7 crucial tips to prevent cholera outbreak in restaurants

By Chinelo Obogo

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NDDC) recently revealed that from January 1 to June 11, 2024, there have been over 1,141 suspected and over 65 confirmed cases of cholera, resulting in over 30 deaths reported from 96 Local Government Areas in 30 states.

Daily Sun reports how the Lagos State Ministry of Health revealed that it has recorded 350 suspected cases of cholera in 29 wards across multiple LGAs with 17 confirmed cases and 15 fatalities attributed to severe dehydration caused by delayed presentation.

To prevent the spread of the disease, the Global Task Force on Cholera Control, an organisation which aims to reduce cholera deaths by 90%, revealed in its Appendix 15 on ‘Rules for safe preparation of food to prevent cholera’, how the disease can be prevented in restaurants. The GTFCC gave the following tips:

1. Cook raw foods thoroughly
Fish and vegetables are often contaminated with cholera bacteria. Therefore, heat all the parts of the food to at least 70°C. Do not eat uncooked foods unless they can be peeled or shelled.

2. Eat cooked foods immediately
When there is a delay between cooking and eating food, as when food is sold in restaurants or by street vendors, it should be kept over heat, at 60°C or more, until served.

3. Cover cooked foods and store carefully
If you must prepare foods in advance or want to keep leftovers, be sure to cool them to below 10°C as soon as possible and then cover and store them in a refrigerator or icebox below 10°C. Cooked foods that have been stored must be thoroughly reheated before eating. Foods for infants should be eaten immediately after being prepared, and should not be stored at all.

4. Avoid contact between raw and cooked foods
Safely cooked food can become contaminated through even the slightest contact with raw food (directly or indirectly through cutting surfaces or knife blades, for example).

5. Wash hands repeatedly
Wash hands thoroughly before preparing food and after every interruption — especially if you have to change or clean a baby or have used the toilet or latrine. After preparing raw foods such as fish or shellfish, wash your hands again before handling other foods.

6. Keep all kitchen surfaces clean
Since foods are so easily contaminated, any surface used for food preparation must be kept absolutely clean. Cloths used for washing or drying food, or for preparation of surfaces, dishes and utensils, should be changed every day and boiled before reuse. Separate cloths that are used for cleaning the floors also require daily washing.

7. Use safe water
Safe water is just as important for food preparation as it is for drinking.

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