Cruise Ship Food Safety Inspections and Outbreak Prevention

We serve our clients with a full array of services designed to cost effectively meet the requirements under the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP). We offer comprehensive services in the areas, starting with construction planning, plan review, and shipyard inspections and continuing to communicable disease outbreak prevention and control, food and waterborne illness prevention, risk management and general environmental and public health.

Preventing problems and maintaining clean and safe facilities is a continuing challenge. Our diverse services are designed to prevent problems before they occur and to promptly correct any that may arise, as well as successfully prepare for CDC inspections. We guide our clients toward clean, safe, and sanitary facilities.

Construction and & Review Services

With our trained staff, which includes a former U.S. Public Health Service VSP Officer, we can guide you through the construction standards, plan review, and pre-inspection prior to the VSP CDC's shipyard inspection. This service by EHA can have the effect of a quicker and smoother PHS inspection with the net savings of significant time and money.

Inspection Preparation Services

We utilize rigorous inspection techniques, based on the CDC's VSP, to identify problems, educate employees, helping to avoid re-inspections, and solve sanitation problems before they lead to an outbreak scenario. EHA consulted with the CDC to develop the 1990 VSP and has a staff member with VSP program experience.

We incorporate HACCP principles focusing upon temperature control, cross-contamination and employee hygiene, while assessing equipment/utensil condition, water/sewage systems, garbage disposal, pest control and structural components (walls, floors, ceilings, lighting and ventilation). Self-inspection is a key facet to successful compliance and risk-reduction for food and/or waterborne diseases.

We can provide sampling of air, food, water and dairy products for laboratory analysis. Results accurately determine wholesomeness/adulteration, shelf life, compliance with regulations and how well the crew is handling the food and maintaining a sanitary environment.

Disease Outbreak Prevention & Control

Assistance in developing an Outbreak Prevention and Response Plan (OPRP), plans must indicate trigger points that initiate a ship’s response to cases of illness. It must identify overall outbreak management strategies and include detailed infection control procedures for each area of the vessel.

After a potential link with a communicable disease outbreak, a skilled infectious disease epidemiological surveillance and investigation is essential. Our epidemiology and environmental health team includes former regulators, health department and VSP officials. We perform an independent review and trace-back for each individual case and cluster. We pursue the pertinent documentation and information.

Alternative causes and contributing factors are explored. In coordination with the CDC, Health Canada, or any other agencies involved, we also monitor their investigations and findings. Too often, even well-intended investigations by public authorities lead to misleading or inaccurate determinations with disastrous results for the cruise ship's public image.

Crew Training & Certification

Our certified instructors can provide your organization with the nationally recognized ServSafe manager’s certification course in English and Spanish. Our instructors use slides, videotapes and demonstrations to augment lectures and classroom discussions. Hands-on task-oriented sanitation training can also be provided for your galley officers and crew. In addition, training is available for:

  • General Environmental Health Maintenance (proper maintenance in child activity centers and ventilation systems);
  • Potable Water (protection and handling of);
  • Swimming Pool and Whirlpool Spas (maintenance of);
  • Integrated Pest Management;
  • Housekeeping and Infection Control;
  • Waterborne Illnesses (both potable and recreational); and
  • Cross-Connection Controls.

Crisis/Litigation Support

EHA has the experience and expertise to interact with the CDC, Health Canada, local and state health departments or other potentially-involved government agencies. In addition, we provide the required expertise for legal, insurance, and related proceedings. Members of our staff have been fully qualified in a variety of forums to testify as legal experts.