Correct me if I’m wrong, but the world with eat out-only options on the pandemic menu hasn’t been the same. And there’s nothing quite like surviving the lockdown and treating yourself with a nice dinner at a local restaurant. But on some unfortunate occasions, this idyllic scenario turns sour.
And sometimes it’s not even your fault. You see, when you spot the tail of a big, nasty rat that’s been running errands in a restaurant kitchen, you can expect the soup won’t go down smoothly. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg and things are sometimes even more sinister.
So welcome to hell’s kitchens, the places where Gordon Ramsay would get a heart attack, and where your nightmare material is made. Be sure to scroll on an empty stomach, and check twice before choosing your next eatery.
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Health and safety should be an integral part of a restaurant's operation for multiple reasons. First, it’s the moral and ethical responsibility to protect employees and customers from injury and illness. Second is the regulatory requirements that entail both local food safety regulations and USDA, OSHA, and EPA requirements.
That means that if you’re seeing a rat in the restaurant’s kitchen, it’s way beyond what should be acceptable and you may as well leave the place immediately.
Aside from customers’ and employees' safety, food safety should be the top priority. One of the biggest concerns in any eatery is cross-contamination, which occurs when harmful germs get spread between food, onto surfaces, and equipment.
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Centers For Disease Control and Prevention suggests a couple of helpful tips every customer should do before going to eat out. First, check inspection scores and look for certificates that show kitchen managers have completed food safety training. Second, look for safe food-handling practices.
A big part of staying safe is having your eyes open on things around you when you enter the restaurant. If something feels shady, or if you see a potentially hazardous situation, it may be best to skip the place altogether.
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The CDC also suggests ordering food that’s properly cooked in order to avoid food poisoning. “Certain foods, including meat, poultry, and fish, need to be cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful germs that may be present. If a restaurant serves you undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs, send them back to be cooked until they are safe to eat.”
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Another great tip is avoiding lukewarm food, because essentially, cold food has to be served cold and hot food has to be served hot. “Germs that cause food poisoning grow quickly when food is in the danger zone, between 40°F and 140°F,” the CDC states.
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Also, don’t underestimate the knowledge and power of the server. If you feel unsure about an ingredient or the whole meal, let them know and look for a solution.
The CDC recommends asking a server if they use pasteurized eggs if you opt to eat one of the following: Caesar salad dressing, custards, tiramisu, or hollandaise sauce. Remember that raw and undercooked eggs can make us seriously ill unless they have been pasteurized to kill the germs.
After all, health and safety kitchen rules are common sense, but it's up to the restaurant managers and owners to make sure everyone sticks to them.
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During the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants around the world have been in between being closed and opened. For those who’re worrying that COVID-19 may be transmitted from food, the CDC states that “currently, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is spread by handling or eating food.”
However, it makes sense to follow stringent health and safety practices and limit any chance to your business and employees be exposed to coronavirus as much as possible.