About the Food Safety Summit
The Environmental Public Health (EPH) Division of Harris County Public Health (HCPH) ensures the integrity of the food supply within Harris County. The division oversees approximately 8,400 retail food establishments located within unincorporated areas of the county and the 23 cities without health departments. Retail food establishments include: restaurants, fast food outlets, grocery stores, convenience stores, bars, day care centers, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, bakeries, mobile food units and temporary events.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in six Americans becomes ill by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. In 2014, more than 13,000 people in the U.S. contracted a foodborne illness leading to 212 deaths. Sixteen foodborne outbreaks affected more than 32 residents that same year in unincorporated Harris County. In 2015, HCPH confirmed 162 positive foodborne illness cases, including one related fatality.
EPH works hard to lower those statistics. An annual event was created to educate food establishment owners and managers on safe food handling practices, foodborne illness prevention strategies and how to avoid common violations. The highly praised Food Safety Summit is now in its third year and is free of charge.