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Handling Practices of Fresh Leafy Greens in Restaurants: Receiving and Training†
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    Multiple foodborne illness outbreaks have been associated with the consumption of fresh produce. Investigations have indicated that microbial contamination throughout the farm-to-fork continuum often contributed to these outbreaks. Researchers have hypothesized that handling practices for leafy greens in restaurants may support contamination by and proliferation and amplification of pathogens that cause foodborne illness outbreaks. However, limited data are available on how workers handle leafy greens in restaurants. The purpose of this study was to collect descriptive data on handling practices of leafy greens in restaurants, including restaurant characteristics, types of leafy greens used, produce receipt, and food safety training and certification. As a federal collaborative partner with the Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that EHS-Net participants survey handling practices for leafy greens in restaurants. The recommendations in the FDA's Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Leafy Greens are significant to this study for comparison of the results. The survey revealed that appropriate handling procedures assist in the mitigation of other unsafe handling practices for leafy greens. These results are significant because the FDA guidance for the safe handling of leafy greens was not available until 2009, after the survey had been completed. The information provided from this study can be used to promote additional efforts that will assist in developing interventions to prevent future foodborne illness outbreaks associated with leafy greens.

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