Eating Out: Choose Your Own Adventure with Food Safety in Mind

Food in a restaurant

If you live in Boston and were planning on eating out today, you may want to choose your restaurant carefully. According to the Boston Globe, nearly half of Boston’s food establishments were cited for multiple food violations in 2014. Over 500 locations had five or more serious violations. Examples of these violations include not storing food at proper temperatures, employees failing to wash hands, and having evidence of rodents in the kitchen.

Obviously, Boston’s not the only city with this problem. Every meal runs the risk of being contaminated, no matter the location. The Salt Lake County Health Department shut down three restaurants last week. One location was cited for storing watermelon in a tray of duck blood. Another establishment was charged because customer’s partially eaten rice was “added back into rice steamer for re-use.”

At stadiums in Kansas City, a food safety manager reported poor food handling and dirty conditions have routinely threatened fans’ health.  The manager found cockroaches in vending areas, mouse feces on the same tray as pizza dough, handwashing sinks blocked by trash, and employees eating around food on its way to costumers. The health department also found mold growth in ice machines, dirty pans and trays, and an abundant quantity of fruit flies.

No one goes to a baseball game hoping to be food poisoned, just as no one anticipates getting sick from a restaurant in which he or she dines.

Without proper food safety training, anyone is in jeopardy of spreading or catching foodborne illness. Habits such as proper handwashing, temperature control awareness, and safe storing practices all decrease disease prevalence. Training employees to recognize and minimize dangers will help enforce these habits.

Jennifer Riding

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