Restaurant Food Safety Findings in Plain Language

Read food safety study findings and recommendations on policies and practices to reduce foodborne illness in restaurants, banquet facilities, schools, and other institutions.

Studies on Three Priority Areas Affecting Foodborne Illness in Restaurants

According to CDC’s Prevention Status Reports, these areas are especially important in reducing norovirus and other causes of illness in restaurants and other retail food establishments.

Sick Workers
Hand Hygiene
Food worker washing hands over a kitchen sink.

Bare hand contact by a food worker is a contributing factor in about 1 of every 4 restaurant-related outbreaks.

Food Worker Handwashing in Restaurants: Key Takeaways from 4 Food Safety Reports

Studies on Restaurant Practices Linked to Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

It is important to learn more about food worker practices. This can help us find ways to reduce risky practices.

Date Marking
Large walk in refrigerator with steel shelves in a restaurant.

We found that almost 1 in 4 restaurants did not label their refrigerated and ready-to-eat foods with dates indicating when the food is no longer safe to eat.

Date Marking and Restaurant Practices: Key Takeaways from Our Research

Food Cooling
Chef carrying a cooling pan with food in it.

Many outbreaks of foodborne illness in restaurants were caused by hot food cooled too slowly.

Food Cooling Practice Improvements: Key Takeaways from 3 Food Safety Reports

Food Safety Culture
Design graphic image of retail deli counter with customer purchasing some sliced deli meats.

Learn the key components of a strong food safety culture in restaurants.

Restaurants and Food Safety Culture

Kitchen manager discussing a dish with a chef.

Food workers often do not handle food safely. What affects their practices?

Factors Affecting Safe Food Preparation by Food Workers and Managers

Food Safety Practices of Restaurant Workers

Retail Delis
Design graphic image of retail deli counter with customer purchasing some sliced deli meats.

Sliced deli meats are at higher risk of Listeria, which causes the third highest number of foodborne illness deaths in the United States each year.

Retail Delis Can Address Gaps in Food Safety: Key Takeaways from 5 Scientific Articles

Restaurant Inspections
Sign with the letter A

Studies found posting health department restaurant inspection scores at restaurants and using letter grades for restaurant inspection results are linked with fewer foodborne outbreaks and could lead to safer restaurants.

Outbreak Rates and Restaurant Inspection Practices

Studies on Foods Linked to Foodborne Illness Outbreaks in Restaurants

Germs found in some foods can make you sick if you don’t kill the germs by cooking the food. These germs can also make you sick if they get into other foods that aren’t then cooked.

Other Restaurant Food Safety Studies
Food Allergies
Photo of a sign that says Food Allergies.

1 in 3 people with food allergies have had a reaction in a restaurant.

Restaurants Can Reduce the Risk of Food Allergy Reactions

Illness Knowledge
Two couples enjoying a meal in a restaurant.

Foodborne illnesses are common, and restaurants are one source of them. But how much do people know about foodborne illness?

Beliefs That Restaurant Meals Made People Sick

Food Code
book cover with FDA on it.

States that adopted key provisions from the FDA Food Code had lower rates of foodborne norovirus outbreaks. Learn more about these provisions for restaurants, delis, caterers, and others.

Adoption of Food Code Provisions Is Linked to Lower Rates of Foodborne Norovirus Outbreaks

Photo of a woman inspecting a dish and taking food temperatures of it.

Investigations of foodborne illness outbreaks are critical to preventing future ones, but they don’t always give enough information.

How Environmental Health Specialists Investigate Outbreaks

Food Safety Differences Between Restaurants Linked and Not Linked to Outbreaks

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What Is EHS-Net?

These studies were conducted by the Environmental Health Specialists Network (EHS-Net). EHS-Net is a federally funded collaboration of federal, state, and local environmental health specialists and epidemiologists working to better understand the environmental causes of foodborne illness. We seek to improve public health and industry policies and practices to reduce foodborne illness in restaurants, banquet facilities, schools, and other institutions.