Afraid of eating out these days?
December 2, 2008 3:32pm CST
New place to eat? What to look for before you order. Use these hints and keep your family safe. Nothing is 100% clean but if you follow the ideas below you can rest easier. I've had food poison before and I'll do anything not to have it again. Hope this will help you not get it. Article found on the internet Dirty Dining: Don't Become A Victim How can you make sure the food you order doesn’t come with a side of gross-out? Follow these eight tips. 1. Look around. Is the floor clean? Are the tables clean? What about the silverware and plates? Often, if these visible parts of the restaurant aren't kept up to par, the kitchen isn't either. 2. Check out the restrooms. Same thing here. If the restrooms are dirty and not well stocked with toilet paper, paper towels, and soap, health inspectors say the food preparation areas are typically in similar sloppy conditions. 3. Use caution at buffets. When eating at a buffet, the hot foods should be hot enough to steam, according to the Food Safety and Sanitation Program. This means that they're cooked to at least 140 degrees. It's not as easy to tell if cold foods are cold enough, but foods left at room temperature for two hours or longer can grow bacteria. 4. Review the score. Although it's not available everywhere, many cities are beginning to publicly post restaurants' latest health inspections reports. For example, in Los Angeles, all restaurants receive a letter grade of A through F, according to a report by the Center in the Public Interest. The grades are posted clearly for customers to review. Not all cities have this requirement, but many do provide access to health inspections reports online. Check with your city's health department or city hall if you have doubts about a particular location. 5. Watch out at the salad bar. University of California studies found that more than half of salad bar customers did one or more of the following: dipped their fingers into the salad dressing and licked them, ate from their plate while standing in line, ducked their head under the sneeze guard, spilled food, and refilled a dirty plate. 6. Don't eat uncooked or undercooked foods. If you order steak or other items that can be cooked to order, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises against ordering foods rare or undercooked. These types of foods put you at greater risk of food poisoning. 7. Refrigerate leftovers immediately. Don't leave leftovers or take-out meals sitting in your car for more than two hours, according to the FDA. It only takes two hours for bacteria to start to grow. If you're not going straight home, it's probably wise to leave the extras at the restaurant, the agency advises. 8. Make a report. In the event that you do have a bad experience at a restaurant, whether a sit-down establishment or a fast-food joint, don't be afraid to make a complaint. Not sure who to call? This government food safety site lists applicable agencies by state.
• United States
2 Dec 08
Well, I don't think anyone can really afford to go to restaurants that you actually sit down at and receive a bill, with waitresses and everything. In fact, I think the most exciting place I've eaten at in the past two months was the Chinese food place in the mall. I've mostly only eaten in places that are really well known around here, like Uno's or Friday's. You never know, though. I think most restaurant owners understand there is a huge difference from cooking at home and cooking for other people. Strange, I find nothing wrong with letting my dog hang around in the kitchen while we cook, especially if something falls we don't have to clean it up, but the thought of people doing that in a restaurant kitchen is disgusting!
• United States
2 Dec 08
Hang in there, special times are coming up and you just might get to go to a sit down resturant. So now you know what to look for. Can 't you just see yourself in that uptown place looking at the restroom or for some other hint that things aren't as clean as they might be. What would you do?
• United States
3 Dec 08
Thanks for the tips savy. I didn't know it takes 2 hours for bacteria to grow on food. Hmm. It's gets me to thinking if we ever leave out food out for 2 hours or longer. I do love eating out but it's really important to check these things out to avoid a horrible episode. I will definitely keep these tips in mind at all times.
2 Dec 08
yes there are some good points there, another thing I got upset about when I was watching a restaurant reality contest on TV was a waitress at a particular restauranr had extremely long fingernails which i think should be a big no no in a place of food, long fingernails are bacteria havens, and there was this waitress carrying plates of food with these long fingernails over hanging the plates...I think there should be strict rulesin these places....