Although restaurants have to adhere strictly to rules and regulations that govern food safety, it doesn’t hurt to take a few steps of your own to reduce the risk of falling prey to food poisoning.
It is unfortunate but true that food that contains viruses or bacteria does not smell or taste different from hygienic food. Food can be inherently contaminated or get contaminated while being stored, prepared, or served. This is especially true with meat and dairy produce, sea food, vegetable and fruit salads, pasta, and rice.
Selecting a restaurant to eat at or to order take-away should be based on the hygiene practices followed by the restaurant. Always check if the staff wear gloves and use separate utensils for cooked food and raw food. If the restaurant looks clean and the toilets are well-maintained and clean, with staff using only clean cloth to wipe counter tops and tables, it should be a fairly safe place to eat. Normally a restaurant that does not keep toilets clean will not pay much attention to keeping the kitchen and storage areas clean.
If you’ve ordered hot food, insist on the food being served steaming hot and if it is cold food that you’ve ordered, it should feel really cold when it is served. Any kind of food that is prepared ahead like meat / fish / egg rolls or sandwiches should be maintained in cool temperatures and should be eaten within four hours. Stored non-vegetarian food should not contain any pink meat and should be cooked well. Think twice before you take leftovers home in a doggy bag as the food could have been cross contaminated. Although it falls in the high risk category, restaurants are allowed to pack doggy bags for their customers. russian grocery store
While ordering take-away, make sure the food is packed in appropriate food containers and at the right temperature to avoid spoilage. Remember to eat the food immediately or at least stash it away in the refrigerator and eat it within 2 days and throw out all old food.
Buffet dinners can be quite unhygienic if the restaurant does not take proper precautions to guard the food from contamination. Check if the food is kept covered at all times with a separate spoon for each dish. Right temperature should be maintained correctly for both hot and cold food and they should be displayed in refrigerated cabinets or on burners respectively.
When eating out, if you have the slightest doubt about the preparation or the way the food is served, don’t touch it. If you feel the situation is really bad, then you should report the restaurant to the health department or call the food safety hotline.
Keep in mind that cleanliness and hygiene are more important than the taste of the food at any restaurant. Don’t get carried away by the price, ambience, or the customer service! Eating out can be a pleasurable experience if you are careful about where you eat and what you eat.