly dry his or her hands, and then use the towel to clean off the faucet.

--The swine flu virus only survives on hands for about five minutes.

--However, hard surfaces like kitchen counters can harbor the virus for up to 48 hours, and can be spread to hands on contact for 24 hours.

--The virus almost certainly cannot be spread via the surfaces of foods, like melons from Mexico, because it doesn't survive that long on porous surfaces.

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