Foodborne Illnesses: When Going Out for a Bite Bites You Back. : ThyBlackMan

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Foodborne Illnesses: When Going Out for a Bite Bites You Back.

September 28, 2015 by  
Filed under Health, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Nothing is worse than getting sick after a nice meal out, so here are some tips to help prevent food poisoning and things to do when something slips past your radar.

Check Out The Parking Lot and Trash

When you pull in, check out the parking lot and the trash area. What does it look like? Places that don’t put a high value on keeping the restaurant clean usually don’t place a similar value on keeping the kitchen clean.

If the trash is overflowing, if there is pooled water near the back door (where the kitchen usually is), if there’s a dirty parking lot, odds are that something is amiss in the kitchen.

Check The Bathroom Immediately

When you walk into the restaurant, and are seated, excuse yourself to the bathroom. Check out how clean (or dirty) it is. One of the ways to tell whether cleanliness is a value at the establishment is to see how well the bathrooms are kept up. Dirty bathrooms are one sign that the staff is not cleaning as they should or they are overwhelmed and don’t have time to clean.

Either way, that’s bad news. It could mean that the same type of attitude has bled over into the kitchen area where your food is being cooked. When the restaurant is busy, the risk is higher that standards will slip.

Hold The Salsa

The Centers For Disease Control tell us that salsa and guacamole is becoming more and more of a problem and the cause of foodborne illness.

In large establishments, large batches of salsa are made to serve lots of guests, but they’re not always refrigerated properly. Reason? If the restaurant is busy, the chef (or owner) may not want staff constantly opening and closing the refrigerator – it warms up the food, which causes another problem, and it’s expensive.

At the same time, salsa and guac need to be kept cool. And, when they’re not, you will lose your cool, and your lunch (or dinner).

Don’t Eat Fish On Monday

Fish on a Monday can be a very bad idea, unless the place is specifically a seafood joint that brings in fresh catch every single day. Why? Because fish sold on Monday may be a holdover from Friday or Saturday night’s special.

According to Kraft & Associates, personal injury lawyers, some types of food poisoning could be considered negligence, depending on the details of the incident. And, one of the prime suspects might be serving fish (or other seafood) that’s well past its prime, on purpose (to make up for lost sales on Friday or Saturday).

If you do get sick, about the only thing you can do is stay hydrated and wait out the infection. It should clear up in a few days. If it doesn’t, go to the doctor.

Check Out The Cooks and Wait Staff, If Possible

What do the cooks and wait staff look like? Do they have clean aprons, and uniforms? Cook staff should not be wiping their hands on their uniform because it may contain bacteria which can then be spread to food.

Dirty aprons are a bad sign too. They should be wearing hair restraints and have clean and manicured hands.

And, you should not eat at a restaurant where the staff habitually handle money, or touch the counter or pick things up off the floor, without changing their gloves. This practice is more common than you might think, and it’s one reason why people get sick.

Avoid Salad Bars And Buffets

Salad bars are off-limits for one simple reason: you have no idea who put their hands in there. The Food Poison Journal put it bluntly: you should only eat at a salad bar if you’re ready to get sick. Most people believe salad bars are fine, even a thrifty way to enjoy a night out. But, the Journal cautions that this is one of the major ways people get sick eating out.

Food in the bar is rarely kept at the right temperature, and lots of people are handling those salad items. Bacteria can multiply like crazy in there.

Scrutinize Specials

Specials aren’t very special in some restaurants. In high-class places, specials are the result of a chef getting a good deal on a piece of meat or some produce. In lower class places, the special is used to dress up meat or produce that’s been sitting around and may be at or near its expiration date.

Smell Your Food Before You Eat It

When your plate is set down in front of you, smell it. It seems stupid, but this one simple thing could save you 3 nights of vomiting. If there’s any kind of funny odor or taste, send it back. Cut into your food, especially if it’s chicken, pork, or fish. Check to see if it’s done. You wouldn’t believe what gets sent out in some restaurants.

If you ordered something with a lot of sauce on it, undercooked food can be hidden by seasoning. You won’t know until it’s too late.

So, spend a little time checking the “doneness” at different places in the meat. If everything looks OK, dig in.

Staff Writer; Robert Jackson


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