Thursday, October 8, 2009


There was serious apprehension world over regarding the potential for the swine flu to cause immeasurable damage to the food sector, especially the catering segment. Though the H1N1 virus is not a threat in causing food infection as it is an air-borne contaminant working through the soft tissues in the nose and eyes, those infected can pass it to others through coughing or sneezing or the sputum and such infections can be more serious in closed or congested, air conditioned eating places. Hence the concern.

"The H1N1 virus has changed the normal concern over food safety when you eat out. Many people are now practicing caution. The Health Department is on the look-out as it makes regular restaurant inspections. Most facilities are small, very close contact, handling people's food and dishes. If they happen to blow their nose, touch their face then touch a dish or glass, something could be transferred."

Looking at the limited damage experienced so far, no major upheaval is expected, at least till the onset of winter when usual influenza epidemic runs through its course. In India the impact of H1N1 virus was not as feared though in some of the major metro areas it did cause limited damage in terms of human casualty. One of the off shoots of this pandemic has been the creation of greater awareness about personal hygiene, especially importance of hand washing, in avoiding viral infections.

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