Watch Food Safety In Eateries

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watch food safety in eateries

Healthy Lifestyle Rules In Old Age

Preventing illness and death from food poisoning remains a major public health challenge.  How you watch food safety in eateries is a serious responsibility, since food illness is often traced to food consumed outside the home. And you don’t think about food safety until a food-related illness affects you or a family member.  

Each time you buy from a commercial food vendor, you are putting your abdominal health in the hands of total strangers. It’s important to focus on how to dine out safely now particularly if you depend on outside catering for most or all meals.

Unlike spoilage bacteria that make food foul-smelling, off colour or slimy, disease-causing bacteria (pathogenic) don’t affect the appearance, smell, or taste of food. Pathogenic bacteria can be transferred to food from different places. Such as soil from the farm, an animal’s intestinal tract in the slaughterhouse, contaminated trucks or cutting boards, and unwashed hands.

In view of the fact that all foods are potentially contaminated, it’s absolutely important that you store, cook and serve according to food safety guidelines.

***In spite of the unknown, there are steps you can take to minimise your risk of getting a food-borne illness when dining out.  All you need are your powers of observation and some basic food safety knowledge.  You should consider the following ten points when dining out:

Status Of Your Health

Your current status is important when dining out.  For instance, if you, or a member of your party, are at high risk for foodborne illness, you may wish to avoid ordering risky foods. Such foods as undercooked beef, chicken or turkey, unpasteurised fruit juices, raw salad vegetables, raw or undercooked eggs, and raw shellfish.  

In some cases, risky food can be hidden in the midst of other ingredients.  For example, if you order a vegetable salad drowned in freshly made mayonnaise, ask your server whether raw or pasteurised eggs are used. Particularly, if you are allergic to raw eggs.

Wash Your Hands

You can greatly minimise your risk for foodborne illness and many other contagious diseases by washing your hands frequently with soap and water. Hand washing should be the norm particularly before eating and after visiting the toilet or touching an animal.  So, after washing your hands, dry them thoroughly with a paper towel or hot air dryer. And on your way out of a public restroom, avoid touching the bathroom door with your hand. Instead, push it open with your foot or hip. Or use a paper towel to turn the knob or pull the handle. 

watch food safety in eateries

Clean Toilets, A Must

Superb squeaky clean toilets are one way to watch food safety in eateries. In many restaurants, employees and customers use the same toilets.  As such, there should be plenty of soap, paper towels, and toilet paper.  The water should also be running, the toilets should flush and the floors clean of debris.  A clean, pleasant toilet suggests that employees will probably pay attention to details elsewhere in the restaurant, such as in the kitchen.  

If there are no paper towels or soap in the toilet or the hot-air dryer is broken. Or if the rubbish bins are overflowing (or not even there). Could also be that the sink drain is blocked or the toilet is not flushing. It is your responsibility to report the problem to the manager in a calm but firm manner.  Most times they will listen. But if your complaint is ignored, a potentially loyal customer is lost.

watch food safety in eateries

A Clean Dining Area

Clean floors and sparkling surfaces suggest that management is concerned with cleanliness, and orderliness. Also, has a sense of professionalism and pride.  These visible virtues suggest that the food is being handled with care behind closed doors.

Tidy Servers

Servers’ uniforms and aprons should be reasonably clean, their hair should be swept back or a cap won, and servers should be washing their hands frequently.  Open cuts or sores on hands can harbour bacteria that potentially can be transferred to food, plates and eating utensils.  So have your hand covered by wearing disposable gloves.

Tidy Tables

The most sanitary way to clean tables and countertops is with a disinfecting spray and soft paper towels.  Unless tablecloths and sponges are freshly laundered or dipped in a fresh disinfectant, they can harbour pathogens. These pathogens can then be transferred to hands, tables, dishes and eating utensils.

watch food safety in eateries

Visible Food Preparation Areas

Watch food safety in eateries by paying attention to whether food handlers are washing their hands frequently. Especially after touching their hair, clothing, and face or blowing their nose.  A fresh pair of disposable plastic gloves should be used for each order. The same spoon should not be used to scoop rice and meat sauce. While the same spatula should not be used to transfer a raw hamburger patty to the grill and a cooked burger to a plate.

Stain-free Utensils And Dishes

Forks, spoons and knives should be clean and free of water stains.  If you see evidence of lipstick on a glass, or even old food on your plate setting, insist on replacements.

watch food safety in eateries

Temperature Control

Salads and cold entries should be crisp and cold to the touch.  Wilted or brown-edged lettuce leaves don’t bode well for the freshness and safety of salad bar items.  Hot foods should be steaming when delivered to your table, or when you go to pick them up.  If the food that is supposed to be cold or hot is served at room temperature, send it back to the kitchen or order something else.

watch food safety in eateries

Really Hot Buffets

Steam ought to be rising from hot foods on buffet tables, which should maintain food temperature at 140 degrees F or higher.  Try to select your portion from the bottom of the steam table where the temperature is highest.

All these may sound a bit of an ‘obsession’.  Initially maybe, but as you get used to the safety consciousness routine, it comes naturally as eating your lunch.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons.

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