Away From Home
When you go to a restaurant, there are several things you can look for as signs of safe food handling.
- Hot foods should be hot! If the food on the buffet isn't hot enough to steam, you may want to pass it up.
- Cold foods should be cold! Foods left at room temperatures can often grow harmful bacteria in as little as two hours. If foods aren't the right temperature, don't eat them.
- Take a look at your servers. Are they clean looking? Most important, do their hands and fingernails look clean? Do they keep their hands away from their face and hair? Foodborne-illness can be passed person to person or from the bathroom by unwashed hands. Burns and cuts that may be infected are also a good source of harmful bacteria.
- Plates, glasses and utensils should be clean and spot free. If they have dried-on food, fingerprints or lipstick on glasses, then the dishwasher is likely on the blink. Ask for clean replacements or move on down the road.
- Fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables should look and smell fresh. Wilted salads may be an indication that the product is old or has not been properly handled.
- See any bugs? What is the general condition of the restaurant environment? How the manager keeps the place up may be an indication of the amount of pride they take in preparing your food.
- If you have a problem, tell the management. Usually they want to know. If they don't care, don't go back.