Ecolab Inc. and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) announced today that they are working together to create an industry response program that addresses the H1N1 influenza virus that has impacted the U.S., and countries across the globe, as well as pandemic preparedness. The program will be officially unveiled at the annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show, May 16-19 in Chicago.

“Ecolab has always been a strong supporter of the National Restaurant Association, and it is critical that we support the restaurant industry in its search for tools and advice on preventing the spread of the H1N1 influenza virus,” says Douglas M. Baker Jr., chairman of the board, president, and CEO of Ecolab. “Our public health experts are key contributors to the tools and programs Ecolab has launched to our customers in response to this public health outbreak, and now we want to share that information with National Restaurant Association members.”

“The National Restaurant Association takes the responsibility of providing guidance and resource to the restaurant and foodservice industry very seriously so that operators can be prepared if a public health threat arises,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “We are pleased that Ecolab has offered to share its expertise, which will benefit NRA Show attendees and the community of businesses they represent.”

The H1N1 response program kicks off with a pre-National Restaurant Association Show Webinar on May 7. Beth Johnson, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association, and Dr. Bruce Cords, vice president of environment, Food Safety & Public Health at Ecolab, will lead the event, aimed at helping restaurant owners and operators minimize their risks when dealing with influenza. A 90-minute educational seminar will follow at the NRA Show on Saturday, May 16, and include tools and tips for preventing the spread of the Influenza A virus.

In conjunction with Ecolab’s efforts, the National Restaurant Association will sponsor a Pandemic Preparedness booth staffed by experts, including those from Ecolab. The booth will offer training videos and materials that encourage proper hand hygiene, hard surface cleaning and other preventative measures restaurants can take for all types of public health situations.