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NC Division of Public Health
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Diseases & Topics

Community-Associated MRSA

Managing CA-MRSA in Food Service Establishments

N.C. Public Health Recommendations

Occasionally, Communicable Disease epidemiologists are asked to provide recommendations about MRSA infections in food service workers. MRSA is not considered a food-borne infection. However, Staph and other microbial contamination of food can occur if a person with draining lesions on the hands or forearms handles foods or food contact surfaces. Exclusion from work in food service is warranted in situations when it is likely that the person could contaminate the food or transmit the illness to other persons.

Control Measures

Exclusion from work is warranted for persons who meet the following two conditions—regardless of whether infection with MRSA is documented:

  • Draining lesions present on hands and forearms, AND
  • Handles foods or food contact surfaces.

Besides exclusion, it is worth recalling important prevention and control measures required of all employees who handle foods or food contact surfaces:

  • All employees shall wear clean outer clothing and shall be clean as to their person and methods of food handling.
  • Employees shall wash hands thoroughly… before starting work, after each visit to the toilet, and as often as may be necessary to remove soil and contamination.

For Additional Information