Whether you’re travelling into town to a new restaurant, or travelling across the world to a new country with exciting cuisine – there’s nothing worse than food poisoning.
Frightening as it may be, and worrying – especially when you have young children in tow, a fear of food poisoning shouldn’t mean that you can’t go out and try new foods and new outlets. Luckily, there are a few easy and simple tips you can bear in mind when you’re venturing out to eat.
Do your research! It may sound obvious, but eating from a company that has an outstanding reputation for cleanliness, high quality food and preparation techniques could save you many wasted hours in the bathroom…we live in a digital world now, and most restaurants/cafes/food suppliers have their hygiene ratings and star ratings online.
If you’re hosting a party and serving guests hot food then it’s important to do your own research, finding reputable companies online is easy and you can find one of them here.
Know your high-risk foods
Food-poisoning bacteria can grow and multiply on some types of food more easily than others. These high-risk foods include:
- raw and cooked meat, including poultry such as chicken and turkey
- dairy products, such as custard and dairy-based desserts like custard tarts and cheesecake
- eggs and egg products
- small goods such as hams and salamis
- cooked rice and pasta
- prepared salads like coleslaws, pasta salads and rice salads
- prepared fruit salads
- ready-to-eat foods, including sandwiches, rolls, and pizzas that contain any of the food above
When eating out, pay special attention to how these high-risk foods are prepared, cooked, stored and served.
Choosing where to eat out
When you decide to eat in a restaurant or buy takeaway food, think about whether:
- staff members are using separate utensils and equipment for handling raw and cooked foods, for example, when preparing sandwiches
- staff members are using clean cloth to wipe surfaces
- raw and cooked foods are well separated
- the toilets are clean
- the shop or restaurant is generally clean.
- Dirty conditions in the public areas of a shop or restaurant can be a clue that things may be worse in the kitchen or behind the scenes where customers don’t go.
Remember: Do the staff take pride in their appearance? If they don’t look after themselves or the premises, chances are they don’t look after the food very well either!
What to look for at buffets or self-service restaurants
- food to be eaten hot is stored in hot food display cabinets or over burners at 60 °C and above
- cold food is displayed on ice or in refrigerated cabinets at 5 °C or less
- each food dish has its own serving utensils
- fresh food is replenished regularly
- foods are covered by some type of guard or cover
- plates and cutlery are clean and dry.
And finally – don’t be afraid to try new things, new foods and new restaurants!