National Food Safety Month (NFSM), also known as National Food Safety Education Month, is celebrated during September. This year, the theme ‘Notorious Virus,’ focuses on preventing the spread of Norovirus and other foodborne-related illnesses. In support of NFSM, Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH) wants to encourage residents to become aware of better food safety practices and ways to prevent foodborne illnesses.

Each year in the United States food-related sickness affects 48 million Americans, results in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, and costs the national economy an average of $15.6 million, according to the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). Thorough hand washing is one of the best ways that residents can prevent the spread of Norovirus, a common foodborne-related illness that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can affect anyone and causes inflammation of the stomach, intestines or both.

CDPH works year round to reverse these consequences by routinely inspecting restaurants in Cobb and Douglas counties, providing education on better food safety practices directly to restaurant owners, managers and staff, and through monthly articles on the “Environmental Health Food Blog.”

In addition to communicating local food safety issues through the blog, the “Food Safety Partnership Panel” is an innovative television program that enhances food safety practices beyond regulatory requirements and strengthens CDPH’s partnership with the food service industry and community. Each episode’s panel consists of one or more representatives from the food service industry, a consumer that resides within the community, and a CDPH Environmental Health Manager, who serves as the host.  The videos are available on the Environmental Health page at cobbanddouglaspublichealth.com, on the CDPH Vimeo channel at vimeo.com/cdphga, and are periodically shown on Cobb-TV 23 and Douglas-TV 23.

For any concerns about food safety in Cobb or Douglas counties, contact CDPH’s Center for Environmental Health at 770-435-7815.