Chicken, No Thanks! (Mississippi)
During a community audit, the dietitian noticed that there was chicken thawing in the sink in a stock pot. The water was turned off and the temperature of the chicken was 59°F. The food is in a dangerous place by being in the Temperature Danger Zone, which is 40-140°F. Food in this range will be more at risk for development of bacteria and other pathogens that could lead to a foodborne illness. When two or more people have a foodborne illness, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) consider it an outbreak and may send a team to investigate where the illness came from. If the community was in state survey, this would have been considered an immediate jeopardy and the community may have been at risk of admissions stop, fines, and potentially losing their operating license. In this instance, the chicken was discarded. The food and nutrition services department moved quickly and made menu substitutions for the chicken.
This situation could have had a much different outcome. It is important to have a comprehensive staff training program and to have a quality assurance program that proactively identifies problems. Staff turnover has continued to be a challenge and for that reason communities need to be sure that staff receive the right training in a timely manner.