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Tox Town - Environmental health concerns and toxic chemicals where you live, work, and play
Food Servicesen español

Why are food services a concern?

Food services include restaurants, delis, and companies that prepare food for others. Food service workers and the people they serve may be exposed to chemicals used in food processing, cooking, or storage or used in operating a facility. Basic food safety issues are also very important for public health.

Chemicals that may be used in maintaining a restaurant include bleach, household chemicals, and pesticides. Food service operations may use natural gas or propane as cooking fuels. Food processors may use sulfur dioxide as a food preservative for fruits and vegetables or use food packaging that contains phthalates.

Observing basic food safety and meeting health department standards are very important in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Workers need to follow good personal hygiene such as handwashing and not working when sick. Proper handling of food is also critical. Food handling safety issues include exposure to or eating of raw or undercooked foods, including raw shellfish that may be contaminated. Prepared food that has not been refrigerated for more than two hours may pose health risks. All food needs to be maintained at the proper cold or hot temperature and kitchen surfaces kept clean.

If smoking is allowed in a restaurant, exposure to second-hand smoke is a health issue for workers and customers.

Web Links from MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
Drinking Water
Food Allergy
Food Contamination and Poisoning
Food Safety

More Links
4 Ways to Make Safer Food Selections: Eating Out and Taking Out (Food and Drug Administration)
Teen Worker Safety in Restaurants (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

Chemicals and Food Services
Are these chemicals in MY environment?
Carbon Monoxide
Natural Gas

Last Updated: October 22, 2008

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