What We’re Reading: Restaurant Workers Spread Disease; Sacklers Can Be Protected; Sweden Becoming “Smoke Free”


Sick restaurants workers are among the main drivers of foodborne illness outbreaks at restaurants, according to the CDC; Sackler family members of Purdue Pharma can be protected from opioid liability, an appeals court rules; Sweden nears becoming the first “smoke free” country in Europe as daily cigarette use falls.

Ill Workers Contribute to Foodborne Illness Outbreaks in Restaurants

One of the top drivers of foodborne illness outbreaks at restaurants are the sick workers handling food, reported CNN Health. The CDC study, published Tuesday, analyzed 800 foodborne illness outbreaks occurring between 2017 and 2019 at US restaurants as reported by 25 state and local health departments. The most common bacteria recognized were norovirus in almost half of the outbreaks (47%), followed by salmonella (19%).

Sacklers Can Be Protected From Opioid Liability

Sackler family members, the billionaire owners of Purdue Pharma and the signature drug oxycodone (OxyContin), will get full immunity from all civil legal claims—present and future—over their role in the company’s prescription opioids business, ruled a federal appeals court panel Tuesday. The New York Times reported that the family will gain this protection in exchange for paying up to $6 billion of the its fortune to help address the ongoing repercussions of the opioid crisis.

Sweden Nears Becoming First “Smoke Free” European Country

Sweden has the lowest rate of smoking in the Europe Union (EU) and is near to declaring itself “smoke free,” which is defined as having fewer than 5% daily smokers in the population, reported the Associated Press. In 2019, just 6.4% of Swedes over age 15 were daily smokers, compared with an average of 18.5% across the EU, according to the Eurostat statistics agency. Smoking rates have continued to drop since then, reaching 5.6% last year. Many experts refer to anti-smoking campaigns and legislation, while others point to smokeless tobacco products called “snus.”

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