Top 5 Signs A Restaurant May Give You Food Poisoning
Food Poisoning is possible at any restaurant-but you can take steps to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you.
Food poisoning statistics are difficult to come by as not all incidents are recorded or complaints made. However, by way of comparison recently published statistics show food poisoning in the United States strikes the astonishing figure of some 48 million people per year.
Restaurants carry the highest risk for food poisoning
The 2014 report also shows that half of the food poisoning outbreaks happened in a restaurant– as opposed to only 21 per cent happening at home. So it’s important to be aware and look for the tell-tale signs of risk.
How to Assess the Food Standards of a Restaurant
A restaurant can be fancy or sophisticated on the surface but still have appalling food safety standards. The key is in the food safety standards that are drilled into staff in training and enforced by supervisors on the day to day job.
The problem is that most food preparation takes place behind closed doors. But there are some basic clues to look out for when in a restaurant. Hygiene and cleanliness go together, and to acheive this a strict regime has to be followed, with careful attention to detail. So any signs of slovenliness are a danger sign. Here’s a list of the top 5 signs that all is not well, if you spot any of these it’s probably time to make your excuses and get your coat:
1 Sticky Tables and seats
Are the table tops clean, and if there are table cloths are they recently changed and clean as well? Do table tops and surfaces seem sticky? Of course even the best restaurant may fall behind a bit at exceptionally busy times, but that’s not the same as the sticky film that builds up over time.
2 Ketchup on the menu
Are the menus and cutlery clean? If the staff aren’t bothering to keep these clean and the mananger hasn’t spotted it, what is going on behind closed doors in the kitchen?
3 Dirty bathrooms
Go to the bathroom straight away, before you order. If you feel like you can’t touch anything and want to get a tissue between you and the door handle it’s time to go! If the staff are prepared to use toilets like that then you really don’t want any food they’ve been involved in handling and cooking!
4 Unprofessional staff
It all comes down to the staff. They have to be conscientious and have to be well managed. If the staff are rude, loud, or arguing, if their uniforms are dirty and poorly kept – how much do they care about their work, the food, their craft?
5 Where’s the food hygiene certificate?
The latest Health Inspection report should be posted somewhere on the premises, if done recently. It’s supposed to be easily visible, if it’s not you might wonder why. If it’s not visible then you can ask for the latest food inspection report, which should be made available on demand. If a report is not immediately available on display a request you might again wonder why that is and consider trying a different restaurant, one that has a good report and is proud to display it.
There is no fool proof way to avoid food poisoning at a restaurant. However taking heed of the steps above should help to keep your risk to a minimum.
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